7   +   6   =  

Men’s tennis remains unbeaten with impressive wins against UC San Diego and Point Loma

Azusa Pacific’s men’s tennis team travelled to San Diego from Feb. 8-9 to play their second and third matches of the season. After opening the season with a dominant 7-0 victory over Westmont, the Cougars built up their confidence. With lots of talented players, there are high expectations for this team.

APU faced the UC San Diego (UCSD) Tritons in their first matchup of the road trip. APU won the doubles point early, as Jakob Schnaitter and teammate Jesse Haas beat UCSD’s Zach Ermet and Sreeganesh Manoharan in the first spot, 6-1. The doubles portion concluded when Ryan Nuno and Leyton Bohren won in a competitive 7-5 match.

Heading into the singles matches, the Tritons answered quickly with an impressive victory in the third spot, as Neil Tengbumroong defeated APU’s Ronald Kang 6-1, 6-2, tying the overall score up 1-1. The tie didn’t last long as Schnaitter won again 6-2, 6-1 in the number one spot.

UCSD found a way to tie the score again with a win in the sixth spot, making it 2-2. However, the Cougars fought back, not letting UCSD get another point. Haas won in the fifth spot 6-2, 6-3, and Nuno won in the second spot 6-4, 6-1. APU left victorious, 4-2.

Then next day, APU took on the Point Loma Nazarene University (PLNU) Sea Lions. Although the doubles matches were much more competitive than the previous day’s, the Cougars left victorious again with an even more dominant win.

Once again, APU entered the singles matches with a 1-0 lead from doubles play. The Cougars won their next three consecutive matches.  Kang won in the third spot, which was quickly followed by Nuno’s second spot triumph. Senior Roberto Luconi completed the sweep after beating PLNU’s Jasdeep Paintal in the sixth spot. The Sea Lions were unable to collect a single point, and APU cruised to a 4-0 victory.

“My opponent played very well, gave me a lot of tough shots. But I took advantage of his mistakes,” Luconi said. “Overall, it was a complete team effort, and after two wins like this we are feeling very confident.”

The Cougars will have little time to rest before their next match on Monday, Feb. 11, as they travel to face their rival, Biola. APU hopes to add five points to their already strong 50-20 lead in the Cornerstone Cup.

“It’s always fun to play them. And this year the former women’s coach at APU is now the head coach over at Biola,” head coach Mark Bohren said. “ But despite the emotions of a big rivalry, we need to come together as a team and continue to grow. There are clearly areas where we need to improve.”

Despite the excitement associated with playing Biola, there are components of their game where the Cougars feel they need to improve. Bohren hopes to see takeaways from these early season contests that will be used as lessons towards further developing the mens’ skills on the court.