FRESNO, Calif.-- In a clash between a pair of unbeatens, the Azusa Pacific men’s tennis team recorded one of its biggest wins in years, posting a 5-4 victory over Fresno Pacific to end a 12-match losing streak to the Sunbirds on Monday afternoon. The Cougars took a 2-1 lead after doubles action before splitting singles play to notch their first defeat of Fresno Pacific (5-1) since 2007.
“We’re ecstatic. Fresno Pacific has been a thorn in our side and we haven’t beaten them in a long time, so it feels awesome,” said head coach Mark Bohren. “The guys have been playing great tennis and really wanted to win today. They worked super hard and I’m really proud of them.”
Azusa Pacific snapped the Sunbirds’ five-match season-opening win streak with the victory, while Jochem Hoefnagels, Ben Eger, and Jan Meyer stayed unbeaten in singles. No. 6 ranked Hoefnagels cruised to an impressive win (6-2, 6-1) over No. 12 Kirill Sinitsyn to hand the Sunbird his first loss of the season at No. 1. The win was Hoefnagels’ 29th consecutive in the regular season dating back to last season.
Eger tabbed a straight-sets win at No. 4 (6-2, 6-3), while No. 20 Meyer dropped just a game in a 6-1, 6-0 victory at No. 3. Eger lifted his record to 8-0 and Meyer moved to 7-0 in his first collegiate season. No. 31 Frederik Wilkens lost his first match of the season, falling in a pair of tight sets (7-6, 7-6) at No. 2. Gary Yam lost a narrow three-set match at No. 6, losing 4-6, 6-1, 9-11 at No. 6.
Whitman Hough fell 6-7, 1-6 to Marco Gabriel at No. 5. Azusa Pacific took a 2-1 edge in doubles after Hough and Eger sprinted to an 8-0 defeat of Gabriel and Stefan Loop at No. 3, while Hoefnagels and Meyer notched an 8-6 win over Sinitsyn and Kyle Rowe. Wilkens and Yam dropped the Cougars’ lone doubles match 9-8 at No. 2.
The Azusa Pacific victory ended a Sunbird streak that included three losses to Fresno Pacific in the NAIA playoffs. The Cougars will host Fresno Pacific on March 25, looking for back-to-back wins over the Sunbirds for the first time since 2007.