VANCOUVER, Wash. – Putting an extra game’s distance between their two teams in the battle for second place in the Northwest Conference men’s tennis race, the Pacific University Boxers pulled out a 5-4 win over the George Fox University Bruins in a down-to-the-wire match Sunday evening here at the Club Green Meadow’s indoor courts.
George Fox took an early 2-1 lead by capturing the second and third doubles. The Bruins’ Justin McClain and Peter Brown downed the Boxers’ Spencer Hing and Scott Kawamura 8-3 at No. 2, and Drew Milton and David Munoz dropped Brandon Schlack and Kolin Wong 8-4 at No. 2. Pacific got its first win at No. 1 as Troy Zuroske and Giancarlo Battaglia topped Preston Mann and Shawn Aldrich 8-5.
In singles, the outcome seesawed back and forth as each match finished. Pacific evened it at 2-2 when Kawamura conquered Munoz 6-2, 6-4 at No. 5, but the Bruins regained the edge when Aldrich ousted Hing 6-2, 6-4 at No. 2. Battaglia’s narrow 7-5, 6-4 win over McClain at No. 3 knotted the match again, and the Boxers forged ahead when Zuroske overcame Mann 6-3, 6-4 at No. 1.
Milton kept the Bruins in the hunt with a hard-fought 6-3, 5-7, 6-3 win over Schlack at No. 4, the Boxer’s first loss to a Division III opponent in singles all season. With the score deadlocked at 4-4, Eric Furuya finally secured the win for the Boxers with a 6-2, 6-4 decision over Andy Tweet at No. 6.
Pacific improved to 7-2 overall and 7-1 in the conference, while George Fox slipped to 6-7 overall and 5-3 in league play. The match had been originally scheduled for Saturday, but wet courts at George Fox forced an eventual relocation of the duel.
“As anticipated, it was a great battle tonight with two of the top D-III teams in the West fighting it out for sole possession of second place in the conference,” said George Fox coach Neal Ninteman. “Our guys fought hard, and even though they didn’t win in the end, we showed that we have a great chance to make the conference tournament at the end of the season.”
NEXT: George Fox will be off for almost two weeks with spring break coming up, not returning to the courts until Friday, Mar. 30, in a 1:00 p.m. match at Willamette University ... Pacific heads for Orlando, Fla., next weekend for three matches, starting with Colby College on Thursday.