The Valparaiso University men’s tennis team bounced back from dropping the doubles point to win a close 4-3 decision over Ball State on Friday afternoon at The Courts of Northwest Indiana in Valparaiso. Freshman Oscar Mendoza (Guayaquil, Ecuador / Interamerican Academy) came through with the biggest win of the day, climbing from behind to prevail at No. 5 singles, clinching the victory for his team. The win was also significant as it allowed Valpo head coach Jim Daugherty to defeat his alma mater.
How It Happened
- The Valpo tandem of Franklin Brozovich (Fort Gratiot, Mich. / Port Huron Northern) and Gabriel Carvajal (Pembroke Pines, Fla. / Broward Virtual School [Florida Atlantic]) notched a victory at the No. 3 doubles position after Valpo had already lost at No. 2, so the point hinged on the outcome at No. 1.
- Brandon Ancona (Belvidere, Ill. / Rockford Christian) and Brian Pecyna (Glen Ellyn, Ill. / Homeschooled) fought from 5-2 down by winning three straight games to cause a 5-5 tie. However, Chris Adams and Vince Orlando of Ball State were victorious in the remaining two games to pick up the 7-5 victory and clinch the doubles point for the Cardinals (5-4).
- Three of Valpo’s top four players rolled to straight-set victories in singles play. Pecyna was the first one off by grinding out a 7-6(4) win in Set 1 before rolling to a 6-2 Set 2 victory over Thibault De Negri. Ancona also rebounded from his doubles defeat by topping Adams 7-5, 6-3 at No. 1.
- Another quick finish came at No. 4, where Daniel Langston (Ponca City, Okla. / Ponca City) pushed past Parrish Simmons 6-1, 7-5. That put Valpo in a position where it needed just one more victory to secure the match, but the remaining battles were all tightly contested.
- Ball State picked up three-set wins at No. 3 and No. 6, making Mendoza’s match the most important one of his young collegiate career. After dropping a lopsided 1-6 decision in the first set of his No. 5 singles match, the Valpo freshman trailed in his second set but came back for a 7-6(5) victory. He eventually took his third set 6-3, sending Valpo to a 4-3 win.
Inside the Match
- Valpo and Ball State matched up on the tennis courts for the first time since Jan. 28, 2012, a 6-1 victory for Ball State. The Cardinals won 15 straight against Valpo from 1998-2012, so Friday’s win snapped a long head-to-head losing streak for the Brown & Gold. In addition, it allowed Daugherty to beat his former team, as he played for the Cardinals from 1974-1977.
- The match was a battle of two longtime head coaches as Bill Richards is in his 48th season at Ball State and Jim Daugherty is in his 35th season at Valpo. Richards is the longest-tenured Division-I head men’s tennis coach in the nation and Daugherty is the fourth-longest tenured. (Loyola Maryland’s Rick McClure and Howard’s Larry Strickland are the others ahead of Daugherty in tenure.) Amazingly, Daugherty played his college tennis under Richards before graduating with a degree in business administration in 1977.
- Ancona increased his career win total to 71, which is seventh on Valpo’s all-time list. He’s three away from matching Garrett Gardner for sixth and four away from moving into a tie with Chad Kissell for a spot in the Top 5.
- Langston moved to within three victories of 50 for his career thanks to his singles win on Friday. Pecyna is up and over the 50-win threshold as he now has 51.
- Mendoza earned the fifth singles win of his freshman campaign and his second in dual match play.
- Brozovich and Carvajal are now 3-2 as a pair in dual match action.
- This was the first time this season that the doubles point didn’t indicate the outcome of the match. Valpo was previously 3-0 when winning the doubles point and 0-3 when losing the doubles point.
Valpo (4-3) will play the second of back-to-back matches on Saturday evening at Purdue. Live results and a live stream are expected to be available courtesy of Purdue Athletics. That match begins at 5 p.m. CT / 6 p.m. ET.