The first day of the Valparaiso Fall Invitational is in the books and the Crusaders opened with their best start in school history.
Valpo went 20-0 in singles matches and 5-0 in doubles play in the four-team event that welcomed Cardinal Stritch, Chicago State, and Western Illinois to town.
Sophomores Jeffrey Schorsch (Perrysburg, Ohio/Perrysburg) and Dave Bacalla (Skokie, Ill./Niles North) steamrolled their way for wins Group A singles. Schorsch defeated WIU's Christoph Haertel 6-3, 6-2 before beating Chicago State's Sergiu Muresan by the same 6-3, 6-2 count. Bacalla defeated Chicago State's Mario Noboa 6-4, 6-2 in the first match. He then played his way to a 6-1, 6-1 victory over Haertel.
Charlie Emhardt (Carmel, Ind./Carmel) gritted out a 6-4 first set win over Western Illinois' Chris Bunch in Group B singles. Emhardt rode the momentum to a convincing 6-0 second set triumph. The sophomore made quick work of Cardinal Stritch's Jimmy Le in the afternoon, claiming a 6-2, 6-1 win. Michael Savaglio (Kenosha, Wis./Mary D. Bradford) registered a 6-3, 6-2 win over Caio Barros of Cardinal Stritch before the junior defeated Bunch 6-0, 6-4 in his second match of the day.
Kyle Dunn (Fond du Lac, Wis./Fond du Lac) won handily over WIU's Collin Adams, 6-0, 6-2 in Group C singles. Cardinal Stritch's Abel da Costa made Dunn sweat it out in his afternoon match before the sophomore tallied a 6-2, 4-6, 10-5 victory. Freshman Garrett Gardner (Poland, Ohio/Poland) eked out a 6-4, 6-3 win over Cardinal Stritch's Raymond Weich in the early afternoon contest. Gardner rolled to a 6-0, 6-0 triumph over Adams in the 3:00 pm match.
Out at Valpo High School, Group D singles saw junior Lucas Waak (Manitowoc, Wis./Roncalli) and Chase Hamilton (Hinsdale, Ill./Central) rack up a pair of wins apiece. Waak beat Western Illinois' Surya Sawhney 6-1, 6-1 in the first match. He won the first set 6-0 in his second match before Cardinal Stritch's Donnersson Penna retired. Hamilton outlasted Nader Murad of Cardinal Stritch, 6-4, 6-2 in the rookie's first tilt. Hamilton handed Sawhney a 6-0, 6-4 loss in his latter singles contest.
Brian Hickey (Western Springs, Ill./Fenwick) and Daniel Oakes (Elburn, Ill./Saint Charles North) battled to score two wins in Group E singles play. Hickey took a 4-6, 6-4, 10-6 marathon match over Chicago State's Luis Ulloa before collecting his fourth win of the fall with a 6-0, 6-1 defeat of Cardinal Stritch's Stuart Nett. Oakes hung on to beat Alef Guimaraes of Cardinal Stritch 7-6 (5), 6-1. The junior later defeated Ulloa 6-1, 6-2.
Valparaiso enjoyed similar dominance in doubles play.
Schorsch/Emhardt defeated Haertel/Adams 8-6 in the pair's opening round doubles match. Bacalla/Hamilton silenced Weich/Barros 8-3 in Group A doubles action as well.
Dunn/Oakes recorded an 8-5 victory over Le/Fresse in Group B doubles play. Waak/Savaglio were also victorious in Group B doubles thanks to an 8-3 win.
In Group C doubles, Gardner/Hickey tallied an 8-3 triumph against Frank Wong/Stuart Nett of Cardinal Stritch.
The Valparaiso Fall Invitational will conclude Saturday at The Courts of NWI. Play is scheduled to begin at 9:00 am.