MOBILE, Ala.-- Not even a torrential downpour could slow down the Azusa Pacific men’s tennis team, with the Cougars cruising to their 10th consecutive NCCAA tournament win to clinch their second straight national championship. After Azusa Pacific took a 2-1 doubles lead at the Copeland-Cox Tennis Center in Mobile, Ala., rain forced the title match indoors to the Mobile Convention Center for the second year in a row.
And just like 2013’s championship run, the Cougars won the NCCAA crown with a freshman clinching the title after Alan Leahy posted a straight sets victory at No. 4 to seal the Cougars’ 5-2 win over McMurry.
“Today was a nail biter for a while. Then when we had to change venues I a little nervous because playing indoors and outdoors can be so different. There was adversity, but nobody complained. Last year the guys had fun going indoors, and today the guys were ready to play. I was extremely proud of what they did today and I thought we got better and better as the tournament progressed. It was a great season, and it’s amazing to go into our first NCAA Division II season with a few titles under our belt,” said head coach Mark Bohren.
Jan Meyer and Gary Yam had little trouble giving the Cougars a 1-0 lead with an 8-2 win at No. 1 doubles, but the other two matches came down to the wire. Frederik Wilkens and Tomas Aranguiz edged out a 9-8 (3) win at No. 2, but McMurry came back with a 9-7 defeat of Pascal Engel and Leahy at No. 3 to put the match at 2-1 headed to singles.
After a delay due to rain, the Cougars added to their lead with Meyer’s quick 6-1, 6-1 win over Felipe Cruz at No. 1. Meyer, who clinched last year’s NCCAA championship, closes out the 2014 campaign with 10 straight wins.
McMurry, however, cut Azusa Pacific’s advantage to one when Chris Breaux upset of No. 6 ranked Wilkens 6-1, 6-4, making it a 3-2 match.
But Engel positioned the Cougars within a win of clinching the championship with his 6-3, 6-2 defeat of Preston Preston Steblein at No. 3. Leahy then sealed the program’s third national championship with his decisive 6-0, 6-1 victory against Dani Perez at No. 4, giving the Cougars their third title in the last 10 seasons.
Yam and Aranguiz were each tied at 2-2 in the first set when the match was clinched.
The national championship is Bohren’s third as a head coach, with the Azusa Pacific alum leading the Cougars to the 2005 NAIA title and 2013 NCCAA crown before his Cougars won this season’s NCCAA banner.