AZUSA, Calif. -- For a few precarious moments, momentum could have gone either way.
In the end, the NAIA’s No. 1-ranked Azusa Pacific got a pair of tight doubles victories, and then relied on its quality depth in singles, to knock off the No. 1-ranked team in NCAA Division III, Gustavus Adolphus, 7-2.
Boris Bakalov and Tom Jelsma trailed 4-1 in their No. 1 doubles match to the same duo of Adam Morgan and Brett Morse-Karzen that had surprisingly upended Sam Fletcher and Adam Davidson last year.
But Bakalov and Jelsma righted the ship just in time and won in a tiebreaker, 9-8. It proved to be a huge win because the No. 2 team of Patrick Kur and Art Fatkiev squandered a 7-4 lead in losing 9-7.
Tied at 1-1, attention turned toward the third doubles match featuring David Goodman and Cole Billings. They were locked in a fierce battle with Jesse Brauer and Loren Collins.
The Cougars were able to capture the point as Goodman and Billings edged their opponents, 9-7. It was only their second match as doubles partners this season.
In singles play it was business as usual for Azusa Pacific. Kur rebounded with a 6-1, 6-3 win at No. 2 singles as the Cougars captured each match sans No. 1.
It is the second straight year that the Cougars have beaten the Gusties, a premiere program in NCAA Division III.
Azusa Pacific is now 16-1 and continues play on Friday against Hawaii-Hilo at 2 p.m.
Adam Morgan (GAC) d. Boris Bakalov (APU), 3-6, 6-1, 6-1
Patrick Kur (APU) d. Jesse Brauer (GAC), 6-1, 6-3
David Goodman (APU) d. Andy Bryan (GAC), 7-5, 7-5
Tom Jelsma (APU) d. Roy Bryan (GAC), 6-4, 6-1
Art Fatkiev (APU) d. Brett Morse-Karzen (GAC), 4-6, 6-2, 6-2
Cole Billings (APU) d. John Kauss (GAC), 7-5, 2-6 (10-5)
Bakalov/Jelsma (APU) d. Morgan/Karzen (GAC), 9-8
Bryan/Bryan (GAC) d. Fatkiev/Kur (APU), 9-7
Goodman/Billings (APU) d. Loren Collins/Brauer (GAC), 9-7