The Valparaiso University women's tennis team opened its 2004 spring season on Saturday afternoon, dropping a tight 4-3 decision to Bradley at Matchpoint Raquet Club.
The Braves opened the match sweeping through doubles competition to earn the first point of the contest. Mara Sonkin (Wheaton, Ill./Wheaton-Warrenville South H.S.) and Rachel Janssen (Fort Wayne, Ind./Dwenger H.S.) dropped an 8-6 contest at the top spot, while Jill Dierberg (Saint Louis, Mo./Lutheran South H.S.) and Charmane Stanislaw (Libertyville, Ill./Libertyville H.S.) fell 8-3 at third doubles. Kate Evangelist (Glen Ellyn, Ill./Glenbard West H.S.) and Whitney Chada (Downers Grove, Ill./Downers Grove North H.S.) fell 8-7 in a tie-break after the point had been decided.
The Brown and Gold tried to rally during singles play. Janssen posted a convincing 6-0, 6-1 victory at third singles, while Chada cruised 6-1, 6-0 at the fourth spot. Dierberg gave Valpo its third victory with a 6-4, 6-3 triumph at fifth singles, but the Crusaders could not post victories at first, second, or sixth singles. Sonkin tried to pull out the win for Valpo at the top spot, winning the opening set before falling 3-6, 6-2, 6-4. Bradley won in straight sets at both fifth and sixth singles.
The Crusaders will return to action on Sunday afternoon, traveling to Chicago to face DePaul in a 1 p.m. contest.