SANTA BARBARA, Calif. -- The NAIA’s No. 5-ranked Azusa Pacific posted an 8-1 win over No. 7-ranked Westmont Tuesday afternoon at the Abbott Tennis Courts in Santa Barbara for its seventh straight win, the longest Cougar winning streak since 2007.
The win flipped the Cougars into second place in the conference standings above Concordia, which suffered a 5-4 loss to fourth-place Vanguard Tuesday, as Azusa Pacific heads into a 10-day layoff from live match action. The longest layoff of the season ends when the Cougars host Vanguard, ranked No. 6 in the NAIA, on Friday, April 9, at the Munson & Bavougian Tennis Complex.
The Cougars won the first 4 points of the match with straight-set singles wins from senior Danny Colten (No. 6), freshman Jochem Hoefnagels (No. 4), senior Matthijs Bolsius (No. 1) and sophomoreJanosch Apelt (No. 2). Colten improved to 6-0 in GSAC matches, while Hoefnagels won his fifth consecutive singles match.
Westmont’s Tiago Hayashi delivered Westmont its only point of the match, rallying from a 5-2 deficit in the second set to win 5 straight games and post a 6-4, 7-5 win over sophomore Alex Lane at the No. 3 position. Senior Mathias Weber delivered the team victory with the clinching win at No. 5 singles, posting a 7-5 opening-set win before Westmont’s Mattias Neuman conceded the match and retired with the second set knotted at 3-3.
A 9-7 win at No. 3 doubles from sophomores Whitman Hough and Ilja Ikonnikov capped an Azusa Pacific doubles sweep. Weber and Apelt, who fashioned a 10-1 mark playing exclusively at the No. 2 position this season, posted an 8-5 win in their first match as the Cougars’ No. 1 tandem. Senior Ronald Chow and Lane won by the same margin in their promotion from playing primarily No. 3 doubles this season to the No. 2 spot Tuesday, their ninth consecutive doubles victory.
With the win, Azusa Pacific matches its regular-season win total from a year ago with a full month remaining in the 2010 schedule, improving to 13-3 overall and 7-2 in GSAC play. Westmont drops to 8-6 overall, 5-5 GSAC.