The Valparaiso University men’s tennis team opened the 2020 spring season on Saturday afternoon with a tight showdown in Indianapolis. Host Butler edged its way to a 4-3 victory in a rivalry matchup that saw the two teams split the six singles slots.
How It Happened
- Butler (4-1) started the day by taking a doubles point that proved pivotal. The Bulldogs won at No. 1 and No. 3 doubles, while the No. 2 match between Daniel Langston (Ponca City, Okla. / Ponca City) and Philipp Leithold (Essingen, Germany / Theodor-Huess Gynasium) and Ryan Roegner and Drew Michael went unfinished with the two pairs tied 5-5.
- Valpo leaped ahead to a 2-1 edge in the team scoring when Brandon Ancona (Belvidere, Ill. / Rockford Christian) and Brian Peynca (Glen Ellyn, Ill. / Homeschooled) captured wins at the top two singles spots. The Butler Bubble utilizes four courts, and the final two singles matches are played when courts open up. Ancona was the only match of the first four played that ended in straight sets, as he topped Thomas Brennan 6-4, 6-3.
- At the second spot, Pecyna roared from a set down to pull off a 4-6, 6-3, 6-3 win over Filip Tensing to make it 2-1 Valpo.
- The other two singles matches that began immediately saw the hosts come away victorious with Butler winning three-set battles at No. 4 and No. 5 to reach the doorstep of victory with a 3-2 advantage in the team scoring.
- Leithold grabbed a 6-3, 7-5 win over Roegner at No. 6, but Michael came away with a 5-7, 6-4, 6-1 win over Oscar Mendoza (Guayaquil, Ecuador / Interamerican Academy) at fifth singles and the Bulldogs won the match 4-3.
Inside the Match
- This was the second straight season a match between Valpo and Butler was decided by the slimmest of margins. Valpo prevailed 4-3 in Northwest Indiana a year ago.
- Leithold garnered the ninth singles win of his freshman year, while Ancona (six) and Pecyna (seven) also added to their season win total.
- Pecyna upped his career win total to 47, while Ancona is at 67 singles wins, ninth on the school’s list.
- Ancona defeated Brennan for the second straight season, with last year’s coming in straight sets at No. 2 singles. Brennan was an All-Big East Second Team performer as a sophomore a year ago.
Valpo (0-1) will be back in action on Sunday at noon at The Courts of NWI, welcoming Western Michigan for the first home match of the spring.