Crusaders Open Mid-Con Action with Split
Friday, April 15, 2005
Valparaiso opened Mid-Continent Conference action on Friday afternoon splitting a pair of matches at the cluster in Kansas City, Mo. The Crusaders dropped their morning match to Oral Roberts 4-1 before defeating Western Illinois 4-3 in the afternoon.

In the morning match, the Golden Eagles opened by taking the doubles point. Oral Roberts (6-12, 1-0 Mid-Con) won 8-3 at the top spot and 9-8 at third doubles. Valpo's Nic Kooyers (Holland, Mich./Holland H.S.) and Shabbi Khan (Karachi, Pakistan/Oasys H.S.) led 6-5 at second doubles when the match was stopped.

Singles action saw the Golden Eagles post wins at one, four, and five to clinch the match. Valpo's Joe Venegas (Saint Charles, Ill./North H.S.) notched a 6-1, 6-1 win for the Crusaders' lone point of the day at third singles. Ben Dunham-Freer (Fort Thomas, Ky./Highlands H.S.) led 7-5, 3-0 at second singles when his match was stopped and Mike Wagner (Ann Arbor, Mich./Pioneer H.S.) had split sets 2-6, 6-3 when his contest was halted at the sixth spot.

Valpo then pulled out a thrilling one-point victory against Western Illinois in the afternoon after the Leathernecks had had the morning off. Western Illinois (7-7, 0-1) took the doubles point, winning at two and three. Dunham-Freer and Mike Shideler (Valparaiso, Ind./Munster H.S.) posted Valpo's only doubles win, 8-3, at the top spot.

The Crusaders took control in singles though, winning four matches. Kooyers posted a 6-1, 6-3 triumph at the top spot while Dunham-Freer cruised 6-1, 6-1 at number two. Venegas gave the Crusaders a win at third singles 6-4, 6-4 and Wagner earned a 6-2, 6-2 win at the sixth spot as the Brown and Gold earned the victory.

Valparaiso (4-12, 1-1) will return to the courts in Kansas City on Saturday afternoon for a 1 p.m. match against Chicago State.