Valparaiso clinched second place in the Mid-Continent Conference and assured itself of its first winning season in over a decade as the Crusaders defeated IUPUI 6-1 on Saturday afternoon at the Valparaiso University Tennis Complex to close the regular season.
With the win Valpo improves to 11-9 on the season and 5-1 in Mid-Con action, a game behind regular season champion Oral Roberts, which defeated the Crusaders 4-3. Valpo also won its eighth match in its last nine outings and finished the home portion of the schedule a perfect 6-0 outdoors.
The Crusaders took the doubles point to begin the match as Nic Kooyers (Holland, Mich./Holland H.S.) and Joe Venegas (Saint Charles, Ill./North H.S.) topped Javier Saab and Zach Breneman 8-5 at the top of the order. Mike Shideler (Valparaiso, Ind./Munster H.S.) and Alex Lau (Bloomington, Minn./Jefferson Senior H.S.) also defeated Joe Harvath and Ronnie Pedro 8-5 at third doubles to secure the point. IUPUI (1-17, 1-5 Mid-Con) earned its lone doubles win at the second spot as Ross Gehlhausen and Tsuyoshi Yamabe defeated Mike Wagner (Ann Arbor, Mich./Pioneer H.S.) and Dave Bukowski (Mount Prospect, Ill./Prospect H.S.) 8-4.
In singles play, Kooyers capped off his perfect Mid-Con run at first singles with a 6-3, 6-1 win over Saab. The junior finishes Mid-Con play 6-0, dropping just one set along the way, and has now won nine straight matches overall while reaching the 20-win plateau for the season.
Lau also finished off a perfect Mid-Con season with a 6-0 mark as he defeated Breneman 6-1, 6-1 at the sixth spot. Venegas was a 6-1, 6-3 winner at second singles over Gehlhausen while Wagner posted a 6-2, 6-1 win over Pedro at the third spot. Shideler earned Valpo's other win with a 7-5, 6-1 triumph over Greg Fallowfield. IUPUI won its lone match at fifth singles as Yamabe defeated Buskowski 6-4, 6-3.
Valpo will now head to the Mid-Continent Conference Tournament in Tulsa, Okla. beginning next Friday. Official tournament pairings are set to be released later this weekend or Monday morning.