MOBILE, Ala.-- They’re certainly in championship mode, and after day one of the National Christian College Athletics Association championship tournament Azusa Pacific looked all the part of a team ready to defend its national title. The Cougars dropped only one match in a 5-1 tournament-opening win over Roberts Wesleyan before breezing past Mississippi College 5-0 in the nightcap to start pool play with a pair of wins and seal their third consecutive 20-win season.
The Cougars (21-6) kicked things off with two wins at doubles against Roberts Wesleyan, with Jan Meyer and Gary Yam recording an 8-5 defeat of Charles Farres and Sam Thorold at No. 1, and Pascal Engel and Alan Leahy beating Robert Beer and Emanuel Rauchle 8-3 at No. 3. Frederik Wilkens and Tomas Aranguiz fell to Beka Buchukuri and Julio Toledo at No. 2.
In singles No. 5 ranked Meyer tabbed a 6-0, 6-1 defeat of Buchukuri at No. 1, and Yam notched a 6-3, 6-1 win over Beer at No. 5. Aranguiz posted Azusa Pacific’s other singles win with his 6-2, 6-2 victory against Rauchle at No. 6. Leahy won the first set of his match 6-4, while Engel was leading 6-4, 5-1 when the match was called. No. 6 ranked Wilkens split his first two sets (3-6, 6-3) against Farres at No. 2.
In the second match the Cougars swept through doubles, getting an 8-2 win from Meyer and Yam at No. 1, and an 8-5 victory from Wilkens and Aranguiz at No. 2. Engel and Leahy pushed Azusa Pacific’s lead to 3-0 with their 8-2 defeat of Taylor Griffith and Travis Burdick.
In singles the Cougars rattled off two quick wins atop the lineup, with Meyer sprinting to a 6-1, 6-0 win, and Wilkens clinching the Cougar victory with a 6-1, 6-1 win at No. 2. When the match was clinched Sasha Kingsley was ahead 6-3, 1-1 at No. 6, while Joseph Remington held a 6-3, 0-1 advantage at No. 5.
Azusa Pacific will return to action Wednesday morning when it takes on Point at 9 a.m. at the Copeland Cox Tennis Center in Mobile, Ala.