Valparaiso opened up Mid-Continent Conference action on Friday afternoon in Tulsa, Okla. with a thrilling 4-3 victory over Chicago State for the Crusaders' fourth straight victory and seventh win in their last nine outings.
With the match tied at three, Alex Lau (Bloomington, Minn./Jefferson Senior H.S.) posted a three-set 7-5, 4-6, 6-3 victory over Toni Todoric to clinch the win for the Crusaders.
Chicago State (2-11, 0-2 Mid-Con) jumped in front early winning the doubles point. Prabowo Imanuel and Jonathan Sutjaidi were 8-2 victors over Nic Kooyers (Holland, Mich./Holland H.S.) and Mike Shideler (Valparaiso, Ind./Munster H.S.) at the top of the order and Abram Mamahit and Dejan Avramovic clinched the win with their 8-4 triumph over Lau and Dan Brunette (Carmel, Ind./Lutheran H.S. of Indianapolis) at third doubles. The second doubles match was stopped because the point was decided with Valpo's Mike Wagner (Ann Arbor, Mich./Pioneer H.S.) and Dave Bukowski (Mount Prospect, Ill./Prospect H.S.) leading 8-7 against Prakoso Imanuel and Nicolas Ortega-Peric.
Valpo went to work right away at singles to take the lead. Shideler posted a 6-2, 6-1 victory over Mamahit at the fourth spot and Bukowski downed Ortega-Peric 6-2, 6-3 at fifth singles. Kooyers made it 3-1 Crusaders with his 6-1, 6-4 victory over Prabowo Imanuel at the top of the order. For the junior, the win marked his eighth win in his last nine matches.
The Cougars would not fold though, as Prakoso Imanuel topped Wagner 6-1, 7-5 at third singles and Sutjaidi rallied from a set down to best Joe Venegas (Saint Charles, Ill./North H.S.) 3-6, 6-4, 6-4 to tie the match at three, setting the stage for the deciding sixth singles contest.
Valparaiso (7-8, 1-0 Mid-Con) will look for its fifth straight win on Saturday afternoon as the Crusaders face Western Illinois. First serve in Tulsa is set for 2 p.m.