AZUSA, Calif.-- In its first match as the defending NCCAA national champions, the No. 12 ranked Azusa Pacific men’s tennis team held off the NAIA’s No. 3 ranked Vanguard, narrowly defeating the Lions with a 5-4 win on Saturday.
The Cougars opened the day by taking two of three in doubles action before splitting the six singles matches, with Gary Yam clinching the win with a 7-6 (7-4), 6-2 defeat of Daymon Johnson at No. 4. Azusa Pacific, which only allowed four teams to get four points throughout the 2013 season, never trailed, and led 4-2 before Vanguard closed with a 2-1 run.
Jan Meyer gave the Cougars their first singles win of the day with a 7-5, 6-1 victory against Roger Muri at No. 2, and Alan Leahy followed that up with a 6-2, 6-0 win over Miguel Saiz Perez at No. 3 in his first match at Azusa Pacific.
Frederik Wilkens fell 6-2, 6-2 to the No. 3 rated player in the NAIA, Stefan Kilchhofer, at No. 1, and Pascal Engel lost to Filip Burnac (7-5, 6-4) at No. 5. After Yam clinched the Cougar win, Tomas Aranguiz retired (cramping) with a 3-0 third set lead against Michael Rjazanov after the two split the first sets 2-6, 7-6 (7-5).
In doubles Wilkens and Aranguiz gave Azusa Pacific a quick 1-0 lead with an 8-3 win over Johnson and Rjazanov before Vanguard tied the match with an 8-6 win over Engel and Meyer. Leahy and Yam closed doubles play with an 8-5 defeat of Burnac and Seller.
The Cougars, who registered a perfect regular season in 2013, will vie for their 25th consecutive regular season win dating back to 2012 when they travel to San Diego for matches against UC San Diego and Point Loma next weekend.