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Pepperdine Upsets Top Seeded University of Georgia to Win Division I NCAA Men's Tennis Championship

May 24, 2006 01:42 PM

Pepperdine upset Georgia 4-2 Tuesday night to win its first NCAA men's tennis championship at the Taube Tennis Center in Palo Alto, CA.

"Pepperdine put forth a championship effort," said Georgia head coach Manuel Diaz. "They beat us by one match today. But I am still very, very proud of our guys. They too are true champions. This doesn't take anything away from what we were able to complish this year. I want to congratulate Adam Steinberg (Pepperdine's head coach) and the rest of his team on a very good win."

Second-seeded Pepperdine's (36-2) Andre Begemann beat Matic Omerzel 2-6, 7-6, 6-4 at No. 4 singles to clinch the victory. Top-seeded Georgia fell short in its bid for an unbeaten season, finishing 30-1. The Bulldogs were trying for their fifth NCAA crown. Pepperdine was playing in its third final and first since 1986.

Pepperdine's 36 victories are most ever for an NCAA champion since the team championship format was established in 1977. This is first title tennis title by a West Coast Conference school (the University of San Francisco won the 1949 title, however the WCC wasn't actually established until 1952). California schools have now won 50 of the 61 men's tennis championships.

"To come here and finally win it for a small school like ours means the world to me and our guys," Pepperdine coach Adam Steinberg said.

Pepperdine won the doubles point and got wins in singles from Begemann, Ivor Lovrak and Omar Altmann. John Isner and Colin Purcell notched wins for Georgia. Lovrak, a senior, was named Most Outstanding Performer of the tournament. Lovrak, who also played on Baylor's 2004 NCAA championship team, went 4-0 for the Waves at No. 3 singles over the past four days.

Pepperdine's Pedro Rico (No. 2 singles), Begemann (No. 4 singles), Altmann and all three of its doubles teams were also named to the NCAA All-Tournament Team.

"We didn't play a bad match, our guys fought their hearts out," said Diaz. "All the credit goes to Pepperdine. We just came up a little short and have no regrets."

Pepperdine out-scored six opponents 24-4 en route to the championships. It was able avenge both regular season losses the last two nights, beating Texas in the semifinals and Georgia in the final. UGA beat Pepperdine 4-0 back on Feb. 20 in the final of the USTA-ITA National Team Indoor Championships in Seattle.

"When we met in August our goal was to win it all and that's what we practiced for all year," Lovrak said.

Georgia had played its last three matches without starter Strahinja Bobusic (No. 6 singles/No. 3 doubles). He tore tendons in his wrist in Georgia round of 16 match against Notre Dame.

NCAA Men's Tennis Championships
(Fila rankings to the right of player/doubles team name)
Doubles
1. Andre Begemann and Scott Doerner-47 (P) def. John Isner and Antonio Ruiz-9 (G), 9-7
2. Ivor Lovrak and Pedro Rico (P) vs. Luis Flores and Matic Omerzel-50 (G), 8-5
3. Ricardo Gonzalez and Colin Purcell-20 (G) led Omar Altmann and Richard Johnson (P), 8-7 - DNF
Order of finish: 2, 1
1. John Isner-2 (G) def. Scott Doerner-8 (P), 7-6, 6-4
2. Luis Flores-19 (G) led Pedro Rico-31 (P), 6-4, 4-6, 3-2 - DNF
3. Ivor Lovrak-92 (P) def. Antonio Ruiz (G), 1-6, 6-1, 6-4
4. Andre Begemann (P) def. Matic Omerzel-64 (G), 2-6, 7-6, 6-4
5. Colin Purcell (G) def. Richard Johnson (P), 7-5, 7-6
6. Omar Altmann (P) def. Ricardo Gonzalez (G), 7-5, 6-1
Order of finish: 6, 3, 1, 5, 4

NCAA All-Tournament Team
Singles
No. 1 - John Isner, Georgia
No. 2 - Pedro Rico, Pepperdine
No. 3 - Ivor Lovrak, Pepperdine
No. 4 - Andre Begemann, Pepperdine
No. 5 - Miguel Reyes Varela, Texas
No. 6 - Omar Altmann, Pepperdine
Doubles
No. 1 - Andre Begemann and Scott Doerner, Pepperdine
No. 2 - Ivor Lovrak and Pedro Rico, Pepperdine
No. 3 - Omar Altmann and Richard Johnson, Pepperdine
Most Outstanding Performer - Ivor Lovrak, Pepperdine

 

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