TCU Men Top BYU in MWC Opener
SALT LAKE CITY—The No. 50 TCU men's tennis team shook off a two-week layoff Thursday with a 5-2 victory over BYU at Utah’s Eccles Tennis Center. The match, the Mountain West Conference season opener for both teams, was the first of three for the Frogs this weekend.
The victory improved TCU’s overall season record to 7-9, while BYU dropped to 12-9.
Thurday’s match marked TCU’s first competition since it concluded a six-game homestand on March 17 with a 7-0 win over Columbia. The squad has five remaining matches in the attempt to defend its 2008 MWC regular season co-championship.
The Horned Frogs started off the morning by taking two of three doubles matches on their way to claiming the doubles point. Senior Kriegler Brink and freshman Slah Mbarek, ranked the nation’s No. 31 overall doubles tandem, earned an 8-4 victory at the No. 1 position over BYU’s Roman Warias and Georgy Batrakov, while junior Adrian Simon and sophomore Emanuel Brighiu clinched the team point in the No. 2 slot with an 8-6 winner over Thomas Shubert and Daniel Hwang.
Brink and Mbarek won their sixth straight doubles match, while the victory by Simon and Brighiu, who are ranked 20th nationally in doubles by the Intercollegeiate Tennis Associasion (ITA), marked the 10th time in TCU’s last 12 matches that the squad has recorded the doubles point.
TCU dropped the remaining doubles contest with sophomores Zach Nichols and Christopher Price falling to Cassidy Mears and Evan Urbina, 8-6, at the No. 3 position.
The Frogs clinched the team victory by controlling singles play to the tune of a 4-2 advantage.
Brink, ranked 76th nationally, got TCU rolling in singles by running his team-best winning streak to six straight matches during an easy 6-1, 6-1 victory over Urbina at No. 3 singles. Mbarek, the nation’s No. 62 singles player, improved to 4-1 since moving to the Frogs’ top singles position with a 6-1, 6-4 decision over Warias. TCU also posted straight-set wins at the bottom two positions—Price over Batrakov (6-4, 6-4) at No. 5 singles and Powers over Hwang (6-4, 7-6) at No. 6 singles.
TCU’s lone losses in singles play came from Brighiu and Nichols, two players who have had to battle back from injuries suffered during the spring. Brighiu dropped a 7-5, 6-3 decision to Shubert at the No. 2 spot, while Nichols, who had missed each of the last two matches, fell to Mears at No. 4 singles, 6-4, 6-0.
“We won today against a good opponent at altitude, so I’m happy with the way we played,” head coach Dave Borelli said. “Zach (Nichols) and (Emanuel) Brighiu seemed a little rusty, but they are just starting to try and come back and should continue to improve. Beating a good team like BYU in their part of the country is a good way for us to start off the conference season.”
TCU continues is weekend-long trip to Salt Lake City Friday, when it plays No. 36 New Mexico at 10 a.m. CDT. The Frogs will then play No. 54 Utah, which is hosting the weekend’s matches, Sunday at 2 p.m. CDT.
No. 50 TCU 5, BYU 2
April 2, 2009
Salt Lake City, Utah (Eccles Tennis Center)
1. #31 Kriegler Brink/Slah Mbarek (TCU) def. Roman Warias/Georgy Batrakov (BYU), 8-4
2. #20 Emanuel Brighiu/Adrian Simon (TCU) def. Thomas Shubert/Daniel Hwang (BYU), 8-6
3. Cassidy Mears/Evan Urbina (BYU) def. Zach Nichols/Christopher Price (TCU), 8-6
1. #62 Slah Mbarek (TCU) def. Roman Warias (BYU), 6-1, 6-4
2. Thomas Shubert (BYU) def. #110 Emanuel Brighiu (TCU), 7-5, 6-3
3. #76 Kriegler Brink (TCU) def. Evan Urbina (BYU), 6-1, 6-1
4. Cassidy Mears (BYU) def. Zach Nichols (TCU), 6-4, 6-0
5. Christopher Price (TCU) def. Georgy Batrakov (BYU), 6-4, 6-4
6. Casey Powers (TCU) def. Daniel Hwang (BYU), 6-4, 7-6(0)