The 6-1 score shows a lopsided victory, but the fact is the Crusaders had to compete to earn their fifth victory of the season Saturday afternoon against Aquinas College at the Courts of NWI.
Two of the three doubles matches were tight as Aaron Hendrick and Nik Artaev outlasted Eric Honert and Lucas Waak in the decisive match at No. 1 doubles 9-7. Chris Baum and Danny Oakes dropped their match at No. 2 doubles 8-6 after teammates Michael Savaglio and Michael Baiocchi made quick work of Frankie Fischer and Brendan Petz 8-3 at No. 3 doubles.
After conceding the doubles point, the Crusaders recharged and took all six singles matches, four of which went to three sets.
Baiocchi led the charge at No. 4 singles defeating Kyle Masteller in a fast 6-2, 6-1 match.
Savaglio also won in straight sets at No. 3 6-1, 7-6 (7-4).
Baum lost his first set at No. 2, but as was the story of the day, the fifth-year senior regrouped to take the match 4-6, 6-2, 6-2.
Needing just one more singles victory to claim the team win, Waak and Fischer - two freshmen - went the distance at No. 5. Waak persevered, taking the match 6-0, 6-7 (4-7), 6-2.
With the match in hand, Eric Honert rallied to beat Hendrick at No. 1 3-6, 6-4, 6-2.
Freshman Brian Hickey rounded out play with his own three-set win at No. 6 6-4, 4-6, 7-5.
The 6-1 defeat of the Saints propelled the Crusaders to 5-5. With the bulk of their demanding non-conference schedule in the rear-view mirror, Valpo will get two weeks off before heading to Kissimmee, Florida for five matches.
From March 9th-14th, Valparaiso will face Robert Morris, Monmouth, Wesleyan, Marian (Ind.), and Creighton in the Sunshine State over Spring Break before beginning Horizon League play.