AZUSA, Calif. -- The Azusa Pacific men's tennis team faced its biggest test of the season, taking on the undefeated No. 1 ranked Barry, and in the measuring-stick match, the Cougars came just one win away from knocking off the reigning Division II tennis champions in a 5-4 loss.
With the narrow escape, the Buccaneers (10-0) improved its winning streak to 39 matches thanks to freshman Romain Costamagna’s clinching win at No. 3, 6-2, 6-3.
The Cougars (8-2) trailed 2-1 after doubles, but were ahead by a set in three of the six singles matches, needing just one come-from-behind victory to pull off the upset. However, Barry proved why it was the No. 1 team in the country, holding onto its lead in each of the three singles matches for the victory.
Sophomore Jan Meyer got back into the win column after having his 28-match regular season win streak snapped, as the No. 7 ranked player gave Ahmed Triki his first loss in his collegiate career, 6-2, 6-3 at No. 1 singles. That win came after an 8-6 victory in doubles with Pascal Engel over the No. 14 doubles pairing of Triki and Fabian Groetsch.
Triki, who played doubles for Tunisia's Davis Cup team, and Groetsch brought a record of 6-1 as a team into their match. Meyer and Engel, however earned a double break lead early to claim a 5-1 lead. The Bucs’ No. 1 pair then came storming back and earned a break point to tie the score at 5-5, but the Cougars held serve, keeping their break lead until they served out the set to win 8-6.
Along with wins at No. 1 doubles and singles, the Cougars continued to thrive at the top of the lineup with senior Frederik Wilkens knocking out the No. 12 singles player in the nation Groetsch, 6-2, 2-6, 10-7.
Sophomore Tomas Aranguiz collected the Cougars’ fourth win of the day in a defeat of Ollie Lemaitre. After digging out a tight first set, Aranguiz road the momentum to a straight sets victory 7-6(4), 6-4 to improve to 8-3 on the season.
In Meyer’s singles match, the No. 7 player in the nation had one of his best returning days, earning six breaks in eight service games against his undefeated opponent. The two traded breaks five times to begin the match before Meyer won two games on his serve to claim the set. Triki opened the second set with his first hold of the day since doubles, but Meyer didn’t let the Triki lead get any bigger, winning six of the next eight games to claim the match.
In the clinching match, freshman Alan Leahy took on veteran Costamagna, who had an opportunity to serve out the match at 5-2. After a double fault on match point, Leahy worked his way back into the match with a break. However, Leahy surrendered his serve to the man five years his senior, as Barry clinched the victory.
At No. 2 doubles, Leo Vivias and Costamagna defeated Cougar duo of Wilkens and Gary Yam, who were playing together for just the third time since last season, 8-5. Before that, No. 3 doubles Barry’s Lemaitre and Renato Lombardi cruised to an 8-1 victory over Aranguiz and Leahy.
In singles, Yam lost to No. 37 Leo Vivas 6-2, 6-0 and Lombardi defeated Engel 6-1, 6-2 for Barry. Azusa Pacific will host Westmont on Friday.