Valparaiso moved over the .500 mark for the season on Monday, picking up two more victories on its spring trip in Kissimmee, Fla., defeating the New Jersey Institute of Technology 4-3 in the morning match before downing Franklin & Marshall 5-2 in the evening contest.
In the morning match against a solid NJIT squad, the Crusaders opened winning the all-important doubles point. Eric Honert (Arvada, Colo./Ralston Valley H.S.) and Kevin DeHerrera (Littleton, Colo./Chatfield H.S.) notched an 8-4 victory over Ike Kiro and Holger Norregaard at second doubles for the team’s first victory. Valpo needed a pair of tie-breaks to post wins in the other two matches. Chris Baum (Charlotte, N.C./Providence H.S.) and Adam Whitmer (Shipshewana, Ind./Westview H.S.) topped Petr Rousar and Victor Martinez 9-8 (5) at the top of the order while Michael Woodson (Raleigh, N.C./Ravenscroft H.S.) and Siddarth Mehta (South Bend, Ind./Clay H.S.) downed Bryan Keelan and Joao Tasca 9-8 (7) at third doubles.
“I was very pleased that everyone contributed to the win somewhere today,” head coach Jim Daugherty said after the match against the Highlanders. “This was a very good team that we played. They have a solid program and entered with a 9-2 record.”
The Crusaders extended the lead to 3-0 as Honert defeated Rousar 6-2, 6-0 at second singles before Baum topped Norregaard 6-1, 6-3 at the top spot.
“I’m quite proud of Chris and Eric,” Daugherty continued. “They continue to get the job done at the top of the lineup for us.”
NJIT (9-3) pulled within 3-2 as Kiro notched a 6-1, 6-3 win over Whitmer at fourth singles and Martinez defeated DeHerrera 6-2, 6-3 at the third spot. Woodson secured the victory for the Crusaders though with his 7-6 (6), 6-2 triumph over Fraser Croad at six singles. Tasca added one last win for NJIT with a 7-6 (8), 6-1 victory over Mehta at the fifth spot.
“Michael Woodson really stepped up for us, helping us win that final match,” Daugherty said. “He really gutted out the match with a gritty performance.”
The Crusaders returned to the courts against Franklin & Marshall (1-1) approximately three hours later, making up Sunday’s match that was postponed due to rain.
Valpo jumped on top quickly, sweeping all three doubles matches. Baum and Whitmer defeated William MacArthur and Ross Silverberg 8-6 at the top of the lineup while Mehta and Woodson won by the same score over Peter Bookman and Cameron Relic at the third spot. DeHerrera and Honert captured the first match at second doubles 8-2 against Nolan Bacchier and Tommy Weibye.
The Crusaders increased the lead to 3-0 as Honert defeated MacArthur 6-4, 6-0 at number two singles while Whitmer topped Relic 6-1, 6-1 at the fourth spot. The Diplomats pulled within one, 3-2, as Weibye defeated DeHerrera 7-6 (4), 6-2 at number three. Silverberg added a 4-6, 6-3, 6-3 victory over Baum at the top of the order before Woodson secured the Valpo victory, defeating Kazuhiro Tomioka 6-0, 6-0 at sixth singles. Egan Hart (Raleigh, N.C./Ravenscroft H.S.) added a 6-4, 7-5 win over Alec Tunner at the fifth spot.
Valparaiso (5-4) will continue its five-match trip in Florida on Tuesday morning, facing Indianapolis. First serve is slated for 7 a.m. CDT.