MOBILE, Ala. -- Historically, Azusa Pacific has played its best tennis of the year on the national stage, but the fourth-seeded Cougars’ 5-3 win in its tournament opener Tuesday against unseeded Point Loma Nazarene didn’t look much different than a 5-4 regular-season win during Golden State Athletic Conference play.
Point Loma Nazarene’s top doubles team of Jonathan Bowmand and Craig Johnson edged Matthijs Bolsius and Robby Dabbs, 9-7, giving the Sea Lions a 2-1 edge in the match after the teams split 8-5 decisions at No. 2 and 3 doubles. Patrick Kur and Mathias Weber defeated Landon Hilker and Curt Wheeler at No. 2 for the Cougars, while Travis Albaugh and Joel Myers posted the 3-point win at No. 3 doubles over Azusa Pacific’s Ronald Chow and Daniel Moore.
Point Loma Nazarene collected the first point in singles play, as well, when Hilker posted a 6-1, 6-1 win at No. 6 singles over Dabbs, but the Cougars went on to win 4 straight singles matches to collect the victory. Kur’s 6-2, 6-2 win at No. 2 trimmed the deficit to 3-2, and Bolsius posted a 6-4, 6-4 win at No. 1 singles to tie the match at 3-3.
Moore was the next to finish, overcoming a shaky opening set in his national tournament debut to come up with a 2-6, 6-2, 6-2 win at No. 5, and Chow wrapped up the match with a 7-5, 6-3 win at No. 4 as Weber was just set to begin a third set with Jonathan Bowman at No. 3. The Cougars’ overall record for the season now stands at 19-7.
Azusa Pacific’s reward for the hard-fought win is another rematch with a conference rival, this time a quarterfinal matchup with fifth-seeded California Baptist in what will be the third meeting between the programs this season. The Cougars defeated the Lancers, 6-3, in the GSAC opener, then posted a 5-0 win in the NAIA Region II semifinals, although California Baptist was without the services of its regular top 2 singles players for that match.
Azusa Pacific 5, Point Loma Nazarene 3
1. Matthijs Bolsius (APU) def. Joel Myers (PLNU), 6-4, 6-4
2. Patrick Kur (APU) def. Curt Wheeler (PLNU), 6-2, 6-2
3. Mathias Weber (APU) vs. Jonathan Bowman (PLNU), 7-6, 4-6 DNF
4. Ronald Chow (APU) def. Craig Johnson (PLNU), 7-5, 6-3
5. Daniel Moore (APU) def. Travis Albaugh (PLNU), 2-6, 6-2, 6-2
6. Landon Hilker (PLNU) def. Robby Dabbs (APU), 6-1, 6-1
1. Bowman/Johnson (PLNU) def. Bolsius/Dabbs (APU), 9-7
2. Kur/Weber (APU) def. Hilker/Wheeler (PLNU), 8-5
3. Albaugh/Myers (PLNU) def. Chow/Moore (APU), 8-5