Olivia Czerwonka (Kenosha, Wis. / Saint Joseph Catholic Academy) earned a significant victory on Friday afternoon outdoors at Gregory Street Tennis Courts in Normal, Ill., upstaging the defending Missouri Valley Conference Singles Player of the Year and reigning MVC Flight 1 Singles Champion at the top singles spot. Her victory came in Valpo’s 6-1 setback to host Illinois State.
How It Happened
- Olivia topped Tijana Zlatanovic 6-4, 6-4 at No. 1 singles, handing Zlatanovic the first Missouri Valley Conference singles loss of her collegiate career. Zlatanovic previously owned a career 9-0 MVC record at the top singles spot.
- Illinois State got out to an early lead in the match by winning on all three doubles courts. The No. 1 doubles match was a rematch of the Flight 1 Doubles title match from the fall.
- The hosts prevailed in straight sets at No. 3, No. 4, No. 5 and No. 6 singles.
- Claire Czerwonka (Kenosha, Wis. / Saint Joseph Catholic Academy) engaged in a tight showdown with Alexandra Abyasova at No. 2 singles, dropping the first set 6-4 before taking the second 7-5 to force a third-set tiebreak. Abyasova came up with a 10-6 win in the tiebreak, snapping Claire’s five-match winning streak.
Inside the Match
- Olivia’s win came over the two-time MVC Flight 1 Singles Champion who had not lost a Missouri Valley Conference match in her career. The top singles matchup on Friday pitted the Flight 1 Singles Champion vs. the Flight 2 Singles Champion from this year’s MVC Individual Championships.
- Zlatanovic, who had won five straight matches, was the Missouri Valley Conference Singles Player of the Year and Freshman of the Year last season while also earning All-MVC honors at No. 1 singles.
- The win marked Olivia’s 20th of the season as she secured just the fourth 20-win season in program history. Olivia joins Kate Kollarova (twice, 2000-01 and 2001-02) and Kate Evangelist (2004-05) as the only players in program history to win 20 singles matches in a single season. Olivia’s win total is tied with Evangelist for third on the program’s single-season singles wins list.
- Olivia upped her record to 3-1 in MVC play and 20-11 overall.
The Beacons (10-10, 2-2 MVC) will close out the regular season on Saturday at 11 a.m. at Bradley. The match will be played indoors at Pekin Parkside Athletics.