The Valparaiso University men’s tennis team opened up the 2019-2020 season on Friday by competing in the River Forest Invitational in Chicago. The opening round of the three-day, eight-team event saw three Valpo singles players and two of the team’s doubles duos notch victories. The matches were hosted on clay courts at River Forest Tennis Club.
How It Happened
- Two of the three Valpo doubles teams advanced in winners’ bracket play by virtue of season-opening triumphs on Friday. The top tandem of seniors Brandon Ancona (Belvidere, Ill. / Rockford Christian) and Brian Pecyna (Glen Ellyn, Ill. / Homeschooled) bested Missouri Valley Conference foes Pol Botifol Ruiz and Jorge Bartra of Illinois State on a tiebreak 8-7(4).
- In the No. 2 doubles draw, senior Daniel Langston (Ponca City, Okla. / Ponca City) was paired with freshman Philipp Leithold (Esslingen, Germany / Theodor-Huess Gynasium) for an 8-4 win over a Youngstown State duo.
- Senior Gabriel Carvajal (Pembroke Pines, Fla. / Broward Virtual School [Florida Atlantic]) started his season with a 6-3, 6-3 straight-set win over Illinois State’s Diego Herrera at third singles.
- In the fourth singles draw, Langston eked out a 7-6(4), 6-4 triumph over UIC’s Niko Wasilewicz.
- In addition to recording a win in his doubles debut, Leithold was victories in his first collegiate singles match. He topped Green Bay’s Dipin Wadhwa 6-4, 6-2 in the No. 5 flight.
- Ancona dropped a tight three-set match at No. 1 singles against Youngstown State’s Vasilil Vardakis 3-6, 6-3, 11-9. Ancona, Pecyna (No. 2) and Franklin Brozovich (No.6) will have a chance to bounce back in consolation-bracket action on Saturday, as will the No. 3 doubles team of Carvajal and Brozovich.
Inside the Matches
- Ancona’s doubles win was the 51st of his career, moving him to within three of climbing in to Valpo’s all-time Top 10.
- Pecyna’s doubles triumph was the 35th of his collegiate tenure.
- Leithold earned a spot in the lineup as a freshman and had a strong debut with doubles and singles victories.
- Carvajal is up to 36 career singles wins, while Langston has 42 singles and 29 doubles victories after his successful Friday. Langston joined Leithold as the only players to win in both singles and doubles on the season’s first day.
Round 2 in both singles and doubles will take place on Saturday in Chicago.