AZUSA, Calif. -- The NAIA’s No. 5-ranked Azusa Pacific handed No. 8-ranked Westmont its first Golden State Athletic Conference defeat, posting a 6-3 win over the Warriors, who have emerged as one of the conference’s early-season surprises.
The Cougars took an early lead in the match with 2 wins in 3 doubles matches, and all 3 singles matches that were decided in straight sets went Azusa Pacific’s way to clinch the team win for the Cougars. Sophomore Janosch Apelt dispatched Tiago Hayashi at No. 2 singles (6-1, 6-2), and freshman Jochem Hoefnagels followed shortly thereafter with a 6-1, 6-4 win at No. 5 singles. Senior Matthijs Bolsius finished off the decision with a 6-3, 7-5 win over Carlos Lima in the top singles position.
The remaining 3 singles matches all split the first 2 sets, and Azusa Pacific’s only victory in those matchups came from senior Ronald Chow at No. 6 singles, a narrow 7-6, 5-7, 10-7 decision. In his third-set super tiebreaker, Chow surrendered 3 consecutive points that allowed Arthur Kalayjian to tie the set at 7-7 before answering with a 3-point run of his own to finish off the set with a 10-7 final score.
Westmont’s singles winners came from the middle of its singles lineup, where Bryan Cox registered a 6-2, 1-6, 7-6 (7-4) victory over sophomore Alex Lane at No. 3 and Diego Almeida rallied from an opening-set shutout for an 0-6, 6-3, 6-0 win at No. 4.
In doubles, Apelt and senior Mathias Weber remained perfect as a doubles tandem with an 8-2 win at No. 2, while Chow and Lane posted an 8-5 win at No. 3 to secure an Azusa Pacific lead heading into the singles matches.
With the win, Azusa Pacific improves to 4-1 overall and 2-0 in GSAC play, while Westmont drops to 3-2 overall, 2-1 GSAC. The conference has 6 teams ranked in the top 12 of the latest NAIA Top 25 coaches poll.