FRESNO, Calif. -- A month to the day of the end of its record 58-match Golden State Athletic Conference winning streak, the NAIA’s No. 5-ranked Azusa Pacific’s 8-year hold on the NAIA Region II championship was stolen away by No. 2-ranked Fresno Pacific, which snapped the Cougars’ 8-year run as regional champion with a 5-3 win Friday afternoon.
Fresno Pacific, which posted a 5-4 win over Azusa Pacific on April 2 to hand the Cougars their first conference defeat in over 7 years, posted the victory in strikingly similar fashion to its upset a month ago, spotting Azusa Pacific another 2-1 lead after doubles play. In fact, each match in the doubles lineup played out to within 2 games of its verdict a month earlier.
Fresno Pacific’s Matt Carroll and Vicente Joli posted an 8-2 win over Matthijs Bolsius and Robby Dabbs at No. 1 doubles, but Azusa Pacific’s No. 3 tandem of Ronald Chow and Daniel Moore answered with an 8-3 win to even the match at 1-1. Mathias Weber and Patrick Kur posted an 8-6 win at No. 2 doubles to give the Cougars a 2-1 lead heading into singles play.
Bolsius avenged last month’s 6-4, 6-4 defeat to Carroll with a straight-sets win of his own, defeating the Sunbirds’ top singles player by a 7-5, 6-3 margin. Silva defeated Weber, 6-0, 6-2, at No. 3 singles, and with all 4 remaining singles matches headed to third sets, the Cougars still held a 3-2 lead.
Azusa Pacific won opening sets at the second, fourth, fifth and sixth singles positions, but each of their Fresno Pacific counterparts answered with the second set to force the decisive third sets in all 4 contests. Chow retired 3 games into the third set at No. 4 with an injury, and Moore and Friedrich were defeated at No. 5 and 6 to seal the Sunbirds victory.
Kur trailed 2-1 in the third set when Fresno Pacific clinched the victory. Azusa Pacific, now 18-7 overall on the season, will await an at-large selection to the NAIA Men’s Tennis National Championship, held May 12-16 in Mobile, Ala., where the Cougars have appeared in an unprecedented 5 consecutive national title matches.
Fresno Pacific 5, Azusa Pacific 3
1. Matthijs Bolsius (APU) def. Matt Carroll (FPU), 7-5, 6-3
2. Patrick Kur (APU) vs. Vicente Joli (FPU), 7-5, 4-6, 1-2 DNF
3. Fabio Silva (FPU) def. Mathias Weber (APU), 6-0, 6-2
4. Marco Foelz (FPU) def. Ronald Chow (APU), 3-6, 6-1, 3-0 (inj.)
5. Maxime Adam (FPU) def. Daniel Moore (APU), 1-6, 6-2, 6-1
6. Victor Medina (FPU) def. Jan Friedrich (APU), 2-6, 6-1, 6-2
1. Carroll/Joli (FPU) def. Bolsius/Robby Dabbs (APU), 8-2
2. Kur/Weber (APU) def. Foelz/Medina (FPU), 8-6
3. Chow/Moore (APU) def. Adam/Silva (FPU), 8-3