URBANA, Ill. – The magic that sent Pepperdine past Georgia in the quarterfinals of the NCAA Tournament last season would not be relived this year, and the #2-ranked Bulldogs defeated the #12 Waves 4-2.
Pepperdine closes out the 2013 dual season with a 27-6 record.
Everything went in the Waves’ favor in doubles and Pepperdine handily won two matches to claim the point. Identical to last season’s quarterfinal meeting, UGA took a 3-1 lead in singles before Pepperdine put another point on the board. Unlike last season, the Bulldogs were able to grind out one more tight three-set win to advance to the next round.
“We played the best doubles of the year in the biggest moment of the year,” said head coach Adam Steinberg after the match. “I’m so proud of the guys and the way they fought. I know its cliché but credit goes to Georgia. Their program is legendary because (head coach) Manuel Diaz gets the most out of his guys and they did an incredible job at crunch time.”
To start the day, David Sofaer (Bellevue Hill, Australia/Sydney Distance Education HS) and Mousheg Hovhannisyan (North Hollywood, Calif./Continental HS) broke late to take a 6-4 lead and rolled with the momentum from there, defeating Eric Diaz and Marco Nunez 8-4.
At No. 2 doubles, Finn Tearney (Wellington, New Zealand/Wellington College) and Alex Sarkissian (Glendale, Calif./Glendale CC) broke early and never relinquished the lead. The duo snapped #15-ranked Nathan Pasha and Garrett Brasseaux’s five-match win streak and won an 8-3 decision.
The duo concludes the season with a perfect 10-0 record together.
Sebastian Fanselow (Essen, Germany/Kaplan College Prep) and Francis Alcantara (Cagayan de Oro, Philippines/Fresno State) were up a break on #5 Ben Wagland and Hernus Pieters when action was suspended.
The teams battle neck-in-neck in singles, and each squad emerged with the “W” in the first set in three of the six matches.
Austin Smith put UGA on the board with solid win at No. 3 versus Tearney.
Although Sarkissian won his first set vs. Pasha 6-2, the Georgia player fired back to win 7-5, 6-2 in sets two and three. Sofaer suffered a similar fate at No. 6 and the Bulldogs took a 3-1 lead.
With their backs against the wall, the Waves continued to fight diligently. Similar to the 2012 quarterfinals, Pepperdine won the doubles point, fell behind 3-1 in singles but ultimately won 4-3.
Alcantara sparked the beginning of the Waves’ comeback, and grinded out a 4-6, 7-5, 6-3 triumph at No. 4 to put the score at 3-2.
Brasseaux put a stop to the momentum shift, however, and edged Hovhannisyan 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 to clinch the dual for the Bulldogs.
Fanselow was on serve in the third set vs. Wagland when the match was decided.
Despite the loss, Pepperdine had a phenomenal season, winning its 40th West Coast Conference title and reaching the NCAA Tournament quarterfinals for the second-straight year.
The championships continue for Fanselow, Sarkissian, Tearney and Alcantara next week in the singles and doubles tournament. Action begins on Wednesday, May 22 and runs through Monday, May 27. Fanselow is seeded in the singles bracket, while Sarkissian will likely make the 64-person draw as the first player off the alternate list. Tearney and Alcantara, ranked a WCC-best #43, will compete in the doubles draw.
Georgia vs Pepperdine
May 18, 2013 at Urbana, Ill.
(Khan Outdoor Tennis Complex)
#2 Georgia 4, #12 Pepperdine 2
1. #11>Sebastian Fanselow (PEP) vs. #33 Ben Wagland (UGA) 7-5, 6-7 (0-7), 4-3, unfinished
2. #47 Nathan Pasha (UGA) def. #62>Alex Sarkissian (PEP) 2-6, 7-5, 6-2
3. Austin Smith (UGA) def. #107>Finn Tearney (PEP) 6-2, 6-0
4. #102>Francis Alcantara (PEP) def. #115 Hernus Pieters (UGA) 4-6, 7-5, 6-3
5. Garrett Brasseaux (UGA) def.>Mousheg Hovhannisyan (PEP) 6-4, 4-6, 6-4
6. Marco Nunez (UGA) def. David Sofaer (PEP) 1-6, 6-3, 7-6 (7-4)
1. Francis Alcantara/Sebastian Fanselow (PEP) vs. #5 Hernus Pieters/Ben Wagland (UGA) 5-4, unfinished
2. Alex Sarkissian/Finn Tearney (PEP) def. #15 Nathan Pasha/Garrett Brasseaux (UGA) 8-3
3. David Sofaer/Mousheg Hovhannisyan (PEP) def. Eric Diaz/Marco Nunez (UGA) 8-4
Georgia 26-4; National ranking #2
Pepperdine 27-6; National ranking #12
Order of finish: Doubles (3,2); Singles (3,2,6,4,5)