Valparaiso's women's tennis team advanced to the Mid-Continent Conference title match to be played on Friday morning with a 4-2 semifinal victory over Centenary on Thursday morning in Indianapolis, Ind.
The Crusaders, the regular season champion, notched their ninth straight victory and 12th win in their last 13 matches with the triumph over the fourth-seeded Ladies.
Valpo jumped in front early by virtue of winning the doubles point. Rachel Janssen (Fort Wayne, Dwenger H.S.) and Jill Dierberg (Saint Louis, Mo./Lutheran South H.S.) posted the first win with an 8-1 triumph at third doubles over Elizabeth Pitts and Ashlee Mantooth. Monika Danko (Northfield, Ill./New Trier H.S.) and Christina Scala (Glenview, Ill./Glenbrook South H.S.) clinched the opening point with their 8-2 victory over Christine Majchrowicz and Brandy Smith at the second spot. Centenary led at the top spot with Anja Schmidt and Heather Kelley in front of Mara Sonkin (Wheaton, Ill./Warrenville South H.S.) and Whitney Chada (Downers Grove, Ill./Downers Grove North H.S.) 6-1 when the contest was halted due to the point being decided.
Centenary quickly tied the match at one with a default win at the sixth spot due to an illegal subsitution. Dierberg gave the Crusaders a 2-1 lead with her 6-0, 6-3 win at third singles over Kelley, and Chada moved Valpo within a point of the victory with her 6-1, 6-1 triumph over Pitts at fifth singles. Schmidt brought Centenary (10-16) within one with her 6-2, 6-2 win over Sonkin at the top spot, but Danko clinched the victory with a 6-0, 6-2 win at fourth singles. Janssen led Majchrowicz 6-2, 5-3 at second singles when the match was stopped.
Valpo (13-5) will face second-seeded IUPUI on Friday morning at 10:30 a.m. in Indianapolis for the tournament title and a chance to earn their first NCAA Tournament berth in school history.