AZUSA, Calif. -- The last time that Azusa Pacific stood on the tennis court it was celebrating its first national championship in program history. The long road to repeating began today in earnest.
While Sam Fletcher, Gordon Hong and Adam Davidson have all moved on, the Cougars have brought back quality players from last year’s team and mixed in several newcomers that form a talented and balanced group.
In their first action of 2006, it looked like the Cougars were in mid-season form as they defeated Redlands, 7-2.
“It was a solid way to start the season against a good Redlands team,” said head coach Mark Bohren. “I was happy with the way the whole team competed. We still have a lot of experience from last year’s national championship team and I hope that experience will help us throughout the season.”
One of those experienced players is senior Boris Bakalov who was dominant in his 6-1, 6-1 victory over Andrew Elling. His win continued Azusa Pacific’s moving in the right direction and at the completion of singles play the Cougars had 4 straight set winners.
The Cougars opened the dual match by winning all 3 doubles matches which put a significant amount of pressure on Redlands to respond. But after freshman Patrick Kur burst onto the scene with a 6-1, 6-1 pulverizing of Robert Vincent, combined with Bakalov’s convincing win, Azusa Pacific (1-0) tightened its grip on the upper hand.
The Cougars will next host UC San Diego on Feb. 10 before opening up GSAC play against Point Loma Nazarene the following day. The dual match against UC San Diego is slated to begin at 2 p.m.
1 – Boris Bakalov (APU) d. Andrew Elling (R.), 6-1, 6-1
2 – Patrick Kur (APU) d. Robert Vincent (R.), 6-1, 6-1
3 – David Goodman (APU) d. Eric Wagar (R.), 6-2, 2-6, 6-0
4 – Tom Jelsma (APU) d. Sean Dolan (R.), 6-3, 6-3
5 – Ashwin Bharagava (R.) d. Cole Billings (APU), 6-4, 5-7, 6-3
6 – Art Fatkiev (APU) d. Chandler Lutz (R.), 6-3, 6-2
1 – Bakalov/Jelsma (APU) d. Elling/Wagar (R.), 8-5
2 – Kur/Goodman (APU) d. Vincent/Lutz (R.), 8-6
3 – Dolan/Bharagava (R.) d. Billings/Fatkiev (APU), 8-6