The Cougars fought it out in a tight match Friday but fell short to the 49ers of Long Beach State, 4-3, for their first loss of the regular season.
"It's always tough to lose a match 4-3. It's even tougher when it comes down to a tiebreaker in the third," BYU head coach Lauren Jones-Spencer said. "I'm really happy with how hard they fought today. Even though we didn't come out on top, we will benefit from the experience and use it to motivate us moving forward."
Sophomores Samantha Smith and teammate Polina Malykh remain undefeated in regular season doubles play. Playing the No. 3 slot, the duo earned BYU (2-1) its first victory of the afternoon, competing against Maren Helgo and Georgia Gulin of Long Beach State (2-1), winning 6-2. In No. 2 doubles, freshman Anastasia Abramyan and junior Taylah Beckman played a close match against Lalita Devarakonda and Sadaf Sadeghvaziri of Long Beach State but lost 7-5. Senior Mayci Jones and sophomore Kate Cusick were defeated in No. 1 doubles by the 49ers’ Lena Pacholski and Natalia Munoz, 6-3.
Freshman Madeline Almeida, Cusick and Malykh continued their strong play to remain undefeated through regular season singles play. Cusick and Malykh helped the Cougars start off singles hot in No. 4 and 6 singles, respectively, finishing their matches first and earning two quick points. Cusick defeated Helgo, 6-4, 6-2, and Malykh beat Gulin by the same score to get BYU on the board for a 2-1 lead. Jones had a tough match in No. 1 singles playing Pacholski but was defeated, 6-4, 7-5, to tie up the score at 2-2. In No. 3 singles, Almeida took on Devarakonda and won 6-3, 4-6, 6-1 to help the Cougars regain the lead over the 49ers, 3-2.
Competing in No. 5 singles, Smith hung tight in one of the closest matches of the afternoon before falling to Sadeghvaziri, 7-6 (8), 5-7, 6-3. With the score tied up at three apiece, the match point came down to No. 2 singles. In another thrilling match, Abramyan competed against the 49ers’ Munoz. The two traded sets back and forth, but Munoz came out on top in the tiebreaker, 6-4, 2-6, 7-6 (6).
BYU finishes up its three-match road trip Saturday, Feb. 10, against San Diego State at 12 p.m. PST. No live stream or stats will be available for this match.