The Valparaiso University women’s tennis team has announced its schedule for the 2017-18 campaign, its first season of play in the Missouri Valley Conference.
The Crusaders will start the fall season by battling Grace College at 3 p.m. CT on Thursday, Aug. 31 at the Valpo Tennis Complex. The fall slate also includes the DePauw Fall Invitational (Sept. 2-3) and a fourth straight appearance in the Flames Invitational, hosted by UIC (Sept. 22-23).
The Valley holds an annual fall Individual Championship, which this year will take place from Oct. 7-9 in Normal, Ill.
The spring season will commence with back-to-back matches against in-state competition as the Crusaders collide with IUPUI on Jan. 20 and Purdue on Jan. 26. The Jaguars, who will face Valpo for the fourth straight season, picked up a narrow 4-3 win on Feb. 24, 2017 in Valparaiso. Meanwhile, this will mark the first meeting between Valpo and Purdue in women’s tennis.
After visiting Hope College in Michigan on Jan. 27, the Crusaders have another string of matches against in-state foes – Butler (Feb. 3), University of Indianapolis (Feb. 4) and Ball State (Feb. 10). The Cardinals went 20-3 overall last year and finished with an unblemished regular season MAC record of 8-0.
The first Valley match in program history and the spring season’s home opener will occur on Feb. 11 as Valpo hosts Evansville. The Crusaders then step outside of conference action for matches at Northern Illinois and Lewis, before voyaging to Honolulu, Hawaii to face Chamindae University of Hawaii as part of the annual spring trip.
The Crusaders host three straight home matches to close out March, welcoming Omaha (March 23), Grand Valley State (March 25) and former Horizon League foe Northern Kentucky (March 30). Valpo visits UIC in another matchup of ex-league opponents on April 4, then hosts Drake (April 6) and UNI (April 8) before rounding out the regular season with five straight road matches, including Valley dates with Missouri State, Illinois State and Bradley.
The MVC Championship will take place from April 27-29 in Springfield, Mo. All eight MVC women’s tennis programs will be a part of the tournament field.
The Crusaders enter the 2017-18 season after showing progress during the 2016-2017 campaign. They played their best tennis of the year over the final five matches, beating Green Bay 4-3 before scoring at least two team points in each of the last four matches. Dao Sysouvanh showed improvement late in her freshman year, winning her last four Horizon League matches of the season. The season also featured the emergence of sophomore Randi Wind, who finished the campaign with 11 singles wins, the most of any Crusader in the last decade.
The Crusaders also excelled in the classroom in 2016-17, posting a 3.71 team GPA, the best of any Valpo team in any sport.