The Valparaiso University women’s tennis team has already usurped its victory total from a year ago thanks to a 5-2 triumph over Eastern Illinois on Sunday afternoon at The Courts of Northwest Indiana in Valparaiso. Four of the six singles matches required a third set on a competitive afternoon of tennis that featured a strong showing from head coach Bob Modesto’s team.
How It Happened
- Valpo started the match in positive fashion by taking the doubles point. The sister duo of Olivia Czerwonka (Kenosha, Wis. / Saint Joseph Catholic Academy) and Claire Czerwonka (Kenosha, Wis. / Saint Joseph Catholic Academy) coasted to a 6-2 win at the top doubles spot.
- Amanda Tabanera (Valencia, Calif. / Valencia) and Dao Sysouvanh (Sun Prairie, Wis. / Sun Prairie) teamed up for a 6-4 win at No. 3 doubles, allowing Valpo to clinch the point. The No. 2 doubles matchup went unfinished.
- Four of the six singles matches advanced to a third set, but the two that were completed in straight sets both went the way of the hosts. Tabanera grabbed a 6-2, 6-2 win at No. 3, while Sysouvanh rolled to a 6-3, 6-0 triumph at No. 6. That put Valpo in a favorable position with the team leading 3-0 and needing only one more victory with four matches still active.
- All four of those matches featured lengthy third sets, with the Panthers (5-6) eventually notching a win at No. 4 to tighten the team score to 3-1. Olivia came from a set down to beat Karla Contreras at No. 2 singles, winning 4-6, 7-6(1), 6-3 to clinch the match for Valpo.
- Shortly after Olivia’s court wrapped up, her sister Claire dropped her final set to Rachel Papavasilopoulos, the 2019 Ohio Valley Conference Player of the Year. An entertaining battle between two quality players saw Papavasilopoulos narrowly escape with a Set 2 win that set the stage for an eventual 3-6, 7-6(5), 6-3 victory.
- Demi Jhaveri (Westlake, Ohio / Westlake) turned things around at No. 5 singles after dropping the opening set, riding the momentum from a dramatic Set 2 win en route to a 3-6, 7-6(5), 6-3 victory over Brittany Steven in the final match to wrap up.
Inside the Match
- Valpo (4-4) gained its fourth victory of the season, already surpassing the win total from a year ago. The squad has also already secured its largest win total against Division-I opponents since 2016.
- Valpo won its first home match of the spring season for the first time since 2015.
- This was the first time Valpo played Eastern Illinois in a women’s tennis dual match since a 6-1 loss on Jan. 27, 2008 in Charleston.
- Doubles has been indicative of the team result for Valpo so far this season. The squad is 4-0 when taking the doubles point and 0-4 when dropping doubles.
- Tabanera remained the team leader in singles wins with 13, while four others own 11 triumphs apiece. Tabanera and Sysouvanh are tied for the best dual match mark at 6-2.
- Claire picked up her 10th doubles win of the season to boost her career total to 37. She now owns sole possession of ninth in program history in career doubles victories, snapping a tie with Kate Kollarova (2000-2002). Next up on the list is Paige Heuer (2013-2017), who is eighth with 41 doubles wins.
Thoughts from Head Coach Bob Modesto
“I’m so proud of the determination and fight that we played with today. I knew there was going to be a turn in the results with how well we’ve been playing in recent matches. It was very important to get back in the win column after losing some close matches lately. I see things continuing to go well for us in the future if we sustain our hard work and positive attitude.”
Valpo will play its second straight home match on Sunday, Feb. 23 against SIUE at 12:30 p.m. at The Courts of Northwest Indiana.