As the Valparaiso University men’s tennis team takes to the courts this fall, head coach Jim Daugherty returns a majority of his roster from a season again. The Crusaders return five letterwinners from last year’s squad, and has added two players to the roster for the upcoming season, one of which is eligible to play this season while the other must sit out the year in accordance with NCAA transfer rules.
The lone senior on the squad for the Crusaders is Tom Litscher, who enters the fall having played number two singles all of last year. He will be relied upon to move up in the lineup in 2009-2010, to a spot where he was already playing in doubles a year ago. At the top doubles spot as a junior, he finished the campaign just one match below .500.
Junior Kyle Stump returns for year three after a successful sophomore season. He finished second on the team with 11 singles victories, including a 9-5 mark at the fifth spot in the order. Stump split time between second and third doubles, where he combined for nine wins.
Sophomore Adam Whitmer had a sensational freshmen year, winning a team-best 16 singles contests. He started the year playing in the sixth spot, but by year’s end had moved all the way up to number three singles, where he went 6-1. He may be called upon to move up even further in the lineup this year.
Fellow sophomore Kevin DeHerrera also played in the middle of the lineup as a rookie, posting 10 victories on the year between the third and fourth spots in the order. He also split time between second and third doubles, where he tied for the team lead overall with 10 doubles victories.
Redshirt-sophomore Carlton Lyons got his first taste of collegiate tennis a year ago, appearing in just two matches. He will be called upon more heavily this year though, as he tries to make an impact in the Valpo lineup.
Siddarth Mehta is a redshirt sophomore who will be able to begin competing right away for the Crusaders. He played at South Bend Clay High School during his prep career, where he was a teammate of Lyons. Senior Jose Gaspar arrives at Valpo as a transfer from the University of New Orleans. Per NCAA rules, he must sit out the 2009-2010 season, but will have one remaining year of eligibility for 2010-2011. He is able to practice with the team this year though.
The fall season will open September 18-20 as the Crusaders head to the Bradley Invitational for the first of four tournaments. A home dual match against Saint Joseph’s (Ind.) on September 23 will be the lone time the Brown and Gold will play at the Valpo Tennis Complex this fall, other than the annual alumni exhibition tournament on October 10. The Crusaders will also head to tournaments at Ball State and Dayton before ending the fall slate at the ITA Regional Championships October 14-19. With an experienced roster returning, the fall will be a great opportunity for the players to work on moving up in the lineup for the spring championship campaign which will kickoff in January.