HONOLULU, Hawaii -- With his back to the wall, Azusa Pacific’s Gordon Hong stood tall. As a result, the NAIA’s No. 1-ranked Cougars, after surrendering the doubles’ point, narrowly pulled out a 4-3 win at NCAA Division I Hawaii Tuesday.
With the win, the Cougars improve to 18-3 overall. It is their sixth straight win. Hawaii drops to 6-13 with its third straight loss.
With all but one match completed, the Cougars and Rainbow Warriors were tied at 3-3. All eyes turned to court No. 5 where Hong and Chad Falk were engrossed in a battle that would prove be the winning point. Hong's eventual 3-set victory over Faulk gave the Cougars the deciding point.
Hawaii pulled out the doubles’ point with a thrilling tiebreak victory at No. 2. The teams split the Nos. 1 and 3 courts leaving the winner of No. 2 to capture the team point. Both Hawaii’s Jarrod Diepraam and Ryan Sceats and Azusa Pacific’s Boris Bakalov and Tom Jelsma were on serve the entire match until the Rainbow Warrior duo took the lead in the tiebreak and never relinquished it, winning 7-2.
The teams then battled back and forth in singles play. The Cougars rallied to tie the team score with wins from Sam Fletcher (No. 1), Bakalov (No. 2) and Jelsma (No. 6). UH won at No. 2 after David Goodman, retired down 6-2, 2-0. Diepraam also won at No. 4, 6-4, 6-4, over Adam Davidson leaving the No. 5 court to settle the score. Hong pulled out the match, 7-5, 2-6, 6-2.
1 - Sam Fletcher (APU) d. Dalibor Ptak (UH), 7-5, 6-3
2 - Boris Bakalov (APU) d. Bryon Weinberg (UH), 6-2, 6-3
3 - Ryan Sceats (UH) d. David Goodman (APU), 6-2, 2-0 ret.
4 - Jarrod Diepraam (UH) d. Adam Davidson (APU), 6-4, 6-4
5 - Gordon Hong (APU) d. Chad Faulk (UH), 7-5, 2-6, 6-2
6 - Tom Jelsma (APU) d. Derrick Lajola (UH), 6-4, 6-4
1 - Fletcher/Davidson (APU) def. Lajola/Ptak (UH), 8-6
2 - Diepraam/Sceats (UH) def. Bakalov/Jelsma (APU), 9-8 (2)
3 - Faulk/Weinberg (UH) def. Hong/Goodman (APU), 8-4