Winning six of the nine total matches on the evening was more than enough to propel Valparaiso to a 5-2 victory over South Dakota State on Tuesday in Orlando, Fla. as the Crusaders won for the third time in their last five matches to pull within one of the .500 mark for the season.
The Crusaders got off to a positive start, winning the doubles point. Kevin DeHerrera (Littleton, Colo./Chatfield H.S.) and Adam Whitmer (Shipshewana, Ind./Westview H.S.) got Valpo going at the third spot, posting an 8-3 victory over Wade Kippley and Alex Lauseng, for the pair’s third straight win. Phidias Fortune (San Antonio, Texas/Madison H.S.) and Kyle Stump (Plymouth, Ind./Plymouth H.S.) secured the doubles point at number two with an 8-4 win over Justin Pyle and Evan Sims. The Jackrabbits did earn a win at the top spot though, as Michael Engdahl and Corey Paluch topped Alex Lau (Bloomington, Minn./Jefferson Senior H.S.) and Tom Litscher (Eau Claire, Wis./Memorial H.S.) 8-6.
Valpo won the first two completed singles matches as well to pull within a point of the victory. DeHerrera cruised to a 6-0, 6-1 win over Sims at the third spot while Whitmer posted a 6-3, 6-0 win at number six against Cody Malik to earn his third straight singles win. Both DeHerrera and Whitmer are tied for the team lead with six singles wins on the year.
South Dakota State (2-5) got on the scoreboards at fourth singles as Pyle topped Fortune 6-2, 6-2, but Stump clinched the match with a 6-3, 6-0 win over Lauseng at number five singles. Lau added another win for the Brown and Gold, 6-1, 6-3 against Engdahl at the top of the order. Paluch gave the Jackrabbits a final win at the second spot against Litscher 4-6, 6-4, 10-4.
“This was not our best match of the year, but any win is a good win,” head coach Jim Daugherty said afterwards. “I still think our best tennis is ahead of us. We are still making improvements as a team. Hopefully we are able to get back to the .500 mark tomorrow.”
Valparaiso (3-4) will look to move to .500 on Wednesday morning as the Crusaders wrap up their spring trip against Creighton in Orlando. First serve is set for 9 a.m. CDT.