Fifth-year senior Olivia Czerwonka (Kenosha, Wis. / Saint Joseph Catholic Academy) continued to author her Valparaiso University tennis legacy on Saturday afternoon with a pair of singles victories at the BGSU Invitational, hosted by Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green, Ohio. Czerwonka’s first win of the day tied the program record for career singles triumphs that was set by Kate Evangelist from 2003-2007, and the tie didn’t last long as later in the day Czerwonka picked up her 66th career singles success to move all alone atop the program record book.
How It Happened
- This tournament utilizes a unique format where a Valpo duo is matched up with a duo from another school for one doubles match and two singles matches and whichever pair wins two of three advances in the main draw.
- Czerwonka picked up her record-tying 65th career singles win over Baker of host BGSU 6-2, 6-1. Moira Silva (Houston, Texas / Houston Tennis Academy) topped Fonseca of BGSU 6-2, 6-1, and the Silva/Czerwonka combo had also won doubles against the host Falcons on Friday, so they advanced in the main draw.
- Later in the day on Saturday, Silva and Czerwonka faced off with Casati/Kizelbasheva of DePaul in the quarterfinal round of the tournament. They dropped doubles 3-8, but both Beacons bounced back to find success in singles and send the tandem into Sunday’s semifinal round. Czerwonka’s 6-0, 6-4 win over Casati shattered the program record, while Silva picked up a 6-1, 6-3 victory over Kizelbasheva.
- The Valpo pair of Mia Bertino (Lockport, Ill. / Joliet Catholic) and Jolene Fernandes (Calgary, Alberta, Canada) played singles against Youngstown State after beating the Penguins in doubles on Friday. Bertino lost a nail biter to Greyling, winning the first set 6-2 before falling on a tight tiebreak in the second set 6-7(5) and in an equally cliff-hanging third-set tiebreak 11-13. However, Fernandes picked up her teammate by earning a 6-3, 6-4 win over Minich in the pivotal singles match, sending the Valpo pair to the quarterfinal round.
- Fernandes capped her 2-0 day of singles competition with an impressive rally in her match against Toledo’s Opaciuch. After dropping the first set on six straight games, she rebounded with a commendable 6-4 victory in Set 2 before pulling away for a 10-3 triumph in the third-set tiebreak. Bertino and Fernandes fell 2-8 to the Toledo tandem in doubles while Bertino lost to Tallamraju 3-6, 3-6 in singles, so the Rockets advanced to the semifinals.
- Valpo picked up another singles win thanks to Elizabeth Sobieski (Muskego, Wis. / Muskego) defeating DePaul’s Goncharov 6-3, 6-4. Sydney Stone (Brisbane, Australia / Tyler JC) dropped her singles match to the Blue Demons and Sobieski/Stone succumbed their doubles match to DePaul on Friday, so the Beacon tandem saw their run come to an end.
Inside the Match
- Fernandes defeated Lili Minich, an all-conference second team performer in the Horizon League last year.
- Silva notched a big singles victory against DePaul’s Yuliya Kizelbasheva, who was a 2022 All-Big East Conference First Team honoree and was ranked No. 20 in the ITA Midwest Regional singles rankings last season. Kizelbasheva’s impressive resume also included All-Big East Second Team status in 2021.
- Czerwonka’s record-setting singles win came against DePaul’s Emily Casati, who spent four years in the Big Ten Conference playing for Illinois before transferring to DePaul this season.
- The program’s career singles record stood for over a decade and a half prior to Saturday. Kate Evangelist, a Glen Ellyn, Ill. native and Glenbard West High School product, compiled her 65 wins during a career that spanned 2003-2007.
- Silva’s two singles wins on Saturday lifted her career total to 21, and this is only the fall of her sophomore season.
- Fernandes went 3-0 in singles this weekend including 2-0 on Saturday to improve her season mark to 4-0 during the early stages of her freshman campaign.
The BGSU Invite will conclude on Sunday in Bowling Green, Ohio.