After opening the fall season by cruising to a home win over Grace on Thursday afternoon, the Valparaiso University women’s tennis team turned in another quality performance at this weekend’s DePauw Invitational in Greencastle, Ind. The Crusaders enjoyed a successful Saturday that saw five individuals and two doubles teams qualify for Sunday’s finals.
How It Happened
- In the No. 1 singles bracket, freshmen Jelena Vujanic (Elk Grove Village, Ill. / Elk Grove) and Claire Czerwonka (Kenosha, Wis. / Saint Joseph Catholic Academy) both qualified for the finals after strong showings on Saturday. Vujanic topped Indianapolis’ Alina Kislickaya in the first round, then punched her ticket to the final by coming from behind to defeat William Woods’ Karyna Sagalai in the semifinal. Vujanic dropped the first set 1-6, but then rallied to take Set 2 6-3 and the third-set tiebreak 10-4.
- Czerwonka matched her fellow freshman’s success on the opening day of the invite, downing Indianapolis’ Hanna Volikova 6-4, 6-3 in the quarterfinals before capturing a 6-1, 6-2 win over DePauw’s Alyssa Seneviratne in the semifinals.
- Czerwonka and Vujanic were slated to face off in the championship, but the bracket was reseeded to avoid two teammates competing against one another. Instead, Vujanic was victorious 6-3, 7-6 over Hanna Volikova, while Czerwonka dropped her match 6-1, 6-2 to Kislickaya on Sunday.
- Jordan Kopfer (Eagan, Minn. / Eastview) joined Vujanic as a singles bracket champion, defeating Paige Olsen of Indianapolis 6-3, 6-4 to nail down the No. 3 singles title on Sunday. Kopfer didn’t drop a set in the event, also rolling to straight-set wins in each of her Saturday victories.
- In the No. 2 singles bracket, Meg Modesto (Chesterton, Ind. / Chesterton) made her way to the championship match by virtue of straight-set wins over Mary Grace Amato (Transylvania) and Zlata Shuraeva (William Woods) on Saturday. Modesto finished as the runner-up in her bracket, falling to Indianapolis’ Isabella Bergman in Sunday’s final.
- Also competing in No. 2 singles, Dao Sysouvanh (Sun Prairie, Wis. / Sun Prairie) started strong with a 6-3, 6-2 win over Rose Hulman’s Bella Evans. She lost her second match to Bergman, then bounced back with a 6-0, 6-1 win over DePauw’s Meredith Breda on Sunday to close out the weekend on a high note.
- Erin Staal (Grand Haven, Mich. / Grand Haven) downed her opponent without dropping a single game in the first round, then picked up another straight-set victory to complete a perfect first day in Greencastle and advance to the championship. William Woods only participated in Saturday’s portion of the invite, so no No. 6 singles championship was held.
- Randi Wind (Park Ridge, Ill. / Maine South) competed in an exciting match with Ana Zavala in the first round of the No. 4 singles bracket on Saturday, but came up on the wrong end of a 6-2, 3-6, 10-3 score. Wind rolled through the rest of the weekend, however, capturing victories of 6-0, 6-1 and 6-1, 6-0 to win the No. 4 singles consolation bracket.
- Halle Roach (Libertyville, Ill. / Libertyville) also won two of her three matches in the No. 5 singles bracket. She defeated Betsy Richardson 6-1, 6-0 and Linde Schaffer 6-2, 6-0, sandwiched around a loss to Julia Mulder.
- In No. 1 doubles play, Czerwonka and Sysouvanh won two matches on Saturday to reach Sunday’s final, where they fell to an Indianapolis duo. Vujanic and Modesto also played in the No. 1 doubles flight, where they lost in the first round to the same Greyhound combo that eventually beat Czerwonka and Sysouvanh. Vujanic and Modesto bounced back to take their next two matches handily, 8-0 and 8-1.
- Wind and Roach secured an 8-1 triumph over a Rose-Hulman tandem to take fifth-place in the No. 2 doubles flight after dropping their first match. Staal and Kopfer earned a pair of 8-0 wins at No. 3 doubles on Saturday, before jumping up to the No. 2 doubles bracket and falling in the championship on Sunday.
Inside the Matches
- Vujanic’s perfect weekend helped her improve to a flawless 4-0 to begin her collegiate career.
- Sysouvanh, Czerwonka, Roach, Modesto and Kopfer have each won three matches this season and Kopfer has not yet dropped a match.
- The Crusaders went a combined 18-5 (.783) in singles play during the tournament.
- Dating back to the end of last season, Sysouvanh has won seven of her last nine matches.
- Eight different Crusaders have notched at least one singles victory thus far on the young season.
- As doubles pairs, Sysouvanh-Czerwonka and Modesto-Vujanic share the team lead with three wins apiece.
- Modesto now has 15 career singles wins, while Roach has nine, Sysouvanh has eight and Kopfer has seven. Wind’s pair of victories boosts her career total to 19, the most of any active Crusader, while Staal lifted her career total to five.
The Crusaders will next be in competition on Sept. 22-23 as they take part in the Flames Invitational in Chicago.