The BYU women's tennis team came up short to Utah, 4-3, in the Deseret First Duel on Wednesday afternoon at the Eccles Tennis Center.
"We did a great job in doubles today," BYU head coach Lauren Jones-Spencer said. "We came out aggressive and played smart to win the doubles point. Going into singles play, I saw that when we played to win, we would win, but on most courts, it looked like we were playing not to lose. We played with a lot of fear today, instead of just swinging and going for it, and that is what it came down to. The girls played and fought hard today, but to take these big matches you have to play to win."
The Cougars (10-6) began the match with a strong doubles performance. Senior Mayci Jones and freshman Anastasia Abramyan faced off against Utah's (10-9) Alexia Petrovic and Jena Chang in No.1 singles and earned BYU's first victory of the day, winning 6-2. In No. 2 doubles, junior Taylah Beckman and sophomore Samantha Smith kept the Cougars rolling with a 6-4 win over the Utes' Brianna Chisholm and Victoria Robertson to give BYU the doubles point. No. 2 doubles did not finish.
Utah answered right back at the start of singles play. Sophomore Polina Malykh, who entered the match 10-0 in singles play, competed in the No. 3 slot for the first time this season. However, Cheng handed Malykh her first loss, winning 6-4, 6-3 to tie the match at 1-1. In No. 2 singles, Abramyan competed against Chisholm and was defeated, 6-3, 6-2, to give Utah a 2-1 lead.
Down a point, Cusick responded for BYU in No. 5 singles against the Utes' Whitney Turley. After Cusick took the first set, Turley found herself down 5-2 in the second, but she fought back to close the gap until Cusick overcame the comeback to win 6-3, 7-5. With the score tied up again at 2-2, freshman Madeline Almeida was defeated by Utah's Taylor Calton, 6-2, 7-5, to swing the momentum back toward the Utes.
With the match on the line, freshman Hermehr Kaur continued to battle against Utah's Victoria Robertson in No. 6 singles. After losing the first set, Kaur pulled off a big comeback to win a close second set and took control in the third to win the match, 4-6, 6-4, 6-2, and tie the match at 3-3.
The decisive match came down to the No.1 singles matchup between Jones and Petrovic. Both players battled and continually traded shots throughout the match, as Petrovic won the first and Jones came right back to take the second and send it to a third set. Ultimately, Petrovic proved to be too much and came out on top, 6-3, 2-6, 6-3, to give Utah the 4-3 victory over BYU in the Deseret First Duel.
The Cougars return home to take on the West Coast Conference opponent Santa Clara on Saturday at 12 p.m. MT, at the Outdoor Tennis Courts. Admission to the match is free and complimentary pizza will be provided to all spectators. Live stats for the match can be found on BYU's online schedule.