AZUSA, Calif.-- Back on March 5 Azusa Pacific narrowly escaped Santa Barbara with a 5-4 win over Westmont. Today the NAIA’s 4th ranked Cougars had an easier time registering their 10th Golden State Athletic Conference win of the season with an 8-1 showing against the 8th ranked Warriors.
Azusa Pacific (18-2; 10-2) took a 3-0 edge in doubles before going 5-1 in singles as Janosch Apelt and Jochem Hoefnagels continued their hot streaks. Hoefnagels won his 20th straight match, keeping his season record perfect, while Apelt tallied his ninth consecutive win at No. 1 to improve to 14-5.
Hoefnagels defeated Tim Goranson 6-2, 7-6 (7-5) at No. 2, while Apelt posted a 6-2, 6-2 victory against Bryan Cox. Ben Eger and Gary Yam each notched three-set super-tiebreaker wins after the Cougars clinched the match. Eger beat Lukas Zielen 6-4, 6-7 (12-10), 1-0 (10-8) before Yam recorded a comeback 4-6, 6-2, 1-0 (10-8) victory over Joshua Barnard at No. 6.
Ilja Ikonnikov grabbed a 6-4, 6-2 win over John Bertram at No. 5 and Frederik Wilkens dropped Azusa Pacific’s only match, losing to Rodrigo Schaefer in two sets (6-3, 6-2). Wilkens however, did team with Yam to give the Cougars a doubles sweep on court two.
The duo, which is 7-2 this season, overcame a Westmont break after holding a 7-6 edge to register a tight 9-8 (8-6) victory over Goranson and Bertram at No. 2. Before that Apelt and Hoefnagels won their 12th straight doubles match, beating Cox and Schaefer 8-5 at No. 1. Eger and Ikonnikov recorded the day’s first result, defeating Zielen and Barnard 8-5 at No. 3.
With the win the Cougars held serve at No. 2 in the GSAC standings with just two regular season contests left. Azusa Pacific will host Biola on Friday before playing in its final GSAC contest against Point Loma Nazarene next Wednesday.