Utah State men's tennis (16-8, 7-0 MW) secured the outright Mountain West regular season title for the third year in a row on Sunday when the Aggies defeated Air Force (11-13, 1-5 MW), 4-2, in USAFA, Colorado, in its regular season finale. USU finished undefeated in conference play, 7-0, for the first time in program history.
"This was a great effort from our guys," head coach James Wilson said. "They battled tough conditions and a feisty Air Force squad. I couldn't be more proud of this group for sticking together and playing for each other."
In doubles, senior Jaime Barajas and freshman Jose Carvajal lost, 3-6, at the No. 1 spot to junior Isaac Perez and freshman Patrick Sklenka. Air Force clinched the doubles point after freshmen Paul Hendrix and Jaime Bautista won, 6-4, at the No. 3 spot against freshmen Felipe Acosta and Addy Vashistha. Senior Andrew Nakajima and freshman Valdemar Holm led, 4-2, at the No. 2 spot against juniors Tadhg Collins and Luke Sanderson, but the match ended unfinished due to the other courts' results.
The Aggies came out strong in singles with five of the courts winning their first sets. Barajas dropped just one game in his first set, 6-1, and won the second, 6-4, at the No. 1 spot against Sklenka. With that victory, Barajas went undefeated, 6-0, at the No. 1 spot during Mountain West play. Vashistha finished shortly after with a 6-3, 7-6 win at the No. 6 spot against Collins. Acosta also posted a straight-set victory, 6-2, 7-6, at the No. 5 spot against freshman Sean McKendree. Holm then lost, 6-7, 3-6, at the No. 4 spot to Hendrix. Sophomore Sergiu Bucur clinched the win for the Aggies with a 6-4, 6-4 win at the No. 2 spot against Sanderson.
Utah State next travels to San Diego, California, to participate in the Mountain West Championships from April 26-28. Match times and opponents will be announced at the conclusion of Mountain West regular season play.
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.