Valparaiso defeated defending Mid-Continent Conference regular season and tournament champion IUPUI in a thrilling match 4-3 on Thursday morning in Las Vegas, Nev.
The Crusaders won the doubles point to open the match in what proved to be a pivotal start for the Brown and Gold. Jill Dierberg (St. Louis, Mo./Lutheran South H.S.) and Rachel Janssen (Fort Wayne, Ind./Dwenger H.S.) teamed for an 8-3 victory at third doubles to begin play, while Monika Danko (Northfield, Ill./New Trier H.S.) and Christina Scala (Glenview, Ill./Glenbrook South H.S.) sewed up the point with an 8-4 win at the second spot. IUPUI won at first doubles.
In singles play, Scala put the Crusaders in front 2-0 with her 6-4, 6-1 triumph at sixth singles. IUPUI (11-5, 4-1 Mid-Con) then won second and fourth singles in straight sets to even the match. The Jaguars also took third singles to gain a 3-2 lead in the contest with a three set victory.
Mara Sonkin (Wheaton, Ill./Warrenville South H.S.), the lone senior on the squad, pulled out a 6-1, 4-6, 7-6 victory winning the third set tie-break 7-3 to draw Valpo even in the match. With the outcome of the match in the hands of a freshman, Whitney Chada (Downers Grove, Ill./Downers Grove North H.S.) rallied from a set down and then trailed 3-2 in the third set to post a 4-6, 6-2, 6-3 victory in the fifth spot to give the Crusaders victory.
With the win, Valpo remains unbeaten and atop the Mid-Con standings with a perfect 5-0 mark in league play. They also improve to 9-5 overall having won their fifth consecutive match and eighth contest in their last nine outings. The Crusaders will return to action later on Thursday evening in Las Vegas, with an 8 p.m. CDT contest against UMKC.