Adam Whitmer (Shipshewana, Ind./Westview H.S.) won his sixth straight singles match and Kyle Stump (Plymouth, Ind./Plymouth H.S.) also posted a singles victory on Wednesday afternoon, but it was not enough for Valparaiso as the Crusaders fell 5-2 to Butler at the Valpo Tennis Complex in the home finale.
Whitmer, who remains undefeated at 5-0 in Horizon League play, won for the 10th time in his last 11 matches, defeating Brandon Bayliss 6-4, 7-6 (4) at third singles. Stump also needed a super tie-break for the third set to defeat Zach Ervin 2-6, 7-5, 10-7 at the fifth spot in the order. Stump has won three straight matches now and improves to 7-3 at the fifth position.
Butler (10-12, 5-2 Horizon) won three of the other four singles matches in straight sets though. Bryce Warren defeated Tom Litscher (Eau Claire, Wis./Memorial H.S.) 6-3, 6-0 at two while Chris Herron was a 6-2, 6-1 winner over Kevin DeHerrera (Littleton, Colo./Chatfield H.S.) at the fourth spot. Lenz Theodor added a 6-3, 6-1 win over Phidias Fortune (San Antonio, Texas/Madison H.S.) at sixth singles. Alex Lau (Bloomington, Minn./Jefferson Senior H.S.), the lone senior on the Crusader roster, had his Senior Day spoiled by Ben Raynauld, falling a super tie-break for the third set 6-2, 6-7 (5), 10-8.
The Bulldogs opened play sweeping all three doubles matches. Ervin and Warren were 8-4 victors over Lau and Litscher at the top of the lineup while Theodor and Stephen McLoughlin topped DeHerrera and Stump 8-2 at two. Herron and Bayliss added a 9-7 win over Whitmer and Fortune at third doubles.
“Even though we lost the match, I think the guys are starting to believe that they can compete with the top Horizon League schools,” head coach Jim Daugherty said.
Valparaiso (5-10, 2-3) will begin its final regular season road trip of the season on Saturday in Youngstown, Ohio. First serve against Youngstown State is set for 1 p.m. CDT.