The Valparaiso University tennis team enjoyed a successful opening day of the Rocket Invite on Friday, earning a pair of victories in a hidden duals format. The Beacons bested Bucknell 5-2 and outdid Youngstown State 4-2 with the two teams scheduled to face off in doubles on Saturday.
How It Happened – Bucknell
- Valpo prevailed in a pair of straight-set singles matches over Bucknell. Olivia Czerwonka (Kenosha, Wis. / Saint Joseph Catholic Academy) garnered a 6-1, 6-4 victory at the No. 1 singles spot, topping a two-time All-Patriot League selection Daniela Bellini.
- At the No. 3 position, Amanda Tabanera (Valencia, Calif. / Valencia) earned a lopsided victory over Bucknell’s Tyne Miller 6-0, 6-2.
- At No. 4 singles, Demi Jhaveri (Westlake, Ohio / Westlake) registered a 6-2, 7-6(4) triumph over Bucknell’s Laurel Utterback.
- In addition, Isabella Schoolcraft (Bargersville, Ind. / Center Grove) dispatched Kate Novak in straight sets 6-4, 6-2 at No. 5, while Allison McConnell (Westland, Mich. / Churchill) earned a 6-0, 6-2 victory over Caroline Marcus at sixth singles.
- The No. 2 singles match between Bucknell and Valpo was a tightly-contested battle, with Whitney King edging Claire Czerwonka (Kenosha, Wis. / Saint Joseph Catholic Academy) in a pair of tight sets – 7-6, 6-4.
- On Friday morning, the Valpo No. 3 doubles tandem of Jhaveri and McConnell started their weekend on a high note, besting Bucknell’s Sebulsky/Novak in a tight 7-5 match.
- All three doubles matches between the Beacons and Bison were tightly contested, with Bucknell prevailing by that same score of 7-5 at both No. 1 and No. 2.
How It Happened – Youngstown State
- Olivia moved to 2-0 on the day by coming from a set down to nip Cecilia Rosas 4-6, 7-6(2), 10-8 at No. 1 singles.
- In the No. 4 singles match, Jhaveri capped a 2-0 day by topping Youngstown State’s Elisa Rigazio 6-3, 6-2.
- Valpo prevailed at No. 5 singles on a compelling third-set tiebreak. Schoolcraft got the best of Maria Oliveria 6-3, 2-6, 13-11.
- McConnell won by default at No. 6 singles against the Penguins, but took on Toledo’s Laura Morera in an additional match and rallied to win 3-6, 6-3, 10-8.
Inside the Matches
- Olivia continued her run of success by upping her season record to 8-1 in singles play with another pair of victories against high-caliber foes. She owns 32 career singles wins and 60 victories combined between singles and doubles.
- Olivia’s win over Youngstown State came against an Akron transfer who was the team MVP at Akron in 2019-20, while her Bucknell victory came against a two-time all-league performer.
- Tabanera’s win was the 24th of her collegiate tenure and her fourth this fall.
- Jhaveri and McConnell garnered their fourth doubles triumph of the season. McConnell upped her career doubles win total to eight, while Jhaveri is up to 19 doubles wins in a Valpo uniform.
- McConnell’s singles wins lifted her season total to four and her career total to seven.
- Schoolcraft went 2-0 on the day to bolster her season win total to three and her career singles win total to 20.
- Jhaveri was also unblemished over her two singles matches, upping her season win total to four and her career total to 20.
The Rocket Invite will continue on Saturday at 9 a.m. CT in Toledo, Ohio.