The Valparaiso University men’s tennis team has released the 2017-18 schedule as the Crusaders get set to begin their quest for a third consecutive trip to the NCAA Tournament.
Valpo will host a pair of special events during the month of September, beginning with the Father-Son Doubles Tournament on Sept. 9 followed by the Alumni Tournament on Sept. 30. The Crusaders will also face outside competition during the month, partaking in the River Forest Invitational (Sept. 15-17) and the Western Michigan Invitational (Sept. 23-24).
The River Forest event will feature Marquette, Northern Illinois, UIC, Saint Louis, Youngstown State, Detroit Mercy and Eastern Illinois, while the Western Michigan field includes the host Broncs, the University of Chicago, Butler, Illinois State, Xavier and Iowa.
The ITA Men’s All-American Championships will once again be held in Tulsa, Okla. That event begins on Sept. 30 and runs through Oct. 4. Valpo will host its annual Fall Invitational on Oct. 7-8, before the ITA Regionals take place at the University of Michigan from Oct. 19-23. Valpo’s home tournament includes Eastern Illinois, Wright State, Chicago State and DePaul.
The Crusaders jump right into league play to begin the dual season as they host Denver on Jan. 27. That will mark the team’s first match as an affiliate member of the Summit League. On paper, the season opener projects to have significant implications on the league standings as Denver has won four straight Summit League titles, while Valpo has captured Horizon League championships each of the last two seasons.
The early-February portion of the slate features a string of three straight nonleague road tilts as Valpo faces Marquette, Xavier and Butler. Three of the next four are at home, as the Crusaders welcomes Eastern Illinois (Feb. 16) and travel to DePaul (Feb. 17) before hosting William & Mary (Feb. 18) and Western Michigan (Feb. 23).
That leads into the annual spring trip as Valpo makes its way to Florida. The first match of the trip will be at Florida Atlantic on March 5, followed by matches against Furman (March 6) and Stetson (March 7) that are slated to be held at Star Island Resort in Kissimmee. The Crusaders will play Division II powerhouse Saint Leo on their home court for the second straight year (March 9) to round out the trip.
Valpo transitions back into Summit League competition on March 24 and March 30 for home showdowns with Illinois State and Oral Roberts. After welcoming former Horizon League foe Wright State on March 31, the Crusaders go back to league play for the remainder of the regular season – at Omaha (April 4), home against South Dakota State (April 6) and at Drake (April 14).
The Summit League Tournament will be held in Denver, Colo. on April 29-30, with the winner claiming an automatic berth in the NCAA Tournament.
Over the last four seasons, Valpo has enjoyed the most successful stretch in team history as the Crusaders have shattered the program wins record in each of those years. The 2016-2017 Crusaders finished with a 23-4 mark and went a perfect 7-0 against Horizon League opponents. The team has six returning players and three newcomers th