The Valparaiso University men’s tennis team officially began its quest to repeat as Horizon League regular season champions on Friday afternoon at the Courts of Northwest Indiana. For the first time in program history, the Crusaders played a league match as the defending champions and outright league favorites, distinctions they lived up to with a 7-0 win over UIC.
How It Happened
- After debuting a new doubles alignment last weekend, the Crusaders (7-1, 1-0 Horizon) stuck with the new pairings for the league opener. They were once again successful, as Valpo jumped out to the 1-0 lead after taking the doubles point from the Flames (3-4, 0-1).
- Jeffrey Schorsch (Perrysburg, Ohio / Perrysburg) teamed with Dave Bacalla (Skokie, Ill. / Niles North) and competed at No. 1 doubles for the second straight week. Their match with Carl Hedstrom and Marcelo Dib went unfinished with Schorsch and Bacalla leading 5-1.
- At No. 2 doubles, senior Charlie Emhardt (Carmel, Ind. / Carmel) was paired with sophomore Chad Kissell (Latrobe, Pa. / Greater Latrobe). The duo topped Niko Wasilewicz and Christian San Andres 6-2.
- Valpo secured the doubles point when Garrett Gardner (Poland, Ohio / Poland) and Kyle Dunn (Fond du Lac, Wis. / Fond du Lac) cruised to a 6-0 win over William Wale and Johan Hedstrom at No. 3 doubles.
- In seemingly the blink of an eye, Schorsch had won his No. 1 singles match over Carl Hedstrom 6-1, 6-1. The match was by far the quickest of the day.
- The next court to finish was No. 6, as Gardner defeated Wale 6-2, 6-0.
- Freshman Brandon Ancona (Belvidere, Ill. / Rockford Christian) took care of business at No. 5 singles, defeating San Andres 6-3, 6-3.
- The Crusaders clinched the match as Kissell dispatched Wasilewicz 6-3, 6-3 at No. 2 singles.
- After winning the first set 6-4, Dunn pulled away from Johan Hedstrom 6-1 in Set 2 to emerge victorious at No. 4 singles.
- Bacalla rounded out a perfect performance for the Crusaders with a 6-4, 6-2 win over Marcelo Dib at No. 3 singles.
Inside the Match
- Emhardt picked up his program-record 101st career doubles win.
- Schorsch is now 13-6 on the season and has a program-record 97 career singles victories.
- Dunn still owns the team lead with 14 wins against five losses.
- The Crusaders have now rapped off six straight victories.
- Valpo’s seniors will leave the program undefeated in Horizon League openers and also unbeaten in regular season dual matches with UIC. The Flames haven’t beaten the Crusaders since April 20, 2013.
- This marked the first time this season Valpo didn’t drop a single set.
Thoughts from Head Coach Jim Daugherty
“The thing that stood out in this match was how we finished our matches strong. There were a few struggles in the middle, but we pulled away very well and did a great job closing out matches.”
“It’s nice to start conference on a positive note. It’s good to have a league match under our belt and be off to a good start. Going into spring break, this whole run that we’ve had here is very uplifting. The guys are very excited and highly motivated right now. Sometimes, it’s rough to keep the enthusiasm going at this time of year, but they’re really having a good time and are really excited about the spring trip.”
The Crusaders will begin their spring trip on Sunday, March 5 at 9 a.m. as they visit Rollins College in Orlando Fla. This is the first of seven matches in the Sunshine State.