The McMurry University men's tennis team split its Pool Play matches on Tuesday on the first day of the National Christian College Athletic Association (NCCAA) Championships at the Copeland-Cox Tennis Center. The War Hawks upset the No. 3 team in the NCCAA – Indiana Wesleyan University – 6-0 in their morning match, before dropping an afternoon bout to No. 1 in the NCCAA (and #12 in NCAA II), Azusa Pacific University (Calif.), 5-1.
McMurry will close Pool Play on Wednesday morning with a 9 a.m. match versus Roberts Wesleyan University (N.Y.). Only the top two teams from each of the two pools advance to Thursday's semi-final match, so McM needs a win tomorrow to assure itself of a top-four finish in the NCCAA and to extend its season at least another day.
McM started the day off on the right foot with the convincing victory over Indiana Wesleyan. The War Hawks swept doubles to jump out to the 3-0 team lead. At No. 1, Chris Breaux and Casjen Rico blitzed IWU's Kyle Johnson and Daniel Stoddard, 8-2.
At No. 3 doubles, Preston Steblein and Cristiano Mendes took an 8-5 win, as well. At No. 2 doubles, the McM tandem of Felipe Cruz and Dani Perez had to work overtime to gain the 9-8 (7-5) win.
That put McMurry into position to need just two points to secure the team victory. The bottom three matches all came in to put the team over the top. Rico closed out his singles match first at No. 6, with a 6-0, 6-3 score, drawing McM within a single point of the win..
Cristiano Mendes at No. 5 and Preston Steblein at No. 4 singles finished their matches simultaneously to make it the 6-0 final, with the balance of the on-going matches halted once a winner was determined. McMurry was leading in two of the three remaining matches, as well.
Against, Azusa Pacific, the match opened with grueling doubles play. At No. 1 doubles, the Breaux-Rico duo was up a break, but the Cougars' Jan Meyer and Jochem Hoefnagels broke back to tie mastteres at 6-6. The two teams stayed on serve, with APU going ahead 8-7 with McM serving. The Cougars got their second service break of the day to win the match, 9-7.
At No. 2 doubles, Cruz and Perez were down 6-3 at one point, but battled back to get within 6-5. But APU would win the final two points for the 8-5 victory.
McMurry's lone win of the match versus APU came from No. 3 doubles. Mendes and Steblein had no trouble in an 8-4 win.
In singles, the Cougars won at Nos. 1, 2 and 4 matches in straight sets to close out the War Hawks, 5-1. APU was up a set in all three of the unfinished matches.
McMurry University Men's Tennis
Indiana Wesleyan University vs McMurry University (May 07, 2013)
#6 McMurry University 6, #3 Indiana Wesleyan University 0 May 07, 2013 at Mobile, Ala. (Copeland-Cox Tennis Center)
1. Chris Breaux (MCMMT) vs. Kyle Johnson (IWU) 2-6, 1-2, unfinished 2. Felipe Cruz (MCMMT) vs. Leonard Matthews (IWU) 6-2, 2-1, unfinished 3. Dani Perez (MCMMT) vs. Brandon Dubuque (IWU) 6-2, 4-1, unfinished 4. Preston Steblein (MCMMT) def. Daniel Stoddard (IWU) 6-1, 6-0 5. Cristiano Mendes (MCMMT) def. Brooks Ayers (IWU) 6-1, 6-1 6. Casjen Rico (MCMMT) def. Daniel Smith (IWU) 6-0, 6-3
1. Chris Breaux/Casjen Rico (MCMMT) def. Kyle Johnson/Daniel Stoddard (IWU) 8-2 2. Felipe Cruz/Dani Perez (MCMMT) def. Leonard Matthews/Brandon Dubuque (IWU) 9-8 (7-5) 3. Preston Steblein/Cristiano Mendes (MCMMT) def. Brooks Ayers/Daniel Smith (IWU) 8-5
Indiana Wesleyan University 19-6; National ranking #3 McMurry University 12-7; National ranking #6 Order of finish: Doubles (1,3,2); Singles (6,5,4) National Christian College Athletic Association men's tennis championships Pool Play - 1st round match
Azusa Pacific Tennis
McMurry University vs Azusa Pacific (5/6/2013)
#12 Azusa Pacific 5, McMurry University 1
5/6/2013 at Mobile, Ala. (Mobile Tennis Center)
1. #14 Jochem Hoefnagels (APU-MT) def. Chris Breaux (MCM-M) 6-0, 6-4 2. Frederik Wilkens (APU-MT) def. Felipe Cruz (MCM-M) 6-0, 6-1 3. Ben Eger (APU-MT) vs. Dani Perez (MCM-M) 6-3, 2-4, unfinished 4. Jan Meyer (APU-MT) def. Preston Steblein (MCM-M) 6-1, 6-0 5. Whitman Hough (APU-MT) vs. Cristiano Mendes (MCM-M) 6-2, 3-2, unfinished 6. Gary Yam (APU-MT) vs. Casjen Rico (MCM-M) 6-3, 1-0, unfinished
1. Jan Meyer/Jochem Hoefnagels (APU-MT) def. Chris Breaux/Casjen Rico (MCM-M) 9-7 2. Whitman Hough/Frederik Wilkens (APU-MT) def. Felipe Cruz/Dani Perez (MCM-M) 8-5 3. Cristiano Mendes/Preston Steblein (MCM-M) def. Ben Eger/Daniel Sosnowski (APU-MT) 8-5
McMurry University 11-9
Azusa Pacific 24-2; National ranking #12 Order of finish: Doubles (3,2,1); Singles (2,4,1) National Christian College Athletics Association National Championship Tournament Pool A (APU 2-0) (MCM 1-1).
Information for this story provided by McMurry Athletics.