Top-seeded Utah State men's tennis (18-8) swept No. 4-seeded UNLV (14-10), 4-0, in the semifinals of the Mountain West Championship on Friday in San Diego, California. With the win, the Aggies advance to the championship match on Saturday, April 28, at 2 p.m. MT.
"We had great energy to start, we played to win [and] we were aggressive at the net; really just set the tone for the match," head coach James Wilson said.
Utah State captured the doubles points early as the all-Mountain West duo of senior Jaime Barajas and freshman Jose Carvajal defeated UNLV seniors Courtney Lock and Alexandr Cozbinov, 6-3, at the No. 1 spot. Freshmen Felipe Acosta and Addy Vashistha clinched the point for the Aggies with a 6-3 win at the No. 3 spot over freshman Jordan Sauer and junior Richard Solberg. Senior Andrew Nakajima and freshman Valdemar Holm were tied at 5-5 at the No. 2 spot with sophomore Eric Samuelsson and freshman Clayton Alenik, but the match ended unfinished due to the other courts' results.
Barajas picked up his seventh-consecutive singles victory, defeating Cozbinov, the 2018 Mountain West Player of the Year and the 96th-ranked player in the nation, 6-2, 6-0, at No. 1 singles. Vashistha followed suit with a 6-1, 6-4 victory at the No. 6 spot over Sauer. Holm clinched the sweep with a 7-6 (8-6), 6-1 win at the No. 3 spot over senior Ruben Alberts.
USU will face either second-seeded Fresno State or No. 6-seeded San Diego State in the championships on Saturday. Utah State was victorious in both of the season's previous meetings with the programs. Against Fresno State, USU posted a 4-2 win after winning the doubles point and victories in singles from Barajas, Bucur and Acosta. The Bulldogs had three players with all-MW honors in singles in senior Xander Veys, junior Mantas Burgailiskis and sophomore Zdenek Derkas.
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.