After falling to its alumni in two straight seasons, the Valparaiso University men's tennis team defeated its alumni counterparts 10-5 in their annual exhibition match held Saturday on Brown Courts as part of Homecoming Weekend.
The current team took a 3-2 lead after doubles play. Joe Venegas (Saint Charles, Ill./North H.S.) and Mike Wagner (Ann Arbor, Mich./Pioneer H.S.) teamed for a 9-7 win over Chris Hill ( Class of 2002) and Jeff Vrabel (2004). Dan Brunette (Carmel, Ind./Lutheran H.S. of Indianapolis) and Evan Roller (Canton, Mich./Plymouth Salem H.S.) were 8-5 victors over Cliff Barnett (1999) and Steve Kretchmar (1999). The current team's final win in doubles action came as head coach Jim Daugherty teamed with assistant Tim Shideler to post an 8-3 win over former players Jonathan Huffman (2001) and Jay Adams (2004).
The alumni got a pair of big wins in doubles to keep the match close. Nate Buckert (2002) and Nick Vuko (2002) won a tie-breaker 8-6 to down Ben Dunham-Freer (Fort Thomas, Ky./Highlands H.S.) and Nic Kooyers (Holland, Mich./Holland H.S.) 9-8. Marc VeVerka (1998) and Jon Coles (1999) also registered an 8-5 triumph over Mike Shideler (Valparaiso, Ind./Munster H.S.) and Blain Keller (Muncie, Ind./Delta H.S.).
Doubles play began to take its toll out of the alumni though, as the former players were able to win just three of the ten singles matches. Coles was an 8-4 winner over Wagner, while Barnett posted an 8-3 win over Roller. Vrabel needed a tie-breaker to down Keller 9-8 (5).
The current team registered wins the rest of the way. Dunham-Freer defeated Buckert 8-2 while Kooyers was a winner by the same score against VeVerka. Venegas downed Vuko 8-1 and Mike Shideler was a 9-8 (1) winner against Hills. Brunette notched an 8-6 win over Adams, while Tim Shideler topped Huffman 9-8. Daugherty beat one of his former players, Kretchmar, 8-6.
Valpo will conclude the fall portion of its schedule October 21-24 as the Crusaders compete at the ITA Omni Regional Championships held in Ann Arbor, Mich.