Phoenix, AZ - A good team effort and a singles win by Senior John-Douglas Owens in the final match of the day gave Hope International a 5-4 win over Arizona Christian on Saturday. Owens was actually one of two Royals to win two matches (Junior Thiago Brito was the other).
Starting with doubles, the Royals won the action on the first and third courts. All three doubles matches ended with scores of 8-2.
A 2-1 lead for the Royals did not last long once singles play began as the Firestorm won the first two matches finished to grab a 3-2 edge.
On court four, Brito squared off with Tyler Cawthorne and took the opening set 6-3. Cawthorne fought back in the second set but Brito had enough tricks up his sleeve to hold on to the 6-4 win. With the Brito win, the team match was knotted at 3-3.
Sophomore Mauricio Grosso cruised through the first set 6-1 against David Castano on court three. The second set was tighter but Grosso still prevailed 6-4 which gave HIU a 4-3 team edge.
On the second court, Senior Enzo Correa and Ian Glessing played their first set to a 6-6 tie to force a tie break. Glessing edged Enzo 9-7 in the tie break for the first set win. In the second set, Glessing rode the strength of the first set win for a 6-3 win.
With the team match tied at 4-4, the match winner came down to the winner of singles court one. Owens handled business in the first set winning 6-2. But Andrew Barnett responded to take the second set with a score of 6-4 to set up a winner take all third set. The two rallied back and forth to a score of 6-5 before Owens outlasted Barnett in the final game to pull out the 7-5 third set, singles match, and team match wins.
By beating Arizona Christian, the Royals and the Firestorm finished tied with a 1-9 record in GSAC play. With the conference championship next week and the two teams tied, a coaches' vote will be taken by Sunday afternoon to determine which team will be the fifth seed and then the sixth seed. The fifth seed will play fourth seed Biola and the sixth seed will face third seed Concordia with both matches slatted for a 12:00 pm start on Tuesday at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden in Indian Wells.