A pair of Valparaiso University tennis players enjoyed first-place finishes in their respective singles flights this weekend at the Illinois State Invite, hosted by the Redbirds in Normal, Ill. Fifth-year senior Olivia Czerwonka (Kenosha, Wis. / Saint Joseph Catholic Academy) prevailed in Flight 1 Singles, while sophomore Elizabeth Sobieski (Muskego, Wis. / Muskego) came out on top in Flight 5.
How It Happened
- Czerwonka had to rally after dropping the opening set in the Flight 1 Singles title match against UIC’s Gustafsson. She rebounded from a 2-6 defeat to grab the remaining sets, 6-3, 10-6.
- Sobieski swept her title match against Eastern Michigan’s Brichackova in Flight 5, winning 6-1, 6-3 to take the crown.
- The Beacons had another winning day of singles action, posting a combined record of 6-1. In Flight 3, Mia Bertino (Lockport, Ill. / Joliet Catholic) bested Eloundor of Chicago State 6-2, 6-3 to take fifth place. Also earning fifth was Jolene Fernandes (Calgary, Alberta, Canada), who outdid Srivasrav of St. Thomas 6-3, 6-3 in Flight 6.
- In Flight 4 Singles, Sydney Stone (Brisbane, Australia / Tyler JC) solidified a seven-place finish, losing only one game in a 6-1, 6-0 triumph of Lindahl of St. Thomas. In Flight 7, Lillian Kelly (Fullerton, Calif. / Fullerton Union) defeated Rodriguez of UIC 6-2, 4-3 with Rodriguez retiring due to an injury.
- In Flight 2 Singles, Moira Silva (Houston, Texas / Houston Tennis Academy) finished as the runner-up after falling to Kolarevic of Illinois State in a tight title match, 4-6, 6-3, 4-10.
- The success this weekend also included strong doubles play. Valpo garnered a pair of doubles wins on Sunday, including the Flight 2 tandem of Stone/Sobieski defeating Bezmenova/Pukhina of Bradley 8-3 to take fifth place. The Flight 3 duo of Fernandes/Bertino eked out a tight win 8-7(4) over Ryan/Brion of UIC to snag fifth as well.
- In the Flight 1 doubles draw, Czerwonka and Silva fell 6-8 to Illinois State’s Zlatanovic/Caculovic to finish as the runners-up.
Inside the Matches
- Czerwonka increased her ever-growing program record for career singles wins to 72.
- Czerwonka avenged a defeat from last season, when she dropped a three-set affair to Agnes Gustafsson, 6-3, 6-7(5), 3-6 in the Valpo/UIC dual match on March 26.
- Gustafsson was a member of the MVC All-Select team last season and was the Horizon League Player of the Year in 2021-22. The match pitted the 2021-22 MVC Player of the Year against the 2021-22 Horizon League Player of the Year. Gustafsson has earned all-league honors in each of her first three collegiate seasons.
- Sobieski is an unblemished 8-0 in singles play this season.
The Beacons will partake in the Missouri Valley Conference Individual Championships beginning on Friday, Oct. 6 in Springfield, Mo.