Freshmen Jeffrey Schorsch (Perrysburg, Ohio/Perrysburg), Dave Bacalla (Skokie, Ill/Niles North), and Kyle Dunn (Fon du Lac, Wis./Fon du Lac) wasted no time making a name for themselves in their first collegiate tennis matches. The triumvirate each won their opening round match in straight sets Friday at the River Forest Collegiate Invitational in River Forest, Illinois.
Schorsch downed Youngstown State's Sebastian Hagn 6-2, 6-4 before beating Butler's Austin Woldmoe 6-3, 3-6, 10-8 in a wild third-set tiebreaker. Schorsch will face Belmont's Marko Lovrinovic on Saturday for the Championship in the #2 singles flight.
Bacalla made quick work of Belmont's Martijn Verberne 6-4, 6-0 in their morning match. Bacalla followed that victory with a well-earned win over Butler's Brandon Woods. In a contrast of the opening match, Bacalla and Woods went back and forth with the Valpo freshman rallying back to win the second set 7-5 after dropping the first set 6-4. Bacalla prevailed 10-6 in the third set tiebreaker to arrange a date with Northern Illinois' Matt Lynch in the Championship match in the #5 singles section.
Dunn defeated UIC's Eric Pontow 6-3, 6-4 for his first collegiate victory. NIU's Carlos Mansanas awaited Dunn in the semifinals of the #6 singles flight. Dunn remained patient as he scrapped out a 6-3, 7-5 straight set victory. The freshman will take on Butler's Tommy Marx on Saturday in the Championship round.
Meanwhile, Valpo's No. 1 singles player Michael Baiocchi (Naperville, Ill./Neuqua Valley) dropped his first two matches of the 2013-14 season Friday. Baiocchi fell 6-4, 6-1 to Butler's Pulok Bhattacharya in the opening round before losing to Ji Hoon Heo of Morehead State 6-2, 7-6 (7-5).
Senior Eric Honert (Arvada, Colo./Ralston Valley) was beaten by UIC's Isaac Lloveras in a tight match 6-2, 4-6, 10-8 at No. 3 singles. In the No. 4 singles flight, sophomore Michael Savaglio (Kenosha, Wis./Mary D. Bradford) downed Nishaad Balachandran of Saint Louis University 6-3, 6-4 in their opening match before dropping the semifinal tilt 6-4, 6-3 to Butler's Sam O'Neill.
In doubles play, Valpo's No. 1 team of Dave Bacalla and Charlie Emhardt (Carmel, Ind./Carmel) couldn't get past Belmont's duo of Mauricio Antun and Marko Lovrinovic. The Bruin pair took the match 8-5.
However, the other two Crusader teams did advance in their respective rounds.
Honert and Schorsch beat Morehead State's Gabriel Ruiz and Giovanni Samaha 8-4. Honert and Schorsch will see NIU's No. 2 team of Fred Cadieux and Simon Formont on Saturday.
The No. 3 team comprised of sophomores Lucas Waak (Manitowoc, Wis./Roncalli) and Danny Oakes (Elburn, Ill/Saint Charles North) had no trouble with Youngstown State's Max Schmerin and Victor Theorin, dispatching them 8-1. NIU's Jake Lynch and Jovan Zeljovic await the Valpo pair in tomorrow's semifinals.
An exhibition singles draw at No. 7 was held as well. Waak beat out fellow teammate Brian Hickey (Western Springs, Ill./Fenwick) 8-4 in the semifinals after both were victorious in their first matches. Waak will challenge Butler's Alex Woldmoe in the final of that bracket. Emhardt moved into the consolation final after dropping his opening round match.