The Valparaiso University men’s tennis team was on the road for a second straight challenging dual match to begin the spring season on Saturday afternoon in Milwaukee. Marquette defended its home courts with a 5-2 victory over Valpo at Helfaer Tennis Stadium, where the Crusaders won one doubles match and a pair of singles contests.
How It Happened
- Valpo picked up a win at No. 3 doubles as Gabriel Carvajal (Pembroke Pines, Fla. / Broward Virtual School [Florida Atlantic]) and Daniel Langston (Ponca City, Okla. / Ponca City) topped Marquette’s Luke Smrek and Scott Christian 6-4.
- The Crusaders (0-2) fell on the other two doubles courts, allowing the Golden Eagles (2-1) to take the doubles point. No. 2 was the first to finish, with Greg Anderson and Luis Heredia Gomez defeating Kweisi Kenyatte (Detroit, Mich. / East English Village Preparatory) and Garrett Gardner (Poland, Ohio / Poland) 6-1.
- For the second straight week, Valpo’s No. 1 doubles team of Brandon Ancona (Belvidere, Ill. / Rockford Christian) and Chad Kissell (Latrobe, Pa. / Greater Latrobe) lost on a tiebreaker, as Brett Meyers and Alvaro Verdu came up with a 7-6 win in the match that dictated the doubles point.
- Kissell won in straight sets at No. 1 singles for the second straight match, this time dispatching Alvaro Verdu 7-6(5), 6-2
- Ancona was the other bright spot for the Crusaders, nipping Heredia Gomez in straight sets, 6-4, 7-6(1) at No. 3.
- Gardner dropped the first set of his No. 5 singles showdown with Anderson 7-5, but then bounced back to force a third with a 6-3 win in Set 2. Gardner dropped the third-set tiebreak 10-6.
- The first singles match to finish was No. 4, where Meyers defeated Carvajal 6-1, 6-2. That was followed closely by the finish of the No. 6 match, where Brandon Shanklin bested Brian Pecyna (Glen Ellyn, Ill. / Homeschooled) 7-6, 6-0.
- The match that clinched the team outcome came at No.2, where Kenyatte found himself on the wrong end of a 6-3, 7-5 match with Smrek.
Inside the Match
- This marked the first meeting between Valpo and Marquette since Feb. 22, 2013, a 7-0 Marquette victory. The Golden Eagles had blanked the Crusaders in four of the last five meetings before Saturday, and this marked the first time since 2005 that Valpo scored a team point against a quality Marquette program.
- Langston and Carvajal improved to 5-1 as a doubles combination this season. Langston is 7-5 overall in doubles play, while Carvajal owns a 5-5 doubles mark.
- Kissell’s win came over a two-time Big East all-conference honoree. Kissell is now 9-3 so far this year and has increased his career total to 57 singles wins. Saturday’s triumph allowed him to move into a tie for eighth in program history with Nate Buckert (1998-2002) in career singles wins.
- Ancona improved his season record to 9-4, capturing his first win of the spring season after dropping his opener against Denver. Only a sophomore, he has won 32 singles matches in his career.
The Crusaders will face instate rival Butler on Saturday, Feb. 10 at 1 p.m. CT in Indianapolis.