AZUSA, Calif.-- After escaping an early deficit on Monday, the No. 11 ranked Azusa Pacific men’s tennis team again found itself trailing early on. But for the second straight match the Cougars used their singles prowess, closing the day with five straight wins to erase a 3-1 deficit in a 6-3 defeat of No. 7 (NCAA III) Emory (Ga.) on Wednesday.
Azusa Pacific (11-2) dropped its first two doubles matches before getting a narrow 8-6 win from Frederik Wilkens and Gary Yam at No. 2 to avoid a 3-0 hole headed into singles play. The Eagles, however, went ahead 3-1 with a contentious 6-2, 6-4 victory against Tomas Aranguiz at No. 5. But Azusa Pacific, facing its first loss against a team not ranked in the NCAA Division II top-15, got straight set wins from Alan Leahy (6-4, 6-4) at No. 3 and Yam (6-3, 6-2) at No. 6 to knot the match at 3-3 with courts one, two, and four yet to be decided in the third set.
A 3-6, 6-4, 6-2 Wilkens victory over No. 7 Eric Halpern at No. 2 gave Azusa Pacific its first lead of the day before Pascal Engel clinched the win with a 4-6, 6-3, 7-5 defeat of Nick Szczurek at No. 4. Jan Meyer then closed out Emory with a 6-1, 5-7, 6-2 victory against Alex Ruderman at No. 1.
Meyer and Engel fell 8-5 to Ruderman and Ian Wagner at No. 1 doubles, while Leahy and Aranguiz lost 8-2 to Eric Brinzenskiy and Halpern at No. 3 doubles.
The Cougars, who have played six straight home matches, will travel to La Jolla for a tilt with No. 2 ranked Hawai’i Pacific on Friday. Azusa Pacific will then return home for matches against Amherst and Holy Names next week.