Waves Fall in Tennis Thriller, 4-3
Jan. 27, 2005
Los Angeles, Calif. - Pepperdine's men's tennis team suffered their first setback of the season falling to the USC Trojans by a 4-3 final Thursday at Marks Tennis Stadium. With the loss the No. 27 Waves fall to 1-1, while No. 8 USC remains undefeated at 3-0.
After winning the doubles point behind the teams of Pedro Rico / Scott Doerner and Jonas Berg / Ivor Lovrak, the Waves needed just a split of the six singles matches to take the match. Pepperdine could not take advantage of their early lead as the Trojans won four singles points.
The five hour contest came down to the number one match-up where Jamil Al-Agba defeated Pepperdine junior Pedro Rico, 5-7, 7-5, 7-6 (8-6). Rico's lead was tied in the second set and the even play would continue in the third. With all other matches completed and the team scores even at three, the match would be decided in one set under the lights.
Al-Agba took the early lead holding serve in the first game before Rico matched him in the second. Rico claimed an advantage in the set's seventh game when Al-Agba double faulted to give Rico the break. Troy answered in game eight and the two would then trade breaks until Al-Agba held serve to take the 5-6 lead. Rico responded with a hold of his own, but quickly found himself in a 4-1 hole in the tiebreaker. A Pepperdine rally brought the score to 6-6, before Al-Agba put the match away with the marathon's final two points.
Sophomore Richard Johnson recorded Pepperdine's easiest win beating Adam Loucks, 7-6, 6-4 to put the Waves up 2-1 at the time. Needing only two wins in the four remaining matches the Waves turned to their number two player, Doerner. The junior didn't disappoint as he put away USC's Johan Berg in three sets, 6-3, 3-6, 6-1.
Without being able to find another victory in the lineup Pepperdine left the rowdy stadium without the upset. Head coach Adam Steinberg says the match was in their grasp, they just couldn't hang on. "I thought we didn't handle the pressure well, especially serving and it ended up costing us the match."
The Waves will have little time to think about the loss as they are back in action with two home matches on Saturday. First up will be Cal Poly at 10:00 am, then the Waves will look to stay perfect in WCC play when they take on Santa Clara at 2:00 pm.