Valparaiso's men's tennis team overcame a 3-1 deficit to tie the match at three only to drop a heartbreaking 4-3 decision to Western Illinois on Sunday afternoon in Shreveport, La.
Western Illinois won the doubles point to begin the match, taking third doubles 8-6. Valpo answered as Ben Dunham-Freer (Fort Thomas, Ky./Highlands H.S.) and Jeff Vrabel (St. Francis Cabrini H.S.) notched a 9-8 win at first doubles. Western won the decisive second doubles though by the same 9-8 score, winning the tie-break 7-5.
In singles play, Western Illinois won fifth singles in straight sets to build a 2-0 lead. Vrabel capped off a perfect weekend with a 6-1, 3-6, 6-1 triumph at fourth singles to pull Valpo within one. The Leathernecks took sixth singles in straight sets as well to build a 3-1 lead.
Nic Kooyers (Holland, Mich./Holland H.S.) began Valpo's comeback with a 7-6 (6), 6-2 win at second singles, and Dunham-Freer tied the contest rallying from a set down for a 3-6, 7-5, 6-0 win at the top spot. The final and decisive match at third singles between the Crusaders' Joe Venegas (St. Charles, Ill./St. Charles North H.S.) and Western's Sisay Selassrie also went three sets before the Leathernecks prevailed in the tight contest 6-4, 5-7, 7-5.
Valpo (3-12, 1-2 Mid-Con) will return home Tuesday evening to host IPFW in a 3 p.m. contest. Western Illinois improves to 6-3, 2-0 with the win.