AZUSA, Calif.-- In the 2012 opener the NAIA’s No. 4 ranked men’s tennis team made quick work of Pomona Pitzer, winning 6-3 after jumping ahead to an early 5-0 lead.
In singles Azusa Pacific (1-0) dropped just one game, and recorded the only loss when Janosch Apelt retired after two sets (1-1) due to injury.
In the No. 2 singles match Jochem Hoefnagels dominated Pomona Pitzer’s Chris Weichert, beating the Sagehen 6-2, 6-0 for the Cougars' first win of the day. Ben Eger had a strong performance, winning in two sets (6-1, 6-4) for the second win, while Ilja Ikkonikov nabbed a two-set win (6-4, 6-2) over Connor Hudson on court six.
The best singles match of the day was between both team’s top players. However, the match was cut short after Apelt, leading 5-4 in the second set, fell to the ground with an injury. He managed to finish the set, a 5-7 loss, and then retired for the Cougars’ only singles loss of the day.
“Obviously it was nice to win the five points right away so that the match was over,” said head coach Mark Bohren. “Janosch could have probably gutted it through the third set if we needed it, but It was nice that he didn’t have to.”
With Apelt out, and Hoefnagels in need of a partner, freshman Zach McMahon stepped into the role to play in the No. 1 doubles spot. McMahon, who didn’t compete in singles, filled in admirably for the Cougars’ top player, helping the pair to an 8-4 win for Azusa Pacific’s only doubles victory.
“I was a little worried about playing their No. 1s without my original partner, but I felt good about my own game,” said Hoefnagels. “He did really well, I was proud of him. He seemed ready and made a lot of shots, so that made it a lot easier for me.”
The Sagehens beat (8-4) Eger and Wilkens in No. 2 doubles, and recorded an 8-5 win over Ikkonikov and Yam. With the win Azusa Pacific improves to 1-0 on the season and next competes at Fresno Pacific on Feb. 13.