Amanda Tabanera (Valencia, Calif. / Valencia) earned a win in singles play and Olivia and Claire Czerwonka (Kenosha, Wis. / Saint Joseph Catholic Academy) came away victorious in the top doubles match, but the Valparaiso University tennis team incurred a 6-1 setback to Eastern Michigan on Sunday. Several matches came down to the wire on an intense day of tennis at The Courts of Northwest Indiana.
How It Happened
- Eastern Michigan jumped ahead with wins at No. 2 and No. 3 doubles to clinch the doubles point, but a tightly-contested showdown was played to its completion at No. 1 doubles.
- In that match, the Czerwonka sisters rallied from down 4-2 by winning three straight games to take a 5-4 lead over Isabelle Popma and Vasavi Ganesan. Eastern Michigan held serve to tie the match at five and then broke serve to go up 6-5 before the Beacons broke back to send it to a tiebreak. Valpo broke serve at 5-5 in the breaker to take a 6-5 lead, then held serve on the final point to win the tiebreak 7-5 and the match 7-6(5).
- Tabanera was the first player to complete her singles match, making quick work of Popma at No. 3 singles by dropping just three games in a 6-1, 6-2 straight-set victory.
- Eastern Michigan captured wins at No. 6 and No. 5 in the next two matches to finish. At No. 2 singles, Claire bounced back after dropping the opening set to take Set 2 and force a decisive third set, but Prerna Vichare took the match 6-3, 2-6, 6-2 to clinch the team win for the Eagles.
- Shortly after that, the No. 4 singles match went final with Demi Jhaveri (Westlake, Ohio / Westlake) dropping a close 6-3, 7-6(5) decision that featured a tiebreaker in the second set.
- All eyes turned to the No. 1 singles court, where Olivia and Luisa Pelayo engaged in a thrilling showdown that featured quality tennis from both players.
- In the opening set, Olivia won a big deuce point at 4-4 to hold serve and go up 5-4. EMU fended off two set points, but Olivia won on the third, taking a deuce point again to break serve and win the set 6-4. In Set 2, Olivia rallied from two games down to tie the set on two occasions as the score fluctuated from 2-0 EMU to 2-2 to 4-2 EMU to 4-4. The Eagles went up 5-4 and had a chance to serve for the set, but Olivia broke to make it 5-5, then held to go up 6-5. Eastern Michigan fended off three match points to force a set tiebreak, and the Eagles won 7-6(3) to cause a third set.
- With the team score decided, the third set used a 10-point tiebreak format. Olivia fell behind 5-3 before winning three straight points to go up 6-5. She again rallied from down 8-6 to take a 9-8 lead. Eastern Michigan fended off a match point, then Valpo did the same to make it 10-10. Pelayo won the next two points to take a thrilling match 4-6, 7-6(3), 12-10.
Inside the Match
- Claire and Olivia defeated Popma/Ganesan, a pairing that won four Mid-American Conference Doubles Team of the Week awards last season.
- Claire upped her career doubles win total to 64, which represents the program record.
- Olivia snapped a tie for 10th in career doubles wins by garnering her 37th career doubles triumph. She has bumped Kate Kollarova (2000-2002, 36) out of the top 10 and now owns sole possession of 10th place in program history.
- Olivia and Claire improved their overall record to 12-7 this season including a flawless 7-0 mark in dual-match play. The sisters have won nine consecutive doubles matches including a perfect 5-0 mark this spring. Sunday represented the first match during their winning streak that went to a tiebreak.
- Tabanera picked up her 11th singles win of the year and collected her 31th collegiate singles victory. Her season singles win total ranks second on the team. In addition, she has rattled off three straight wins and is 7-1 in her last eight matches with the lone loss coming in three tight sets.
- This marked the first meeting on record between Valpo and Eastern Michigan.
Valpo (5-2) will look to return to the win column on Saturday, Feb. 19 by hosting Marian at 2 p.m. at The Courts of NWI.