May 11, 2008
MALIBU, Calif. -- In an amazing show of heart, strength and determination, Andre Begemann helped lead the Pepperdine men's tennis team to a 4-2 victory over Stanford University, Saturday afternoon, in round two of the NCAA Division I Tennis Tournament. Begemann had received a phone call from his father in Germany last night, with the news that his mother had just passed away after a long battle with cancer.
"I knew she was very sick on Friday and I wanted to go home," said Begemann. "I spoke with her Saturday morning and she asked that I stay and play in the tournament. My tennis career meant so much to her."
Begemann asked Coach Steinberg not to tell the team prior to the match. He wanted his teammates focused on beating Stanford. With only three hours of sleep, a subdued but focused Begemann struggled in doubles, and then came back with a vengeance in singles. It was fitting that his was the first singles match to finish and to tie the match with Stanford. After his victory, he sat on the bench with his head in his hands and a bright red towel wrapped around his neck while he struggled to keep his composure. His performance was nothing short of courageous and a tremendous tribute to a mother who meant the world to him.
"It was the most incredible match I've ever coached," said Coach Adam Steinberg. "Andre played with so much heart under the circumstances. I've never coached in a situation like that and I hope I never have to again."
In front of a crowd of over two hundred spectators, both teams gave it their all. Few among the crowd knew of the personal struggle on court one.
"This is a young man who honored his mother and played his best among the best in the country," said Pepperdine Athletic Director John Watson. "He played with so much love and emotion that it was overwhelming."
Watson commented on the team's comeback after losing the doubles point.
"The team did a tremendous job of making a comeback. They played with determination and the support of many Pepperdine and Malibu fans. One of the great traits that Coach Adam Steinberg brings is the concept of team in what many consider an individual sport."
Stanford won the doubles point as the Waves appeared sluggish and were down on every court early in the match. All three courts battled back, yet it was too late to catch an aggressive Cardinal team. Court No. 3 finished first with Richard Wire and Greg Hirshman defeating James Lemke (Melbourne, Australia) and Mahmoud Kamel (Paris, France) 8-4. The Waves No. 1 team of Andre Begemann (Blomberg, Germany) and Omar Altmann (Cairo, Egypt) came from behind to close in on Stanford's Blake Muller and Matt Bruch. However, the Cardinal duo eventually prevailed to clinch the double point for Stanford. On the No. 2 court Bassam Beidas (Cairo, Egypt) and Rikus de Villiers (South Africa) suspended play with Alex Clayton and Ted Kelly once the doubles point was established. They were tied 6-6.
The Waves went into the singles down by one point and a focused and determined team came out of the locker room and onto the courts. Winning the first match on the No. 1 court was No. 11 Begemann upsetting No. 7 Clayton (Stanford), 6-0, 6-3. Kamel finished second on court No. 5 with a 7-5, 6-0, win over Kao (Stanford), giving Pepperdine a 2-1 lead over Stanford.
The Cardinal fought back on the fourth court when Muller (Stanford) defeated Lemke, 4-6, 6-0, to tie the match 2-2. Minutes later, Beidas took care of business on the No. 2 court, defeating Bruch, 6-0, 6-4, putting the Waves back on top 3-2.
Courts 3 and 6 were on their third matches with Pepperdine needing one point to clinch, while Stanford had to win both matches to move on to Tulsa. Freshman de Villiers, stepped up to the challenge defeating Greg Hirshman (Stanford) on court 6, 7(4), 3-6, 6-2, by clinching the match and guaranteeing the Waves a trip to Tulsa, Oklahoma for the NCAA Division I Team Championships, May 16-20.
"I knew we needed to win one more match," said de Villiers. "It was a lot of pressure, but I was in a similar situation earlier in the season and I lost. It was good to know I could overcome the pressure and win for the team."
Tennis Match Results
Stanford University vs Pepperdine
May 11, 2008 at Pepperdine
Pepperdine 4, Stanford University 2
1. #11 Andre Begemann (PEP) def. #7 Alex Clayton (SU) 6-0, 6-3
2. #37 Bassam Beidas (PEP) def. #80 Matt Bruch (SU) 6-0, 6-4
3. Omar Altmann (PEP) vs. Richard Wire (SU) 6-7, 6-3, 1-2, unfinished
4. Blake Muller (SU) def. James Lemke (PEP) 6-4, 6-0
5. Mahmoud Kamel (PEP) def. Phil Kao (SU) 7-5, 6-0
6. Brian Brogan (PEP) def. Gregory Hirshman (SU) 7-6, 3-6, 6-2
1. Blake Muller/Matt Bruch (SU) def. #24 Andre Begemann/Omar Altmann (PEP) 8-4
2. Alex Clayton/Ted Kelly (SU) vs. Bassam Beidas/Johannes de Villiers (PEP) no result
3. Gregory Hirshman/Richard Wire (SU) def. Mahmoud Kamel/James Lemke (PEP) 8-5
Order of finish: Doubles (3,1); Singles (1,5,4,2)