Indian Wells, Calif.-In a back-and-forth affair that lasted four and a half hours, No. 3 seed Pacific outlasted No. 2 seed Cal Poly 4-3 in the semifinals of the Big West Men's Tennis Championship.
The Tigers trailed 3-2 in the match, but rebounded to win at No. 3 and No. 4 singles to nip Cal Poly at the end. Pacific (16-8) returns to the championship match for the second time in the last three years and seeks its first title since 2004. Coincidentally, the Tigers defeated UC Santa Barbara that year, the same school that Pacific will face in Sunday's championship.
Daniel Alameh won the clincher at No. 4 over a game Derek Klein, who battled through cramps in a 3-6, 7-5, 6-3 marathon. Alameh trailed in the second set before mounting a comeback and forcing the decisive third set.
The Tigers tied the match at 3-3 with another comeback win from Denis Stolyarov at No. 3. He lost the first set 6-2 to Jordan Bridge, but stormed back to take the second 6-1 and won a third set tiebreaker 7-6 (2).
Pacific took the early 1-0 lead with the doubles point, notching wins at the No. 2 and No. 3 spots.
The Mustangs responded with a quick 6-1, 6-2 win at No. 2 singles by Marco Comuzzo against Alex Golding. Pacific collected a 6-2, 6-1 win by Alex Hamilton at No. 6 as he downed Matt Thomson, but Cal Poly evened the scoreline again when No. 1 player Andre Dome battled to a 6-3, 6-3 win against Sem Verbeek.
Cal Poly's Naveen Beasley gave his side the 3-2 edge when he downed Ben Mirkin at No. 5, setting the stage for the Tiger comeback.
The Mustangs fell to 14-9 with the loss.
BIG WEST TENNIS CHAMPIONSHIPS
INDIAN WELLS TENNIS GARDEN
(3) PACIFIC 4, (2) CAL POLY 3
1. Dome/Bridge (CP) def. Verbeek/Stolyarov (PAC) - 8-5
2. Golding/Hamilton (PAC) def. Comuzzo/Thomson (CP) - 9-7
3. Alameh/Mirkin (PAC) def. Gannon Daynes/Beasley (CP) - 8-5
Order of finish: 1, 2, 3
1. Andre Dome (CP) def. Sem Verbeek (PAC) - 6-3, 6-3
2. Marco Comuzzo (CP) def. Alex Golding (PAC) - 6-1, 6-2
3. Denis Stolyarov (PAC) def. Jordan Bridge (CP) - 2-6, 6-1, 7-6 (2)
4. Daniel Alameh (PAC) def. Derek Klein (CP) - 3-6, 7-5, 6-3
5. Naveen Beasley (CP) def. Ben Mirkin (PAC) - 6-2, 6-3
6. Alex Hamilton (PAC) def. Matt Thomson (CP) - 6-2, 6-1
Order of finish: 2, 6, 1, 5, 3, 4