The Valparaiso University men’s tennis team enjoyed an immensely successful second day at the River Forest Invitational on Saturday, sweeping all nine singles matches while also garnering a doubles championship. Senior Garrett Gardner (Poland, Ohio / Poland) and freshman Kweisi Kenyatte (Detroit, Mich. / East English Village Preparatory) finished their first tournament as doubles mates with a title, while five individuals will compete in singles championship matches on Sunday.
How It Happened
- Kenyatte and Gardner bested Eastern Illinois’ Trent Reiman and Freddie O’Brien 8-5 to win the No. 2 doubles draw with a perfect 3-0 record for the weekend.
- Brandon Ancona (Belvidere, Ill. / Rockford Christian) earned his way into the No. 2 singles championship, notching his second victory of the tournament. He competed in a three-set showdown for the second consecutive day, this time topping Northern Illinois’ Eric Marbach 6-4, 4-6, 10-8. Ancona will clash with Saint Louis’ John Nogalski for the title on Sunday.
- Sophomore Gabriel Carvajal (Pembroke Pines, Fla. / Broward Virtual School [Florida Atlantic]) will also play for a championship in his first event in a Valpo uniform, as he fended off Northern Illinois’ Georg Lundkvist 6-4, 7-6 (10-8) in the No. 3 singles draw. Carvajal will matchup with Marquette’s Brandon Shanklin on Sunday.
- The Crusaders will also have representation in the No. 4 singles final, as sophomore Daniel Langston (Ponca City, Okla. / Ponca City) battled back to defeat Detroit Mercy’s Alvaro Arce on Saturday. Arce captured the first set 6-2, but Langston prevailed 6-2, 10-8 in the next two sets to nail down a date with Saint Louis’ Oscar Pachon on Sunday.
- Valpo players competed in both No. 6 singles semifinals, as Kenyatte topped Justin Nogalski of Saint Louis 6-4, 6-4, while redshirt sophomore Brian Pecyna (Glen Ellyn, Ill. / Homeschooled) cruised past Logan Charbonneau of Eastern Illinois 6-2, 6-0.
- Junior Chad Kissell (Latrobe, Pa. / Greater Latrobe) rebounded from a Friday defeat by beating O’Brien 6-4, 6-4 on Saturday. He’ll compete for fifth place in the No. 1 singles bracket on Sunday.
- Gardner also bounced back with a victory on Saturday, outlasting Northern Illinois’ Tom Hjertonsson 6-0, 3-6, 10-3. Gardner will play for fifth-place in the No. 5 singles bracket.
- Freshman Nick Marino (Northbrook, Ill. / Glenbrook North) and sophomore Franklin Brozovich (Fort Gratiot, Mich. / Port Huron Northern) both moved to 2-0 in the No. 7 singles portion of the event with wins on Saturday. Marino rolled UIC’s Piotr Lada 6-1, 6-2, while Brozovich rallied to knock off Northern Illinois’ Erich Schuette 4-6, 6-2, 10-2.
- In the No. 1 doubles fifth-place match, Ancona and Kissell prevailed 8-2 over a Detroit Mercy duo.
- Marino and Brozovich notched a tight 9-7 win over a Saint Louis combo in the third-place match at No. 3 doubles. At No. 4 doubles, Schuette and Carvajal topped Langston and Pecya 8-4.
Inside the Matches
- With his doubles win on Saturday, Gardner increased his career total to 55 and moved into a tie for seventh with Ben Dunham-Freer (2001-05) on Valpo’s all-time doubles wins list.
- Gardner’s singles win was the 59th of his career, which ranks seventh in program history. Kissell corralled his first singles win of the season, bumping his career total up to 49. He has a chance to become the 11th player in Valpo history to reach 50 career singles wins on Sunday.
- Kissell’s doubles triumph was the 44th of his Crusader career. He needs seven more to crack Valpo’s Top 10.
- Ancona’s singles victory is already the 25th of his career after he won 23 matches as a freshman, a single-season mark that ranks 10th in program history.
- Brozovich garnered his 13th career singles win, while Pecyna picked up his 14th.
The three-day River Forest Invitational concludes on Sunday. Five Crusaders will compete for championships in their respective singles brackets, and all nine players on the roster will be active in singles play.