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NCAA Division II Men's Tennis : Charlesworth Proves Worth in This Chapman Championship


Paul Charlesworth, who was sidelined with a shoulder injury when the Chapman College men's tennis team defeated Hampton for the NCAA Division II title in 1985, earned a piece of the national title in a rematch Wednesday, defeating Hampton's Datus Murray in three sets to clinch a 5-1 victory at Cal State Northridge.

It was the second consecutive day that all three doubles matches were canceled because of Chapman's insurmountable lead.

"I knew we were up 4-1 and that we had good doubles teams, but the pressure was still on me," Charlesworth said. "I thought it would be 3-3 after the singles. I think in 1985 they had a better team."

In the past week, Chapman (22-11) had produced efforts that made even the nation's top teams appear inept. The Panthers had lost only one singles match since the quarterfinals. But Chapman Coach Mike Edles said he expected second-ranked Hampton (28-4) to challenge the Panthers.

"What little I had seen of them in the quarterfinals and the semifinals, I was very impressed," Edles said. "I did fully expect to have to play the doubles today."

Hampton Coach Robert Martin Screen had stressed the importance of splitting the first and second singles matches. Edles believed the Panthers would have to win the fourth, fifth and sixth singles matches to win their second national title in his five years at Chapman.

Miles Walker, Chapman's No. 1 singles player, opened with a 6-2, 6-2 victory over Hampton's Rozzell Lightfoot. Chapman's Paul Wekesa took three sets to defeat Greg Williams, 6-1, 4-6, 6-3 in No. 2 singles.

"In the first three games I couldn't miss a ball," said Walker, who is seeded third entering today's individual championships. "I think the reason we have been so successful is because we've never gone in expecting to win it all like we have."

Screen was disappointed in his teams' performance.

"I thought we would win the second, third and fifth singles," Screen said. "We had five matches that went three games."

Olivier Amerlinck, Chapman's No. 3 player, defeated Islam Ul-Haq, 3-6, 6-1, 6-4. Allen Juinio, Chapman's No. 6 player, defeated Stephen Martin, 6-2, 6-7, 6-4.

Eduardo Afini, Hampton's No. 5 player, produced the team's only victory with a 7-5, 4-6, 7-5, decision over David Seline.

"I was shocked," Screen said. "They were excellent at 3, 4, 5 and 6. Their people at the bottom were determined to keep us out of it."

Include Charlesworth in that observation.

The junior from Auckland, New Zealand, won the first set and took a 3-2 lead in the second. He dropped the next two games after questioning several line calls and then refused to resume play until tournament officials agreed to replace the umpire.

Charlesworth and Murray, his opponent, exchanged verbal salvos for much of the 10-minute delay with Edles acting as referee, and at one point intervening to keep them physically separated.

"There is so much pressure put on these guys," Edles said. "The umpire was having a very bad day. Actually, I think Paul handled the situation very well."

Edles is hopeful that his six singles and three doubles teams that begin play in the individual competition today will progress with as much success. In doubles, Amerlinck and Walker are ranked fourth. Chapman's other doubles teams are Charlesworth and Seline and Barry Hancock and Wekesa.

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