Valparaiso University's men's tennis team opened its 2004 fall season over the weekend at the Ball State Fall Invitational and turned in some outstanding performances in Muncie, Ind.
The doubles team of Blain Keller (Muncie, Ind./Delta H.S.) and Nic Kooyers (Holland, Mich./Holland H.S.) advanced to the finals in the C Flight before falling 8-5 to a duo from Western Michigan. The pair had defeated Bradley 8-6, Ball State 8-3, and another team from Western Michigan 8-5 on the way to the finals.
Elsewhere in doubles play, Ben Dunham-Freer (Fort Thomas, Ky./Highlands H.S.) and Joe Venegas (Saint Charles, Ill./Saint Charles North H.S.) rebounded from a first round loss in the main draw of the A Flight to advance to the semifinals of the consolation draw. They posted a 9-8 (5) win over Xavier (Ohio) before falling to Butler.
In the B Flight, David Bukowski (Mount Prospect, Ill./Prospect H.S.) and Mike Shideler (Valparaiso, Ind./Munster H.S.) notched an 8-4 victory over Saint Louis in the opening round before falling in the quarterfinals to Illinois State.
Evan Roller (Canton, Mich./Plymouth Salem H.S.) and Mike Wagner (Ann Arbor, Mich./Ann Arbor Pioneer H.S.) suffered the same fate as Bukowski and Shideler in the D Flight, posting an 8-2 win over Cleveland State before falling to Xavier.
In singles play, Venegas turned out to be Valpo's top performer, advancing to the semifinals of the C Flight. The sophomore defeated Marquette 6-2, 6-2 before posting a pair of wins against opponents from Ball State. In the second round he was a 7-6 (8), 6-4 victor, while he needed to rally for a 4-6, 7-6 (4), 10-4 triumph in the quarterfinals. He eventually lost 6-1, 6-3 to an opponent from Indiana State who went on to win the flight.
Shideler, also playing the C Flight, dropped his first match but posted a 7-5, 6-1 victory over a gentleman from IPFW to advance to the quarterfinals of the consolation draw.
Valpo also had some success in the D Flight. Roller posted three set victories over Marquette and IUPUI to advance to the quarterfinals before falling to Butler. Keller also notched a pair of three set victories over opponents from Northern Illinois and Butler before losing in the quarterfinals. Dan Brunette (Carmel, Ind./Lutheran H.S. of Indianapolis) won his first round match against Xavier but fell to Western Michigan.
In the B Flight, Kooyers posted the same results as Brunette, downing IPFW 6-4, 6-1 before losing to Western Michigan.
Valparaiso will return to the courts this weekend for the Bradley Invitational. Play begins at 9 a.m. on both Friday and Saturday in Peoria, Ill.