It’s a weekend where “firsts” are prevalent for the Valparaiso University women’s tennis team.
The first-year members of the Missouri Valley Conference are competing in their first-ever conference individual championship and it’s a first-year player – freshman Jelena Vujanic (Elk Grove Village, Ill. / Elk Grove) – who has shined the brightest.
After yet another win on Sunday in the semifinal of Flight 2 Singles at the MVC Individual Championship in Normal, Ill., Vujanic finds herself one victory away from another first – as in, first place. She’ll play for the Flight 2 Singles championship against Drake’s Summer Brills on Monday.
Vujanic has been a win-producing machine in her brief collegiate career thus far, and she owns a spotless 6-0 record after her latest triumph, which came 6-3, 6-3 over Stony Brook’s Ester Chikvashvili on Sunday.
Although it’s Vujanic who will represent the Crusaders in a championship match, she had plenty of company in the win column on Sunday. Three other Crusaders enjoyed singles victories, as freshman Claire Czerwonka (Kenosha, Wis. / Saint Joseph Catholic Academy), junior Meg Modesto (Chesterton, Ind. / Chesterton) and junior Halle Roach (Libertyville, Ill. / Libertyville) all won their way into their respective fifth-place matches, before eventually falling in their second matches of the day on Sunday.
Czerwonka grabbed a 7-6 (5), 4-3 victory by retirement over Bradley’s Sandra Maletin before falling to Drake’s Tess Herder 6-4, 6-0 in the fifth-place match of Flight 1 Singles. In Flight 4 singles, Modesto topped Missouri State’s Alexia Meyer 6-1, 6-2 before losing a tightly-contested match to Bradley’s Malini Wijesinghe for fifth.
Roach was the fourth Crusader with a singles win on Sunday, dispatching Evansville’s Leah Helpingstine 6-4, 6-1 to reach the fifth-place match, where Drake’s Melania Jaglarz prevailed 6-3, 6-2.
Czerwonka and sophomore Dao Sysouvanh (Sun Prairie, Wis. / Sun Prairie) were 8-6 winners over UNI’s Harri Proudfoot and Valentina Caro on Sunday, setting them up for the chance to play for fifth place in Flight 2 Doubles on Monday. Modesto and sophomore Jordan Kopfer (Eagan, Minn. / Eastview) will have an opportunity to garner third place in Flight 3 Doubles after an 8-6 setback to a Stoney Brook duo on Sunday.
Modesto grabbed her fifth win of the year and the 17th of her Crusader career, while Roach picked up her fourth of the season and Czerwonka gained her sixth, which is tied with her fellow freshman for the team lead.
The third and final day of the MVC Individual Championship in Normal, Ill. will be held on Monday.