The Valparaiso University men’s tennis team bounced back after dropping the doubles point by sweeping all six singles courts on Saturday afternoon at Match Point Tennis Club in Griffith. The strong showing in singles allowed the team to roll to a 6-1 victory over visiting Youngstown State.
How It Happened
- Valpo lost the No. 1 and No. 3 doubles duals, but did garner a victory on the second doubles court thanks to the play of Chad Kissell (Latrobe, Pa. / Greater Latrobe) and Brian Pecyna (Glen Ellyn, Ill. / Homeschooled). The duo topped the Youngstown State pairing of Luke Purser and Vasilis Vardakis 6-4.
- The first singles player off the court was junior Gabriel Carvajal (Pembroke Pines, Fla. / Broward Virtual School [Florida Atlantic]), who rolled to a 6-0, 6-2 win over Pol Virgili Blanco at sixth singles.
- Valpo (3-1) quickly gained the lead in the team scoring when Kissell stayed steady in singles with his straight sets (6-3, 6-2) victory over Joao Garretto at No. 2.
- After junior Daniel Langston (Ponca City, Okla. / Ponca City) capped a 6-1, 6-3 triumph over Erik Gran at No. 5, Valpo clinched the victory when Brandon Ancona (Belvidere, Ill. / Rockford Christian) bested Danylo Veremeichuk 7-5, 6-3 in a pair of close sets at the top singles spot.
- The remaining two matches were the closest of the day and were lengthier than the rest, as Kweisi Kenyatte (Detroit, Mich. / East English Village Preparatory) and Pecyna engaged in tight showdowns at No. 3 and No. 4, respectively. After winning Set 1 6-4, Pecyna finished off Purser with a 7-6(1) victory on a set tiebreaker in the second.
- Kenyatte incurred a narrow defeat 7-6(3) in the opening set, but came back to win the second 7-5 to force a third-set tiebreaker. The tiebreaker was competitive as well with Kenyatte edging Vardakis 10-8.
Inside the Match
- Kissell registered his 69th career victory, advancing into a tie for sixth in program history. He is a perfect 4-0 this season after missing the fall slate due to an injury. He is tied with Eric Honert (2010-2014) and Michael Savaglio (2012-2016) in career singles wins.
- Carvajal is also undefeated this spring as he stands at 4-0 in dual match play.
- Kissell registered his second doubles win of the season, upping his career total to 63. He is now tied with Nick Vuko (1998-2002) for sixth in program history in career doubles triumphs.
- Ancona’s victory at first singles came over Veremeichuk, a senior who was a First Team All-Horizon League selection last season.
- Pecyna remains the team leader in wins this season by advancing his 2018-19 total to 11.
- This was Valpo’s first meeting with Youngstown State (2-3) since the two teams met in an epic Horizon League semifinal in 2017 that saw Valpo prevail 4-3. Valpo eventually won the championship match and advanced to the NCAA Tournament.
Thoughts from Head Coach Jim Daugherty
“It was good to see the resiliency that we played with today. After dropping the doubles point, we found a way to bounce back and have success in singles. That ability to recover is something that could help us down the road as we know we can come back from losing the doubles point should it happen again.”
Valpo will return to the court for the final installment of a five-match homestand on Friday, Feb. 15 at 3 p.m. against Eastern Illinois. That match will take place at Match Point Tennis Club in Griffith.