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Pepperdine Battles Past No. 42 Penn State, 4-1

May 11, 2007


The No. 20-ranked Pepperdine men's tennis team opening defense of its 2006 national title with a 4-1 victory over the No. 42-ranked Penn State Nittany Lions Friday afternoon at USC's Marks Stadium.


Pepperdine (23-7) took control of the match early by picking up the often underrated double's point. Omar Altmann and Richard Johnson made quick work of Penn State 's (16-7) Michael James and Ryan Berger, 8-1 at the No. 1 position. On court two, Andre Begemann and Mahmound Kamel led 7-3 before holding on for the 8-6 victory, clinching the point and taking a 1-0 lead.


"The double's point is underestimated by a lot of people who don't know our sport," commented Waves' head coach Adam Steinberg. "That one point means so much, especially in the NCAA tournament. It carries so much momentum to singles in the team that wins it and it leaves doubt in the other team."


The Waves won the first set in singles in five of the six positions and appeared to have the match well in control.


Kamel pushed the Pepperdine lead to 2-0 with a 6-1, 6-1 victory at the No. 6 position and Altmann pulled the Waves within one point of clinching with a straight-set, 6-4, 6-2, victory at No. 5.


With Begemann dropping the first set at the No. 1 position and trailing 5-2 in the second set, Lemke was in position to complete the Pepperdine sweep after taking the first set 6-2 and leading 5-3, 40-0 at the No. 3 position. But Penn State's Adam Slagter fought off three match points and tied the set at 5-5 giving James a chance to overt the sweep as he held on to defeat Begemann 6-3 in the second set.


"I felt we were a little nervous today," noted Steinberg. "We have not played in a couple of weeks and it showed. We didn't seem sure of ourselves after we got the lead and we relaxed a bit. [ Penn State ] fought great. They are a well coached team and they were fighting and fighting and fighting and I felt like we got nervous when it got tight at times. Then we let them back. It was a lot closer than the score, without a doubt."


Lemke would go on to win the next two sets of his match, giving Pepperdine the victory and a 3 p.m. (PDT) first serve against the winner of the USC-UC Santa Barbara match that was being played following Pepperdine's match.


(1) Omar Altmann-Richard Johnson (PEP) def. Michael James-Ryan Berger (PSU) 8-1
(2) Andre Begemann-Mahmoud Kamel (PEP) def. James Dwyer-Adam Slagter (PSU) 8-6 
(3) Bassam Beidas-James Lemke (PEP) vs. Bradley Hunter-Brendan Lynch (PSU), DNF

(1) Andre Begemann (PEP) lost to Michael James (PSU) 7-5, 6-3
(2) Bassam Beidas (PEP) led Ryan Berger (PSU) DNF
(3) James Lemke (PEP) def. Adam Slagter (PSU) 6-2, 7-5
(4) Richard Johnson (PEP) led Brendan Lynch (PSU) DNF
(5) Omar Altmann (PEP) def. Ryan Gormley (PSU), 6-4, 6-2
(6) Mahmoud Kamel (PEP) def. Bradley Hunter (PSU), 6-1, 6-1