Valparaiso won the doubles point but dropped three tough three-set matches in singles play on Sunday morning, falling to Eastern Illinois 5-2 in Champaign, Ill. in a tightly contested match.
Valpo came out on fire in doubles play, sweeping the opening point of the match. Mike Shideler (Valparaiso, Ind./Munster H.S.) and Mike Wagner (Ann Arbor, Mich./Pioneer H.S.) posted an 8-3 victory over Robert Stedman and Chris Thomas, marking their second win in as many days. Dan Brunette (Carmel, Ind./Lutheran H.S. of Indianapolis) and Kyle Stump (Plymouth, Ind./Plymouth H.S.) secured the point with a 9-7 win over Benn Marier and Jeff Rutherford at third doubles while Alex Lau (Bloomington, Minn./Jefferson Senior H.S.) and Tom Litscher (Eau Claire, Wis./Memorial H.S.) completed the sweep with a 9-8 (2) win over Sean Bush and Jordan Nestrud at the second spot.
“I was really proud of the way we came out strong in doubles,” head coach Jim Daugherty said.
Brunette also earned a hard-fought 7-5, 2-6, 6-2 victory over Marier at fifth singles for Valpo on the day.
The Crusaders dropped three tight matches, though, but battled back after dropping opening sets. Rutherford defeated Shideler 6-2, 3-6, 6-4 at the top spot while Stedman defeated Lau 7-5, 3-6, 6-1 at number two singles. Vuk Milicevic defeated Litcher 6-1, 3-6, 6-2 at the fourth spot.
Eastern Illinois (2-3) also had a pair of singles wins in straight sets as Felipe Gama defeated Stump 6-3, 6-2 and Nestrud downed Wagner 6-3, 6-3 at sixth and third singles respectively.
“Efforts were good in singles,” Daugherty added. “We’re just not finishing points that should be won.”
Valparaiso (0-4) will return to the courts on Saturday afternoon as the Crusaders head to Kalamazoo, Mich. to battle Western Michigan. First serve is set for 4 p.m. CST.