Valparaiso opened its 2007 Mid-Continent Conference season on Friday morning, and nearly pulled off the victory before falling 4-3 to Oral Roberts in the first league cluster held in Indianapolis, Ind.
The Crusaders got off to a good start, winning the doubles point in thrilling fashion. Mike Wagner (Ann Arbor, Mich./Pioneer H.S.) and David Bukowski (Mount Prospect, Ill.) defeated Patrick Guilliod and Clemons Geercken 8-6 at third doubles. Oral Roberts (4-7, 1-0 Mid-Con) picked up a victory at number one doubles as Frank Kaehler and Alexander Dargel topped Alex Lau (Bloominton, Minn./Jefferson Senior H.S.) and Mike Shideler (Valparaiso, Ind./Munster H.S.) 8-5. In the deciding second doubles match, Valpo needed a tie-breaker to secure the first point of the day. Nic Kooyers (Holland, Mich./Holland H.S.) and Joe Venegas (Saint Charles, Ill./North H.S.) downed Tyrone Hill and Cuan Farquharson 9-8 (5).
Valpo and Oral Roberts each won a pair of singles contests in straight sets, but the Golden Eagles won the other two contests in three sets to earn the victory. Lau picked up his team-leading 15th singles victory of the season with a 6-2, 7-6 (3) triumph over Farquharson at the fourth spot. Bukowski earned the Crusaders' other win at sixth singles, downing Geercken 6-1, 7-6 (5). Kaehler gave Oral Roberts a win at the second slot, downing Venegas 6-3, 7-5 while Hill beat Shideler 7-5, 7-5 at third singles.
Kooyers won the first set at the top of the lineup 6-3 against Dargel only to fall in three sets 3-6, 6-4, 6-1. Wagner suffered the same fate against Guilliod at fifth singles, dropping a 2-6, 6-4, 6-3 match.
Valparaiso (3-13, 0-1 Mid-Con) will look to rebound on Saturday with a pair of conference matches. The Crusaders face Western Illinois beginning at 8 a.m. CDT before battling host IUPUI at 1 p.m. CDT. Both matches will take place in Indianapolis.