The Valparaiso University women’s tennis team saw its season come to a close on Friday with a 4-0 defeat to Missouri Valley Conference regular season champion Illinois State in the MVC Tournament opener in Cedar Falls, Iowa.
The MVC Tournament plays a clinch-clinch format, so three singles matches and one doubles match went unfinished. Seniors Randi Wind (Park Ridge, Ill. / Maine South) and Meg Modesto (Chesterton, Ind. / Chesterton) went unfinished at No. 2 doubles with that match even 4-4. Modesto and Wind both saw their final collegiate singles matches go unfinished as well. Wind dropped her opening set at fourth singles on a tiebreak, while Modesto captured a 7-5 victory in Set 1 at No. 2 singles. Wind, Modesto and Jordan Kopfer (Elk Grove Village, Ill. / Elk Grove) all played in the final matches of their collegiate careers on Friday.
After the match, head coach Tammy Cecchini announced that this was her final season in charge of the Valpo women’s tennis program. She spent five years on staff and four as the head coach. Cecchini’s husband Dave served as the head football coach at Valpo from 2014-2018 before taking over the same position at Bucknell University in Lewisburg, Pa. on Feb. 6.
“I’m so grateful to have had the opportunity to coach at Valparaiso University,” Cecchini said. “I’m leaving with five years’ worth of wonderful memories. It takes a village to put together a team and I received so much support from the athletic department, admissions, professors and parents. My greatest accomplishments and proudest moments have come from seeing my players succeed academically and athletically while supporting one another and building strong bonds. I’m going to miss Valpo and I look forward to following the women’s tennis program from afar.”
Cecchini helped the program show great progress during her four seasons as head coach. During the 2017-2018 campaign, Valpo posted its highest win total since 2006-2007 while winning a combined 73 singles matches and 38 doubles matches. One player was named to the MVC All-Select Team, while another earned MVC Scholar-Athlete First Team honors. The program won six MVC Weekly awards during the 2018 season after having three weekly awards total from 2009-2017, exemplifying the progress made during Cecchini’s tenure.
Under Cecchini’s guidance, women’s tennis boasted Valpo’s first Missouri Valley Conference champion in any sport in the fall of 2018, when a Valpo player won the Flight A singles bracket at the MVC Individual Championship. Cecchini instructed an MVC Scholar-Athlete First Team honoree for the second consecutive season.
“On behalf of Valparaiso University, I would like to thank Coach Tammy Cecchini for her leadership of our women’s program over the last four seasons,” Valparaiso University Director of Athletics Mark LaBarbera said. “Our program has made positive strides since she took over as head coach and her impact will be evident for years to come. I wish Coach Cecchini all the best in her future endeavors.”