The Valparaiso University women’s tennis team enjoyed its best performance of the season on Friday afternoon at the Courts of Northwest Indiana, but IUPUI prevailed 4-3. The Crusaders scored team points in a match for the first time this season.
How It Happened
- Kathleen Hebble (Sellersburg, Ind. / Silver Creek) and Paige Heuer (Munster, Ind. / Munster), who were named the Horizon League Doubles Team of the Week for last week, sustained their success by dispatching IUPUI’s top doubles tandem of Samantha Mayer and Sara Sherif 6-4.
- The Crusaders notched the doubles point for the first time this season thanks to the play of Halle Roach (Libertyville, Ill. / Libertyville) and Meg Modesto (Chesterton, Ind. / Chesterton) at No. 3 doubles. They got the better of IUPUI’s Molly Nguyen and Marina Schneiger 6-3.
- The Crusaders’ No. 2 doubles team of Dao Sysouvanh (Sun Prairie, Wis. / Sun Prairie) and Randi Wind (Park Ridge, Ill. / Maine South) lost to Valeriia Lavrenchuk and Mariella Pessina 6-4.
- Wind notched Valpo’s most convincing win of the day, rolling past Nguyen 6-2, 6-3 at No. 6 singles.
- Heuer had dropped her singles match 6-2, 6-0 to Sherif, and Sysouvanh fell to Mayer 6-0, 6-3. With three courts left in action, the team score was knotted 2-2.
- Modesto engaged in a lengthy, back-and-forth affair with Pessina, eventually falling 6-4, 6-4. Modesto battled from behind in the second set to make it 5-4, but Pessina notched the clinching game.
- The two remaining matches went to third sets, with Valpo needing to win both to secure their first team victory of the season. But it was the Jaguars who assured they’d chalk one up in the win column as Lavrenchuk bested Hebble 6-3, 1-6, 6-2 at No. 1 singles. Hebble rebounded from a Set 1 loss in a big way with the Set 2 victory, but couldn’t corral the decisive third.
- With the team result already decided, Jordan Kopfer (Eagan, Minn. / Eastview) and Schneiger continued to duke it out at No. 5 singles. Kopfer had claimed Set 1 6-4 before dropping the second set 6-2. She pulled out the final set 6-4.
- Valpo’s Erin Staal (Grand Haven, Mich. / Grand Haven) topped Hayley Trinkle 6-1 in singles exhibition play.
Inside the Match
- Hebble and Heuer became the first Valpo doubles team to win the Horizon League Doubles Team of the Week Award prior to this match. This is the first year the league has given a weekly doubles award.
- This was the first time Valpo received a Horizon League weekly award since Feb. 17, 2015, when Hebble secured the Player of the Week distinction.
- Hebble and Heuer have now notched nine victories this season, by far the team lead. No other doubles squad has more than two victories.
- Wind finished her match first, making her the first Valpo player to win a singles match this spring. She improved to 5-8 overall this season, with the first four triumphs coming during the fall.
- Kopfer is now 4-9 overall this season as she grabbed her first victory of the fall.
- The Crusaders dropped to 0-6 with the loss, while the Jaguars improved to 2-10. After starting the spring 0-9, they’ve won two of their last three.
- This match marked an improvement from Valpo’s 5-2 loss to IUPUI last season. Hebble forced a third set in this year’s rematch with Lavrenchuk after going down in straight sets a year ago. Hebble and Heuer repeated their success against Sherif and Mayer after beating them 6-3 last year.
- The Crusaders went with a new combo at No. 3 doubles, as sophomores Modesto and Roach played together for the first time in their careers. It was the first time Roach had participated in a dual match this spring.
The Crusaders will be active again next weekend, hosting Akron on Saturday, March 4 at 5 p.m. before visiting Bradley on Sunday, March 5 at 3 p.m. Those will be the final matches before they head to California for their annual spring trip.