Four Valparaiso University tennis players picked up first-round singles victories at the Illinois State Redbird Invitational on Friday in Normal, Ill. In addition, a pair of Valpo doubles teams were victorious in their tournament-opening matches. The volleyball team was in attendance to cheer on the tennis squad during the day, then head coach Bob Modesto’s team returned the favor on Friday evening by taking in the Valpo volleyball match at Illinois State.
How It Happened
- Freshman Moira Silva (Houston, Texas / Houston Tennis Academy) competed in the Flight 1 Singles draw and earned the biggest victory of the day, knocking off Illinois State standout Tijana Zlatanovic in a three-set battle 6-2, 2-6, 6-4.
- Senior Olivia Czerwonka (Kenosha, Wis. / Saint Joseph Catholic Academy) also took part in the Flight 1 Singles draw and started the tournament in style. She recorded a straight-set win over Bradley’s Anna Belogliadova, 6-4, 6-2.
- In Flight 2 Singles, Demi Jhaveri (Westlake, Ohio / Westlake) rallied from a set down to beat Eastern Illinois’ Addison Brown 3-6, 6-3, 6-2.
- The fourth Valpo victory in singles play came courtesy of Mia Bertino (Lockport, Ill. / Joliet Catholic) in Flight 4. She dispatched EIU’s Claire Perez-Korinko in “double bagel” fashion without dropping a game.
- Czerwonka and Silva engaged in a tight Flight 1 Doubles showdown with Hailey/Andrade of Bradley and prevailed 7-5 to advance to the semifinal round.
- In Flight 3 Doubles, Tabanera and Bertino enjoyed a 6-2 triumph over Ellis/Steven of EIU.
Inside the Matches
- Silva’s victory came against Zlatanovic, the 2021 Missouri Valley Conference Player of the Year. Zlatanovic finished the 2022 season with a 9-1 career singles record in conference play with the only loss coming to Valpo’s Olivia Czerwonka. Zlatanovic was also the Flight 1 Singles champion during the 2021 MVC Individual Championships.
- The Flight 1 Doubles win came over a tandem that features the former SWAC Player of the Year and a tandem that twice won the MVC Doubles Team of the Week last season.
- Czerwonka reached a singles win milestone by garnering the 50th victory of her collegiate career. She moved past Jill Dierberg (2002-2006) for sole possession of eighth on the program’s all-time list. She becomes just the eighth player in program history to reach the 50-win threshold and just the second since 2007 along with her older sister Claire.
- The doubles victory was the 49th of Czerwonka’s collegiate tenure, as she sits in sixth on the career doubles list. She needs one more doubles victory to reach 50 and one more win in either singles or doubles to reach the 100-win milestone combined between singles and doubles for her collegiate tenure.
The Illinois State Invite will continue on Saturday in Normal.