After playing a key role in the Valparaiso University women’s tennis team finishing with its highest single-season win total in 14 years, sisters Olivia and Claire Czerwonka (Kenosha, Wis. / Saint Joseph Catholic Academy) were recognized for their performance on the court and in the classroom as the Missouri Valley Conference announced its Scholar-Athlete teams on Tuesday.
Olivia earned a place on the MVC Scholar-Athlete First Team, while Claire received MVC Scholar-Athlete Honorable Mention.
The owner of a 3.75 GPA in nursing, Olivia went 4-1 in Missouri Valley Conference doubles matches this season at No. 1 doubles and 4-1 in MVC matches at No. 2 singles. A member of the 2020-21 MVC All-Select Team, the sophomore went 10-1 over the final 11 regular-season doubles matches including a nine-match winning streak. She led the team with 11 singles victories.
A five-time MVC weekly award winner including four times this season, Olivia garnered two MVC Singles Player of the Week honors and a pair of MVC Doubles Team of the Week awards this spring alone. The team captain has been extremely active in the community both at Valpo and in her hometown, where she earned the Mayor’s Youth Commission Award for her achievements and positive contributions to the Kenosha Community. She was named a 2019-20 ITA Scholar-Athlete and the team’s Most-Improved Player during the 2019-20 season.
Paired with her younger sister, Claire went 4-1 in Missouri Valley Conference doubles matches this season, all at No. 1 doubles. She went 10-1 over the final 11 regular-season doubles matches, including a nine-match winning streak, and competed at No. 1 singles in 18 of her 19 matches this season. She owns 52 career doubles wins, third in the Valpo program record book, becoming the first Valpo player to reach 50 career doubles wins since 2007. Claire has also cracked Valpo’s all-time Top 10 in career singles wins with 44, which ranks ninth in the program record book.
The owner of a 3.52 GPA in nursing, Claire owns nine career MVC weekly honors, six of which have come as part of the MVC Doubles Team of the Week. She was an MVC Singles Player of the Week, two-time MVC Doubles Team of the Week honoree and recognized in the MVC Scholar-Athlete Spotlight this season. The senior is a three-time member of Valpo Dean’s List, member of Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing and recipient of Valpo Presidential Academic Honors Award. She is also a member of Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, including a SAAC sub-committee, the community engagement team, and was part of the committee responsible for helping revise the Valparaiso University #oneVALPO promise, a diversity and inclusion initiative. A Team captain, Claire organizes part of a student-led nursing study session with her peers in addition to volunteering at St. Teresa (Café Mana), St. Agnes Adult Day Care, the Boys & Girls Club of Chesterton, TradeWinds, Valparaiso Nazarene Church, Phil’s Friends and Hilltop Day Care. A 2019-2020 ITA Scholar-Athlete, Claire was named the team MVP for the 2019-20 season.
2021 Missouri Valley Conference Women’s Tennis Scholar-Athlete First Team
Name School Yr. GPA Major
Laura Arciniegas* Illinois State Sr. 4.00 Sport Management (Masters)
Natalia Barbery* Bradley Sr. 3.70 Industrial Engineering (Engineering Management)
Ellie Burger* Missouri State Sr. 3.86 General Business
Olivia Czerwonka Valparaiso So. 3.75 Nursing
Liza Petushkova* Drake Sr. 3.73 Accounting and Finance
Alyson Piskulic Missouri State Sr. 4.00 Cell and Molecular Biology
Mathilde Sreeves Stony Brook So. 3.96 Computer Science (Philosophy Minor)
Daria Walczak Drake Jr. 3.94 International Business
*2020 Scholar-Athlete First Team
2021 Missouri Valley Conference Women’s Tennis Scholar-Athlete Honorable Mention Team
Name School Yr. GPA Major
Emma Carr UNI So. 3.72 Psychology
Claire Czerwonka Valparaiso Sr. 3.52 Nursing
Olivia Fain UNI Jr. 3.55 Biology
Bozana Lojpur Bradley So. 3.32 Chemistry (Business)
Claire Martin Missouri State Sr. 3.86 Marketing Research
Nikki Perlwitz Bradley So. 3.35 International Studies
Mara Presot Missouri State Jr. 4.00 Hospitality Leadership
Jelena Vujicic Illinois State Sr. 4.00 Sport Management (Masters)