GLENDORA, Calif. -- The NAIA’s No. 2-ranked Azusa Pacific clinched its sixth consecutive Golden State Athletic Conference men’s tennis championship with its 7-2 victory over No. 6-ranked Vanguard Saturday afternoon at Citrus College, running the Cougars’ conference win streak to 52 matches after today’s win in their conference regular-season finale.
“Six years in a row – that’s a pretty big accomplishment,” said Cougar head coach Mark Bohren. “Overall, we played more like some of the teams we’ve had in the past. We played very good doubles and competed extremely well in the singles.”
David Goodman, the Cougars’ lone senior and thus the only 4-time member of an Azusa Pacific conference title-winning squad, overcame fatigue and cramping to post a thrilling 3-set victory in the top singles slot over Vanguard’s Florian Lemke with a 10-8 win in the third-set tiebreaker to post the 6-4, 2-6, 7-6 win.
“I feel proud that all 4 years we’ve taken GSAC,” said Goodman. “Getting the opportunity to play number one this season has been an amazing experience. Today was probably the most exciting win I’ve had individually. I was cramping up a lot, especially in my hand, so I wanted to make the points a little shorter. I felt that I was hitting some short balls well, and I didn’t want to play too long of points because my body was just breaking down.”
Vanguard’s only 2 points came at No. 2 and 3 singles, where the Lions won on super tiebreakers after the match’s outcome had already been determined by Matthijs Bolsius and Ronald Chow, who each posted straight-set wins in dominant fashion at No. 4 and 5 singles, respectively.
Bolsius was a 6-2, 6-1 victor over Vanguard’s William Strom, and Chow posted a 6-0, 6-1 win over Vasileios Psyrras after the Cougars swept all 3 doubles matches.
After Patrick Kur and Mathias Weber notched an 8-4 win to get things started at No. 1 doubles, the Bolsius/Goodman tandem posted an 8-6 win at No. 2 doubles, and Chow teamed with Robby Dabbs for a 9-7 win in the third spot to complete the doubles sweep.
With the win, Azusa Pacific improves to 21-1 overall, 8-0 in GSAC play, and extends its home winning streak to 22 matches, a streak that spans over a full year to March 2006.
“We’re trying to follow the tradition we’ve had,” said Bohren. “They’re extremely hard workers in the weight room, on the tennis court and on the track, and it shows in the big matches all the time. They get in that same gritty, hard-working mentality that we’ve had in the past, and on a team with 9 freshmen, it’s good to see that.”
Vanguard drops to 15-5 overall, 5-2 in GSAC play. Over a month remains before Azusa Pacific begins postseason play in the NAIA Region II Tournament, and the Cougars will host the NCAA Div. III’s No. 5-ranked Gustavus Adolphus (Minn.) Thursday, April 5, in the first of 5 remaining non-conference matchups.
#1 - David Goodman (APU) def. Florian Lemke (VU), 6-4, 2-6, 7-6 (10-8)
#2 - Dieter Weislmaier (VU) def. Patrick Kur (APU), 6-3, 3-6 (10-5)
#3 - Gregory Chevalier (VU) def. Mathias Weber (APU), 4-6, 6-1 (10-6)
#4 - Matthijs Bolsius (APU) def. William Strom (VU), 6-2, 6-1
#5 - Ronald Chow (APU) def. Vasileios Psyrras (VU), 6-0, 6-1
#6 - Art Fatkhiev (APU) def. Thomas Frank (VU), 6-1, 3-6, 6-4
#1 - Patrick Kur/Mathias Weber (APU) def. Florian Lemke/William Strom (VU), 8-4
#2 - David Goodman/Matthijs Bolsius (APU) def. Dieter Weislmaier/Thomas Frank (VU), 8-6
#3 - Ronald Chow/Robby Dabbs (APU) def. Vasileios Psyrras/Gregory Chevalier (VU), 9-7