After missing the previous two matches with an injury, Eleanor Chapman (East Sussex, England / Eastbourne College [UT Martin / Lipscomb]) made her presence felt in a big way in her return to the Valparaiso University tennis lineup on Saturday.
With the team score tied at 3-3, the midyear transfer from UT Martin delivered in a pressure-packed third set, beating Isabella Righi of Northern Illinois 6-1 at No. 6 singles to help the visiting Beacons edge the Huskies 4-3 at Chick Evans Field House in DeKalb, Ill. Head coach Bob Modesto’s team has won six of its seven matches this season.
How It Happened
- The match started off favorably for the Beacons, who took the early lead by grabbing the doubles point. A dominant performance at No. 3 doubles set the tone with Chapman and Demi Jhaveri (Westlake, Ohio / Westlake) teaming up to dispatch the Northern Illinois tandem 6-1.
- The Huskies took the No. 2 doubles match, so the point hinged on a tight matchup at No. 1. Olivia Czerwonka (Kenosha, Wis. / Saint Joseph Catholic Academy) and Moira Silva (Houston, Texas / Houston Tennis Academy) battled their way to a 7-6 victory over Erika Dimitriev and Anastasia Rakita.
- Northern Illinois won on the No. 2 and No. 3 singles courts, but Amanda Tabanera (Valencia, Calif. / Valencia) earned a straight-set triumph over Reagan Welch at No. 4, winning 6-2, 7-6(4).
- A three-set battle at No. 1 singles resulted in Czerwonka coming away with a 6-2, 2-6, 6-3 win over Rakita. This helped Valpo inch out to a 3-2 lead in the match.
- The match was played on four courts, so the No. 5 and No. 6 singles matches got underway when courts became available and were the last matches left in action with the team outcome on the line.
- Northern Illinois won the first of those two matches that went final at No. 5 singles, and all eyes turned to the No. 6 singles court.
- Chapman jumped out to the early lead in the match by taking a tight first set 7-5. Righi rebounded to win the middle set 6-2, but Chapman showed great poise, bouncing right back by dropping just one game in the decisive third set and sending her team into celebration.
Inside the Match
- Czerwonka garnered her 55th career doubles win, surpassing Whitney Chada (2003-2007) for a spot in the top three and moving into a tie with Mara Sonkin (2000-2004) for second in program history. The program record holder for doubles wins is Czerwonka’s former doubles partner and still sister, Claire Czerwonka.
- Czerwonka upped her career singles win total to 57 and improved to 11-2 this season including 7-0 in dual matches. She has now tied Claire for fifth in program history in career singles wins.
- Tabanera is up to 44 career singles wins, one away from joining the program’s all-time top 10.
- Czerwonka’s win came over Rakita, who posted a 20-13 singles record last season.
- Tabanera’s win over Welch helped her avenge a 6-2, 6-2 defeat when the two players squared off a year ago.
- This marked the third consecutive year Valpo and Northern Illinois have played a match decided by a 4-3 score. The Huskies had won five of the previous six matchups between the two teams prior to Saturday.
- Valpo has rattled off three straight wins with two of the three victories coming in 4-3 cliffhangers.
The Beacons (6-1) will host Western Michigan on Saturday, Feb. 18 at 2 p.m. at The Courts of Northwest Indiana.