The Wildcats' victory served as their 14th overall south central regional championship and raised their season mark to 20-8, while the Bearcats saw their season end at 19-5.
ACU's next match won't take place until May 16 in Louisville, Ky., where the Wildcats will face 36th-ranked Northern Kentucky in the Round of 16 at Tom Sawyer State Park. Head Coach Hutton Jones is looking forward to the break from competition.
"In years past we had to jump on a bus 24 or 48 hours after winning regionals, but now with the festival in place we'll have a chance to catch our breath and rest," he said. "It's great for us to get to this point, and we'll enjoy the anticipation of reaching nationals."
Although the final score would suggest otherwise, today's victory did not come easily for the Wildcats. All three doubles matches were an absolute battle from start to finish, but the Wildcats were able to pull away late in each contest and enter singles with a comfortable 3-0 lead.
The sixth-ranked DII doubles team of Hans Hach and Nick Plum gave the Wildcats their first point with an 8-4 win over the 25th-ranked duo Mario Jakovljevic and Jose Ortega, and just minutes following their celebration, ACU went up 2-0 when Alfredo Desiait and Borja Cortes sealed an 8-5 win over Rafael Bugiga and Guilherme Narducci.
The Wildcats' third-line team of Michael Morris and Guilherme Gesser also kept improving as the match wore on, and beat the team of Calvin Patterson and Luis Altimires, 9-7.
The victory for Hach and Plum was their 13th straight to start the spring, and they used the momentum from doubles to make fairly quick work of their singles opponents.
Hach - the No. 6 player in DII - put ACU ahead 4-0 with a 6-3, 6-2 victory over Calvin Patterson. Plum then followed with a 6-4, 6-1 decision vs. Rafael Bugiga at the No.3 position to clinch the match. The four remaining singles matches were left unfinished.
Hach's win was his fourth straight, improved his season record to 22-4, and lifted his mark against regionally ranked opponents to 7-1. Plum, meanwhile, is 19-6 on the year and 9-3 at the No. 3 position.
"I thought we were impressive today in our win against solid team from Northwest Missouri," Jones said. "But when you combine the tough matches we've played with quality athletes looking to become better competitors, we're a tough team to beat. All our players have that mindset of just going out and getting it done, and today it was fun to see their efforts rewarded."
ACU defeated Northern Kentucky, 6-3, earlier this spring during a neutral-site dual in Richmond, Ky.
#16 Abilene Christian 5, Northwest Missouri State 0
May 1, 2012 at Abilene, TX (Eager Tennis Pavilion)
1. #6 Hans Hach (ACUM) def. Calvin Patterson (NWMS) 6-3, 6-2
2. Borja Cortes (ACUM) vs. Mario Jakovljevic (NWMS) 5-7, 0-1, unfinished
3. Nick Plum (ACUM) def. Rafael Bugiga (NWMS) 6-4, 6-1
4. Alfredo Desiati (ACUM) vs. Guilherme Narducci (NWMS) 7-5, unfinished
5. Guilherme Gesser (ACUM) vs. Luis Altimires (NWMS) 7-6, unfinished
6. Michael Morris (ACUM) vs. Jason Harris (NWMS) 3-6, unfinished
1. #6 Hans Hach/Nick Plum (ACUM) def. #25 Mario Jakovljevic/Jose Ortega (NWMS) 8-4
2. Alfredo Desiati/Borja Cortes (ACUM) def. Rafael Bugiga/Guilherme Narducci (NWMS) 8-5
3. Michael Morris/Guilherme Gesser (ACUM) def. Calvin Patterson/Luis Altimires (NWMS) 9-7
Northwest Missouri State 19-5; Regional ranking #6
Abilene Christian 20-8; National ranking #16; Regional ranking #1
Order of finish: Doubles (1,2,3); Singles (1,3)