The Valparaiso University women’s tennis team took another step forward this season, finishing with the team’s highest win total since 2006-2007. A campaign that provided numerous encouraging signs for the future of the program came to a close with a 4-1 loss to Stony Brook on Friday in the first round of the MVC Championship in Springfield, Mo.
How It Happened
- Valpo (5-17) started the match on a high note, winning the doubles point by prevailing on two of the three doubles courts.
- The Seawolves (9-8) got out to an early lead in doubles play as Ester Chikvashvili and Ana Rodriguez topped Meg Modesto (Chesterton, Ind. / Chesterton) and Randi Wind (Park Ridge, Ill. / Maine South) 6-1 at the No. 2 slot.
- The top doubles tandem of Dao Sysouvanh (Sun Prairie, Wis. / Sun Prairie) and Claire Czerwonka (Kenosha, Wis. / Saint Joseph Catholic Academy) came away with a 6-4 victory over Elizabeth Tsvetkov and Nolwenn Cardoso, causing the doubles point to hinge on the No. 3 showdown.
- That’s where Halle Roach (Libertyville, Ill. / Libertyville) and Jordan Kopfer (Eagan, Minn. / Eastview) took care of business, continuing their strong finish to the season with a 7-6(4) win that cemented the doubles point for the Crusaders.
- Amanda Foo garnered a 6-1, 6-1 win over Roach at sixth singles in the first match to finish, then Tsvetkov got the best of Czerwonka at No. 1 singles 6-1, 6-1. Sysouvanh was also on the wrong end of a 6-1, 6-1 score against Rodriguez at No. 3, while Maria Pinto Ribeiro clinched the Stony Brook win by beating Wind 6-1, 6-2 at fourth singles.
- The No. 2 and No. 4 singles matches went unfinished. Modesto had dropped a tight first set to Chikvashvili 7-5 and had won the first two games of the second set before play was halted.
- Valpo once again played without No. 2 singles player Jelena Vujanic (Elk Grove Village, Ill. / Elk Grove), forcing the majority of the lineup to play one spot higher than normal.
Inside the Match
- Valpo finished with its highest team win total since 2006-2007. In addition, the Crusaders won a combined 73 singles matches and 38 doubles matches this season.
- Czerwonka finished the season as the team leader in doubles wins with 15. With her win in Friday’s season finale, the Valpo freshman entered the Top 10 in program history for single-season doubles victories. She finished the year tied for ninth with three others.
- Roach and Kopfer hadn’t played doubles together this year prior to the final week of the season. However, that combo proved successful, as the two improved to 3-1 as a duo and garnered their third consecutive win on Friday.
- Vujanic, an MVC All-Select Team honoree, finished the season with a .760 winning percentage that ranks sixth in single-season program history and 19 singles wins, the most by any Crusader since 2006-2007. Despite being hampered by an injury over the team’s final five matches, Vujanic finished tied for fourth in program history for singles wins in a single season.
- The Crusaders will bring back seven players including their entire starting lineup and add two incoming freshmen to the mix for what figures to be a promising 2018-19 season.
Thoughts from Head Coach Tammy Cecchini
“All of the players who were here with us for the tournament this weekend are coming back next year. If we can pick up where we left off, we will be that much further in our quest toward getting better and stronger. With getting Jelena back healthy and the addition of our two incoming freshmen, there is a lot to look forward to next season for our team.”