Tennis Edged by Preseason Favorite, Defending Champion Drake in MVC Opener
Saturday, March 23, 2024
Tennis Edged by Preseason Favorite, Defending Champion Drake in MVC Opener

The Valparaiso University tennis team nearly knocked off Missouri Valley Conference preseason favorite and defending league champion Drake in Saturday’s conference opener at The Courts of Northwest Indiana, but the Bulldogs edged out a 4-3 win in a match that saw Drake pull off third-set triumphs in tightly contested matches at the top three singles spots.  

How It Happened

  • The No. 2 doubles tandem of Sydney Stone (Brisbane, Australia / Tyler JC) and Elizabeth Sobieski (Muskego, Wis. / Muskego) clinched the doubles point for the Beacons by besting Darinka Stepan and Nicole Lee 6-2. That clinched the point because Valpo prevailed by default at No. 3 doubles.
  • The highlight of singles play for the hosts came at No. 5 as Stone swept Lee 6-3, 7-5. That was the second singles match to reach its completion and gave Valpo a 3-1 lead in the team score since the Bulldogs also defaulted at No. 6 singles.
  • The top three matches in the singles lineup were close battles with Valpo needing to pull off one victory to earn a signature win. At No. 2, Olivia Czerwonka (Kenosha, Wis. / Saint Joseph Catholic Academy) recovered from a 6-0 setback in Set 1 to take the second set in a lopsided manner at 6-1, but Mille Haagensen won a close third set 6-4.
  • At No. 1, Moira Silva (Houston, Texas / Houston Tennis Academy) also picked up a Set-2 triumph to force a decisive third, but she succumbed to Ines Stephani 6-3, 4-6, 6-1, a match that evened the team score at 3-3.
  • The final match to reach its completion came at No. 3, where Mia Bertino (Lockport, Ill. / Joliet Catholic) continued the trend of Valpo resilience by coming from a set down to force a third. She eventually incurred a 6-2, 4-6, 7-5 setback to Rebecca Ehn.

Inside the Match

  • Stone picked up her 13th singles win of the season.
  • Stone and Sobieski have achieved 11 doubles wins as a tandem this year.
  • This was the latest chapter in a season filled with thrilling matches as eight of the squad’s last 11 matches have been decided by the slimmest of margins at 4-3. Valpo has split those eight matches at 4-4.
  • Drake reached the NCAA Tournament last season after beating Illinois State in the MVC title match. The Bulldogs went 7-1 in the regular season a year ago with the only loss coming to the Redbirds.
  • Silva’s close three-set loss at No. 1 singles came to Stephani, who was the MVC Player of the Year last season

Up Next

The Beacons (9-7, 0-1 MVC) will visit Illinois State on Friday at 2 p.m. in Bloomington, Ill. to begin an Easter Weekend road trip.