Utah State men's tennis (15-8, 6-0 MW) secured at least a share of the Mountain West regular season championship with its 4-1 victory over New Mexico (12-10, 2-3 MW) on Friday night in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The Aggies have now earned the regular season title in three-consecutive seasons.
"The guys were so tough today," USU head coach James Wilson said. "After losing the doubles point on the road in a very loud environment, they kept competing and battling until the end. I am very proud of their effort, and it is fun to see them playing for each other."
In doubles, New Mexico seniors Bart Van Leijsen and Jorge Escutia won 7-6 at the No. 1 spot over senior Jaime Barajas and freshman Jose Carvajal. Junior Ricky Hernandez Tong and freshman Stepan Holis won 7-5 at the No. 3 spot over freshmen Felipe Acosta and Addy Vashistha to clinch the doubles point. USU senior Andrew Nakajima and freshman Valdemar Holm trailed 6-5 at the No. 2 spot against sophomore Dominic West and senior Sean Baklini, but the match ended unfinished due to the other courts' results.
The Aggies came out strong in singles play with all six players posting first-set victories. Vashistha posted a straight-sets win, 6-4, 6-2, at the No. 6 spot against Baklini to put USU on the board. Barajas followed suit with a 6-2, 7-6 win at the No. 1 spot against Van Leijsen. Holm extended Utah State’s lead to 3-1 after a 7-6, 6-2 win at the No. 4 spot against Escutia. Junior Samuel Serrano won his first set, 6-3, at the No. 3 spot against West, who led in the second set, 4-1, but Serrano came back to win it in a tiebreaker, 7-6, and clinch the Utah State victory. The remaining singles matches ended unfinished.
Utah State wraps up the regular season by taking on Air Force (11-12, 1-4 MW) on Sunday, April 15, at noon, in USAFA, Colorado. If the Aggies win on Sunday, they will be the sole Mountain West regular season champions.
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.