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Title Bound

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Photo by Chris Baker

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Published
May 9, 2013
By
Chris Baker
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MOBILE, Ala.-- After another trouncing, the Azusa Pacific men’s tennis team is headed for the title match of the National Christian College Athletics Association national championship tournament. The Cougars notched their fourth straight blowout of the tournament, this time blasting Shorter (Ga.) 5-0 in the semifinals to set up a showdown with Fresno Pacific, which also ran through the competition in its four contests.

“It’s exciting. It’s been a while, so it’s great to get back. This is my sixth national championship match, so while we know what to expect, it’s still exciting,” said head coach Mark Bohren. “We’ve been playing really well all week, and we’re ready to play in a tough match. We’ve had a great season, and other than a small period in Hawai’i we’ve been perfect. We hope that we continue to get better and peak tomorrow. There is a lot of history with us and Fresno Pacific, and facing your rival is a great way to finish the year. We know it’s going to be really tight. We have a lot of respect for them, and we know it’s going to be a battle.”

Azusa Pacific quickly swept through doubles, and got two speedy victories in singles action to notch their third 5-0 win of the week, heading into the championship match with a 20-1 clip through the NCCAA semifinals.

Ben Eger and Gary Yam put on another display in doubles, tabbing their second consecutive 8-0 win, beating Colt Kelley and Robert Watson to put the Cougars up 1-0. Jochem Hoefnagels and Jan Meyer quickly gave Azusa Pacific a 2-0 edge with an 8-3 defeat of Romain Lefevre and Romain Ferreira before Whitman Hough and Frederik Wilkens made it a 3-0 match after taking down Marc Guerry and Arturo Lifshitz at No. 2 (8-3).

Eger sprinted to a 6-2, 6-1 victory at No. 3, and Wilkens clinched the match with a 6-1, 6-1 defeat of Ferreira at No. 2. Joseph Remington was leading 6-2, 4-1 when the match was sealed, and Yam had just finished a first set victory (6-3) before Wilkens tabbed the fifth point.

The Cougars will now take on Fresno Pacific in the championship, looking to win their third match against the Sunbirds this season. Azusa Pacific grabbed a 5-4 win on Feb. 18 to snap a 12-match losing streak to the Sunbirds and won again on March 25 after trailing 2-1 going into singles play.

Fresno Pacific, however, owns the latest victory, a 5-3 win in the semifinals of the Pacific West Conference championships. The Cougars and Sunbirds have met in the NAIA tournament three times since 2007, with Fresno Pacific winning each meeting.

Azusa Pacific will be playing for its second national championship, hoping to bring home the banner for the first time since 2005.

Click Here to follow live updates of the title match, which begins at 9:00 a.m. (CDT) on Friday.