Azusa Pacific’s men’s tennis continues to shine at last tournament of the fall season
Azusa Pacific tennis continues to shine with a singles championship win from senior Oliver Frank as the fall season came to a close. Last weekend, Frank won the United States Tennis Associations Intercollegiate Championships, a feat that has never been done by a Cougar before him.
Frank, who came into the tournament unseeded, fought his way through a field of 32 athletes where he defeated the top seeded Brandon Holt from USC in the finals, 6-3,6-4.
“I wasn’t trying to overthink anything, I was just trying carry the momentum and play my game point by point,” Frank said.
The APU senior continued to climb to the finals after two tough three-set matches, beating UC Davis’ David Goulak 6-3, 1-6, 6-4 and USC’s Jake DeVine 2-6, 6-3, 6-1.
Two more USC athletes fell to Frank when he defeated No. 2 Laurens Verboven 6-1, 3-6, 6-1 and No. 5 Logan Smith 6-1, 1-6, 6-0 to send Oliver Frank to the finals.
“I knew I was the underdog [going into the finals] so I could just play loose and that turned out to be favorable for my game,” Frank said.
This win is special because Frank topped almost all of the Division I playing field. Only two other athletes were from Division II programs, one of which was APU’s junior Antonio Pejic. After qualifying for the round of 32 Pejic eventually fell in the first round to UC Irvine’s Sebastian Heim, 6-3, 6-4.
APU also had athletes in the doubles tournament as well and was the only Division II team to do so. Sr. Christian Schmid and Oliver Frank won their first match 8-2 against Loyola Marymount’s Cartier Juan and Ethan Prost before falling to DeVine and Smith from USC, 8-5.
Pejic and sophomore Marnix Pluim also competed in the doubles tournament but fell 8-6 to Mitchel Iwahiro and Jonathan Star of UC Davis.
Former APU player and assistant coach Pascal Engel, who paired up with Frank last year in doubles, expected that Frank would have a great tournament and may beat a few good players, but was a little surprised when Frank kept advancing to the next round.
“He kept continuing to play better and better every day and it seemed like no one could stop him anymore. It was a great experience and a lot of fun to coach him now.” Engel said.
The APU men’s tennis team’s fall season came to a close with Frank’s win, as they will not face another opponent until the Feb. 3rd home opener against the Caltech Beavers.