May 22, 2006
Stanford, Calif. - For the first time in 20 years, the No. 2 Pepperdine men's tennis team punched its ticket to the NCAA Championship match after handing third-seeded Texas a 4-1 defeat on Monday afternoon at Stanford's Taube Tennis Center. The Waves (35-2) will face the winner of the Georgia-Baylor match on Tuesday, May 23 at 6:30 p.m.
Despite falling to Texas earlier in the season, the Waves came out strong and never let the Longhorns into the match. Winning its 30th overall doubles point, Pepperdine received wins on courts one and three to give the team the 1-0 lead. Omar Altmann and Richard Johnson picked up their third straight win at No. 3 in the tournament defeating Travis Helgeson and Luis Diaz Barriga Ibanez 8-5. The No. 3 Wave duo of Andre Begemann and Scott Doerner battled back to an 8-5 victory over No. 29 Callum Beale and Miguel Reyes Varela at court one. When play was abandoned, No. 47 Pedro Rico and Ivor Lovrak led Hubert Chodkiewicz and Roger Gubser 7-5 at court two.
Texas evened the score after Varela def. Johnson 6-2, 6-0 at No. 5. After being down 3-1 in the first set, Begemann fought back to defeat Milan Mihailovic 6-3, 6-4 at No. 4 to give the Waves a 2-1 lead. After 31st-ranked Rico beat No. 35 Gubser in a first-set tiebreaker at court two, the senior sealed the point with a 6-1 win in the second set, recording his 11th consecutive win. Minutes later, No. 92 Lovrak clinched the match as he defeated No. 47 Beale 6-3, 7-6, sending the Waves into the finals.
When play was abandoned, No. 8 Doerner led No. 9 Helgeson 2-6, 6-2, 2-1 and Texas' Michael Venus led Altmann 7-6, 3-6, 4-3.
"I'm kind of speechless; this was our goal all year to win it all, and then when you finally get here, I don't know if it has sunk in yet," said head coach Adam Steinberg. "We lost to Texas a month ago pretty badly down there, but to come back today and play so fearless; I'm so proud of the team."
Texas head coach Michael Center was impressed with the way Pepperdine played in such a critical match. "Pepperdine is a great team that played with a lot of energy. They came up with some shots in doubles that changed the momentum of the match. They played a fantastic match. They are a fantastic team."