Despite having to endure a two-hour rain delay before starting the match, the sun came out and shone brightly on Valparaiso Friday afternoon at the Valparaiso University Tennis Complex, as the Crusaders swept UMKC 7-0 as the Brown and Gold won their seventh match in their last eight outings.
With the win, the Crusaders remained perfect at home this season, improving to 5-0 at their new facility. Valpo also moved over .500 for the first time this season at 10-9, as well as moving into sole possession of second place in the Mid-Continent Conference with a 4-1 mark.
Valpo started strong in doubles and never let up. The third doubles duo of Mike Shideler (Valparaiso, Ind./Munster H.S.) and Alex Lau (Bloomington, Minn./Jefferson Senior H.S.) downed Darren Chiao and Roberto Quintanilla 8-2 to get started. UMKC's (6-6, 3-2 Mid-Con) brother combination of Jon and Justin Ghani topped Mike Wagner (Ann Arbor, Mich./Pioneer H.S.) and Dave Bukowski (Mount Prospect, Ill./Prospect H.S.) 8-4 to even doubles. The Crusaders claimed the point just moments later, though, as Nic Kooyers (Holland, Mich./Holland H.S.) and Joe Venegas (Saint Charles, Ill./North H.S.) defeated Richard Harrison and Joe Kane 8-4 at the top of the order.
After moving to singles, the Brown and Gold made sure they clinched the match quickly. Shideler posted a 6-3, 6-2 win over Justin Ghani at the fourth spot while Venegas defeated Grant Gelina 6-2, 6-1 at second singles. Kooyers, who has now won eight straight matches overall, including five straight in Mid-Con play at first singles, clinched the match with a straight sets 6-4, 6-2 win over Harrison. Kooyers has now won 12 of his last 13 contests overall, and has yet to drop a match outdoors.
Lau added point number five for Valpo with his three-set victory over Quintanilla with a 6-3, 3-6, 6-1 triumph. Lau also is a perfect 5-0 in Mid-Con action. Bukowski added the fourth straight sets win of the day for the Crusaders at fifth singles 7-6 (4), 6-4 to make it 6-0 Valpo. Wagner closed out the sweep with a thrilling three-set victory that went to a tie-break in the final set. In a match that lasted over two hours, the sophomore defeated Jon Ghani 6-3, 2-6, 7-6 (6).
Valpo will close out the regular season at home on Saturday afternoon as the Crusaders host IUPUI. First serve is set for 1 p.m. at the Valparaiso University Tennis Complex.