The first Missouri Valley Conference Championship event of the 2022-2023 athletic year is upon us as the Valparaiso University tennis team makes the long trip to Springfield, Mo. for the league’s annual autumn Individual Tennis Championships, which will take place Friday through Sunday this weekend.
The Beacons have every reason for optimism entering this week after a strong showing at the Illinois State Redbird Invite last weekend that saw quality performances across the board. In singles play, Demi Jhaveri (Westlake, Ohio / Westlake) won the Flight 2 title, while Olivia Czerwonka (Kenosha, Wis. / Saint Joseph Catholic Academy) and Moira Silva (Houston, Texas / Houston Tennis Academy) shared the Flight 1 Singles championship. Furthermore, Mia Bertino (Lockport, Ill. / Joliet Catholic), Elizabeth Sobieski (Muskego, Wis. / Muskego) and Amanda Tabanera (Valencia, Calif. / Valencia) all won two of their three singles matches, meaning every Beacon who participated had a winning record in singles play in a tournament that featured MVC foes Illinois State and Bradley as well as Eastern Illinois.
“It was really unbelievable,” head coach Bob Modesto said. “The performances right across the board were over the top and beyond expectation. It starts with (graduate assistant coach) Claire Czerwonka and her coaching. What she brings to the table as a coach is second to none. With Olivia and Moira both making the finals against teams like Illinois State and Bradley, some would say that was an impossible task. For them to do that really bodes well for how hard they’re working.”
The Individual MVC Championships bring back fond memories for Olivia, who won the Flight 2 Singles title and the Flight 1 Doubles crown alongside her sister Claire at last year’s event, which was hosted in Valpo. Modesto is optimistic the program can build on last year’s success this time around.
“We had that great performance last year, and I’m even more fired up and excited about this year,” Modesto said. “I think that says it all. We have great expectations. We’re really fired up and pumped. When you’re working as hard as they’ve worked as a team, you’re excited to compete in the conference championships.”
Olivia is fresh off a notable individual milestone, as she recently eclipsed 100 career wins combined between singles and doubles while also hitting the 50-win threshold in both singles and doubles.
This year’s MVC Individual Championships features nine teams as all three new members – Murray State, UIC and Belmont – sponsor tennis. They join Valley stalwarts Bradley, Drake, Illinois State, Missouri State, UNI and Valpo. Play will begin at 9 a.m. CT each day at Cooper Tennis Complex in Springfield with players competing in seven singles flights and three doubles flights. Click here for brackets/draws.
Athletics-Recreation Center (ARC)
1009 Union Street
Valparaiso, IN 46383