The Valparaiso University women’s tennis team ushered in a new season in style on Thursday, downing Grace College 6-1 at the Valpo Tennis Complex. The Crusaders (1-0) looked crisp on a pleasant fall afternoon with a slew of players debuting at new positions in the lineup. A pair of freshmen found success in their first collegiate matches, highlighting an all-around strong showing by the team.
How It Happened
- The first doubles match to finish came at No. 3 as junior Randi Wind (Park Ridge, Ill. / Maine South) and sophomore Jordan Kopfer (Eagan, Minn. / Eastview) topped Shelby Bankson and Briana Diehl 8-0. Doubles play utilized the NAIA format of eight-game pro sets, but doubles was still scored as one decision.
- The Crusaders secured the doubles point by virtue of freshman Claire Czerwonka (Kenosha, Wis. / Saint Joseph Catholic Academy) and sophomore Dao Sysouvanh (Sun Prairie, Wis. / Sun Prairie) latching down an 8-3 victory over Molly Fitzpatrick and Jenna Jackson at the No. 2 slot. They played out the No. 1 doubles match, with Valpo freshman Jelena Vujanic (Elk Grove Village, Ill. / Elk Grove) and junior Meg Modesto (Chesterton, Ind. / Chesterton) prevailing 8-4 over Emily Mast and Carrie Copeland.
- Modesto started her season in victorious fashion, making quick work of Fitzpatrick 6-0, 6-1 at No. 4 singles, the first singles match to finish.
- Valpo’s freshman duo of Czerwonka and Vujanic played No. 1 and No. 2 singles, respectively, in their collegiate debuts. Both came away with wins, with Czerwonka beating Mast 6-2, 6-2 and Vujanic besting Copeland in straight sets, 6-1, 6-2.
- Sysouvanh earned a 6-4, 6-3 triumph against Jackson at No. 3 singles, while Halle Roach (Libertyville, Ill. / Libertyville) defeated Bankson 6-1, 6-1 at No. 5
- At No. 6 singles, senior Erin Staal (Grand Haven, Mich. / Grand Haven) dropped a three-set match to Diehl 1-6, 6-4, 6-2.
Inside the Match
- Two of the three doubles teams were first-time pairings, while Kopfer and Wind played one match together last season. Czerwonka and Vujanic picked up their first career doubles victories, while Kopfer notched her fourth, Sysouvanh garnered her third, Wind grabbed her ninth and Modesto recorded her ninth.
- Modesto’s singles win was the 14th of her Crusader career, while Sysouvanh’s was her sixth and Roach’s her seventh.
- Sysouvanh extended a streak of success she started late last season. She won the first four Horizon League matches of the 2016-17 campaign, momentum that seemed to carry over into her season debut on Thursday.
The Crusaders continue the fall slate this weekend as they partake in the DePauw Fall Invitational in Greencastle, Ind. on Saturday and Sunday.