Freshman Dave Bacalla (Skokie, Ill./Niles North) made a convincing statement via a 6-1, 6-1 win over Wright State's No. 1 Haydin Joblin Friday at the Purdue Invitational. Last March, Joblin downed Eric Honert (Arvada, Colo./Ralston Valley) in straight sets en route to a 7-0 Wright State shutout. Valpo appears poised to wreak some havoc once the Horizon League schedule rolls around. Bacalla is now 4-0 on the young season, the last remaining Crusader singles starter to keep a perfect record. Bacalla has another date with a Horizon League opponent in tomorrow's second round match. He'll play Green Bay's Howard Scott.
Fellow freshmen Jeffrey Schorsch (Perrysburg, Ohio/Perrysburg) and Charlie Emhardt (Carmel, Ind./Carmel) also defeated their first round foes in straight set fashion. Schorsch defeated University of Chicago's Deepak Sabada 6-4, 6-1 before Emhardt handed a 6-2, 6-2 loss to Niel Karandikar, also of University of Chicago.
Honert inched closer to becoming Valpo's all-time winningest singles player with a 6-4, 6-3 win over Wright State's Michael Lyzwa. Honert will get a chance to tie Nate Buckert's record of 57 career singles victories tomorrow against Xavier University's Michael Moe.
Sophomore Michael Savaglio (Kenosha, Wis./Mary D. Bradford) dispatched Washington University-St. Louis's Josh Cogan 6-3, 6-3. Savaglio advances to face IUPUI's Jacob Hedderig in the winner's bracket tomorrow.
Sophomore Lucas Waak (Manitowoc, Wis./Roncalli) was a 6-2, 6-3 winner over Case Western Reserve's Santiago Guerra.
Freshman Kyle Dunn (Fon du Lac, Wis./Fon du Lac) dropped his first match of the season 6-1, 6-3 to Purdue's Mateus Silva. Michael Baiocchi (Naperville, Ill./Neuqua Valley), Brian Hickey (Western Springs, Ill./Fenwick), and Danny Oakes (Elburn, Ill./Saint Charles North) also suffered first-round losses.
While a 6-4 record in singles matches with such a young roster represents positive reinforcement head coach Jim Daugherty, the Crusaders struggled in the doubles half of the Purdue Invitational. Out of the five opening round doubles matches played, Valpo was unable to secure a win in any one.
The duo of Oakes and Waak fell in a tight 9-8 match versus Iowa's tandem of Chase Tomlins and Nils Hallestrand.
Schorsch and Honert led 5-2 in their doubles tilt before Western Michigan's Andrew Cahn and Marc Shideler rallied for six straight games in their 8-5 victory.
Play continues tomorrow during Day 2 of the Purdue Invitational at the Schwartz Tennis Center in West Lafayette, Indiana.