#12isComing: Utah Women’s Tennis’ Domination of BYU

University+of+Utah+junior+Brianna+Chisholm+served+the+ball+as+the+University+of+Utah+Women%27s+Tennis+team+take+on+University+of+Denver+in+Salt+Lake+City%2C+UT+on+Saturday%2C+February+17%2C+2018.%28Photo+by+Curtis+Lin%2F+Daily+Utah+Chronicle%29

University of Utah junior Brianna Chisholm served the ball as the University of Utah Women’s Tennis team take on University of Denver in Salt Lake City, UT on Saturday, February 17, 2018.(Photo by Curtis Lin/ Daily Utah Chronicle)

 

Imagine this: The adrenaline rush before playing one of college athletics’ biggest rivalry matches is like no other. The music blasts on the speakers while fans pile into the stadium. The nerves hit along with the excitement of proving to the other team who runs the state in your sport. You’re on the field or the court with your teammates and you can feel the energy around you. You’re pumped up. You want the game to start, to be out there with your teammates and to continue the legacy of making the Holy War a special rivalry. 

One of the biggest college athletic rivalries exists in the state of Utah, known as the Holy War. The famous Holy War match ups continue to prove which Utah school dominates athletically. This is seen through the domination of Utah’s football record which is at a current nine-year win streak. Many fans know about Utah’s football streak, but what is not as well known is the win streak of the University of Utah women’s tennis team. 

The U’s women’s tennis team has beaten BYU women’s tennis 11 years in a row. College tennis in general is a different breed of a sport. Individual players have to win their match to gain a point for their team. As for the spectators and fans, you cannot heckle the players or get super rowdy during the match. Tennis is classy like that. 

Playing the Holy War is always going to bring out the best and worse in the players because it is such a big event. Former Ute tennis player and Utah native Brianna Chisholm reflects on the rivalry matches and how the energy on court is elevated. 

“With both schools being so close in proximity, we get a ton of fans. It’s an incredible experience to play in front of all these people because the tradition runs so many years back,” Chisholm said.  

During her four years as a Ute, Chisholm was always on the side lines rooting for her teammates. “I’ve never personally clinched a match against BYU, but being on the sidelines watching a teammate work to clinch a match is just as exhilarating. You feel nervous and excited all at the same time,” Chisholm said. 

Whitney Hekking, recent graduate and former Ute player, reflects on the past few matchups where the match came down to the wire. 

“I have never clinched the match but my junior year I had to win my match in order to tie it to 3-3 to give us a shot to win the match 4-3. The emotions were so high in the building as we were the last two spots playing. In both places you can feel the energy from all the players and the spectators. Everyone is there to play and play hard. The match gets super loud and intense which makes it why everyone plays college tennis,” Hekking said. 

Having a 11-year match win streak can add extra pressure to the match to want to uphold such a long streak. Win streaks make it more fun to watch because you want to see if the Utes can uphold the win streak and overcome the pressure or if BYU can stop the bleeding and break the record. 

“Being undefeated against any team is a great feeling, but it also adds more and more pressure each year. BYU has done a great job in recent years building their program. The most recent years, the matches were extremely close which added to the pressure of wanting to hold the record,” Chisholm said.  

Last season was cut short due to the coronavirus pandemic but the Utes managed to play BYU in its last home match of the season in front of a crowd cheering the team on as they won to make it the 11th straight season the Utes have won. Watch the Utes play next season to see if they can keep the streak going. 

 

[email protected]

@DushEmily