Utah State men's tennis (3-1) came from behind to defeat UCF (0-2) on Saturday morning as part of the ITA Kick-Off Weekend. The win marked four-straight victories in the event for the past three seasons. Senior Jaime Barajas capped off the Aggies comeback with a win at the No. 1 singles spot after USU trailed 2-0 early in the match.
"Incredible effort from the guys today," head coach James Wilson said. "To be down like that and fight back really showed a lot of heart. UCF is a strong team that will for sure improve throughout the year. We have a huge opportunity tomorrow to go back to the National Indoors, and I know our guys will be fired up."
UCF earned the doubles point after freshmen Gabriel Decamps and Mikhail Sokolovskiy won 6-2 at the No. 2 spot over senior Andrew Nakajima and freshman Valdemar Holm. Senior Danny Kerznerman and freshman Alan Rubio clinched the point with a 6-2 win at the No. 3 spot against junior Samuel Serrano and sophomore Sergiu Bucur.
UCF recorded the next point with Decamps winning 6-1, 6-1 against Serrano at the No. 2 singles spot. The Aggies then went on to win four-straight points. Freshman Jose Carvajal posted the first Aggie point with a 6-2, 6-4 victory at the No. 4 spot over freshman Eero Vasa. Holm followed suit with a 6-4, 7-5 victory over Sokolovskiy at the No. 5 spot. Freshman Felipe Acosta put the Aggies ahead with a 6-3, 6-2 victory at the No. 6 spot against Kerznerman. The match then came down to the last courts. Bucur lost his first set, 4-6, but was tied up at six in the second at the No. 3 spot against Rubio. The match went unfinished because of the action on the No. 1 singles court. Barajas had lost the first set, 3-6, at the No. 1 spot against senior Korey Lovett. However, Barajas came back to clinch the victory, winning the next two sets in tiebreakers, 7-6 (2), 7-6 (3).
Utah State next takes on UCLA (5-0) on Sunday at 2 p.m. MT, in Los Angeles, California. If the Aggies win, they will advance to the ITA Division I National Team Indoor Championships for the second-consecutive year, set for Feb. 16-19, at the University of Washington.
Ashley Springer is a student at Utah State University studying journalism and communication. Springer is an intern with the USU athletic department's media relations.