With its highest winning percentage in 10 seasons, the BYU women’s tennis team wrapped up a competitive 2017-18 season, finishing fourth in the West Coast Conference.
“It was a successful season for us,” BYU head coach Lauren Jones-Spencer said. “There are always a few matches we could have pulled out, but I’m happy with how we developed and grew from start to finish. We have a very talented team so I am excited to see what the future holds.”
After being selected to finish sixth in the WCC preseason voting, the Cougars surprised the league, overcoming naysayers to finish in fourth place with a 6-3 league record and 13-8 overall record.
“We are going to build off what we did this year and do even better next year,” Jones-Spencer said. “We can always get better and that’s what we are looking to do.”
Competing in No. 2 singles, freshman Anastasia Abramyan led the team in singles victories. After starting off 4-7 in fall play, the freshman found her stride in the regular season to go 12-6 and earn 16 total wins on the year. Abramyan went 4-2 in league action and was named All-WCC Singles Honorable Mention. Following an epic comeback win against Saint Mary’s in the final match of the season, she was awarded WCC Singles Player of the Week.
The No. 1 doubles duo, Abramyan and teammate senior Mayci Jones, finished the season nationally ranked at No. 38 and were named All-WCC Doubles Honorable Mention. The two finished the regular season with a 9-3 record and were awarded WCC Double Team of the Week twice in the season. Notably, in the final match of the regular season, the duo defeated then 27th-ranked Mariia Kozyreva and Hind Abdelouahid of Saint Mary’s, 6-1, and then once again, 6-3, in the first round of the WCC Championships. The duo has just been named to the alternate list to play at the NCAA championships.
Returning from a season-ending knee injury that held her to only four matches her freshman year, sophomore Polina Malykh came back swinging. Malykh began the season playing in the No. 5 and 6 singles position, but after winning 10 matches in a row she earned herself the No. 3 slot. Malykh finished the regular season with a solid 12-5 record.
Jones entered her final season as a Cougar also coming off a season-ending knee injury last year, however, it didn’t appear to slow her down. The senior competed in the No. 1 singles position for the entirety of the season and finished 8-9 in regular-season play, including 3-2 in WCC matches. Jones was named All-WCC Singles Honorable Mention to finish her BYU career.
Sophomores Kate Cusick and Malykh, in the No. 2 doubles position, led the Cougars in league wins, going 6-3 in conference play. In the No. 3 slot, junior Taylah Beckman and sophomore Samantha Smith earned an impressive 11-4 record on the year to lead all doubles teams in the number of matches won.
Freshmen Madeline Almeida and Hermehr Kaur built solid starts to their BYU careers in their first year of collegiate tennis. Almeida won 16 matches and competed in every match of the regular season, including 11 matches in the No. 3 singles position. Kaur played in nine matches and went 5-1 in regular-season play.
Jones-Spencer completed her eighth season as BYU women’s tennis head coach, and she is now third all-time in matches won in program history, with a 77-97 record.
Next season, Beckman will be the lone senior on a young, but experienced team. Cusick, Smith, Malykh and Katie Fitt will return for their junior year, along with Brittanie Eraso, who redshirted this past year after returning home from an LDS mission. Abramyan, Almeida and Kaur look to continue to grow and excel going into their sophomore season.