For the fourth time in as many years and third straight in Provo, the Utah State men's tennis team (5-3, 1-0 MW) defeated in-state rival BYU (7-1, 0-0 West Coast) with a 4-1 victory on Friday night.
"I'm so proud of our team for dealing with adversity and battling today," head coach James Wilson said. "BYU played very hard, and it was a very tight match. Overall, our team dealt with the bigger moments very well and that was definitely the difference. Hopefully, we can continue to build on this momentum."
In doubles, junior Samuel Serrano and freshman Valdemar Holm lost, 1-6, at the No. 2 spot to BYU senior John Pearce and freshman Ben Gajardo. Utah State senior Jaime Barajas and freshman Jose Carvajal then won, 6-3, at the No. 1 spot against BYU junior Jeffrey Hsu and sophomore Sam Tullis. USU senior Andrew Nakajima and sophomore Sergiu Bucur trailed 2-5 at the No. 3 spot against BYU junior Matthew Pearce and sophomore David Ball, but they rallied back to take the next five games and clinch the doubles point with a 7-5 victory.
Barajas opened up singles play with a 6-1, 6-3 win at the No. 1 spot over Hill, who is currently ranked No. 116 in the nation. Serrano lost, 4-6, 2-6, to John Pearce at the No. 3 spot. Bucur won his match in straight sets, 6-2, 6-2, at the No. 2 spot against Hsu. Holm lost his first set, 1-6, at the No. 4 spot against Tullis. However, the freshman fought back to win the second in a tiebreaker, 7-6 (12-10). Holm clinched the win for Utah State with a 6-4 victory in his final set.
Utah State returns to Logan to host UC Irvine (1-3, 0-0 Big West) and Montana State (0-4, 0-0 Big Sky) in a doubleheader on Sunday, Feb. 18, at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., respectively, at the Sports Academy and Racquet Club.
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.