AZUSA, Calif.-- After facing four ranked teams in the past five matches, the No. 11 ranked Azusa Pacific men’s tennis team was in for an unlikely challenge against unrated Western New Mexico on Monday. The Cougars, who swept the Mustangs 9-0 earlier this season, fell behind 2-1 after doubles before winning four of six in singles to improve to 10-2 on the year with a 5-4 victory.
After Tomas Aranguiz and Alan Leahy sprinted to a quick 8-2 win at No. 3 doubles, the Mustangs responded with two straight wins, avoiding the second sweep to the Cougars this season.
At No. 1 doubles the team of Jan Meyer and Pascal Engel trailed 5-2 early on against Juan Pablo Fuentes and Rodrigo Almeida. But a pair of breaks put the Cougars back on serve before Meyer held to make it a 7-7 match. The Mustangs responded with a hold on the ensuing point before breaking the Cougars for the 9-7 win, snapping Meyer’s and Engel’s three-match winning streak.
At No. 2 doubles the Cougars followed a similar path, with Frederik Wilkens and Gary Yam looking up at an early 5-1 deficit. The pair, however, stormed back with six of the next eight points, knotting it at 7-7 on Wilkens’ serve. But the Mustangs stopped the hemorrhaging with a hold and a break to seal a 9-7 win, giving WNMU a 2-1 lead headed into singles.
Wilkens knotted the match at 2-2 with a swift 6-1, 6-1 victory at No. 2 before 7th ranked Meyer put the Cougars ahead 3-2 with a 6-0, 6-2 victory. The Mustangs, however, tied the score at 3-3 with a 6-3, 7-6 defeat of Aranguiz.
Leahy put the Cougars back on top with a two-set 6-2, 6-4 win over Pageault at No. 4, and Engel clinched the victory with a 6-1, 6-4 win against Francisco Damasio at No. 5. Yam finished the day with a heartbreaking 6-4, 7-6 (3), 10-7 loss at No. 6.
Azusa Pacific, which has taken on four teams ranked in the top-15 in the past two weeks, will face the NCAA Division III’s No. 7 rated Emory (Ga.) on Wednesday before squaring off with Division II’s second ranked Hawai’i Pacific on Friday in La Jolla. The Cougars will return home against No. 4 (NCAA III) Amherst on Monday.