In a highly competitive men’s tennis match on Friday afternoon, Valparaiso came up on the short end of a 5-2 score against UIC at the Valpo Tennis Complex.
UIC (12-10, 3-2 Horizon) opened winning a closely contested opening doubles point. The Flames won the first match at the second spot 8-4 as Nate Kirk and Sebastian Lystad topped Valpo’s Adam Whitmer (Shipshewana, Ind./Westview H.S.) and Chris Baum (Charlotte, N.C./Providence H.S.). The final two contests came down to the wire. At number one, Tom Litscher (Eau Claire, Wis./Memorial H.S.) and Arne Deihle (Reutlingen, Germany/Johannes Kepler H.S.) battled from 4-1 down to take a 7-6 lead against Luis Gonzaga and Shepardson, but UIC won the final three games to take the match 9-7 and secure the opening point. Valpo won third doubles though, as Kyle Stump (Plymouth, Ind./Plymouth H.S.) and Kevin DeHerrera (Littleton, Colo./Chatfield H.S.) posted a tie-break triumph against Camilo Giraldo and Dave Robare 9-8 (3).
The Flames extended the advantage to 2-0 when Lystad defeated Whitmer 6-3, 6-2 at the top of the singles lineup, but the Crusaders continued to battle. Baum cut the deficit in half at third singles for the Brown and Gold with a 6-2, 6-2 victory over Bastan Harbo. UIC won the next two decisions though to earn the team victory. Kirk was a 6-2, 6-4 winner against Litscher at number four while Gonzaga topped Stump 6-0, 6-4 at the second spot. Valpo earned another win at five as DeHerrera bested Shepardson 6-3, 6-7 (5), 10-7, but the Flames won the final match at sixth singles in three sets as Giraldo defeated Siddarth Mehta (South Bend, Ind./Clay H.S.) 6-2, 1-6, 6-3.
“It has been tough being on the brink of winning so many matches both individually and as a team yet coming up empty,” head coach Jim Daugherty said. “We have to find a way to convert on the key points and moments in the matches.”
Valparaiso (3-12, 1-4) will continue its season-ending homestand on Tuesday afternoon, stepping out of conference action to host Chicago State. First serve is set for 3 p.m. against the Cougars at the Valpo Tennis Complex.