The River Forest Invitational ended Saturday with two freshmen winning their respective flights. Dave Bacalla (Skokie, Ill./Niles North) and Kyle Dunn (Fon du Lac, Wis./Fon dy Lac) won at No. 5 and 6 to maintain a perfect 3-0 record to start their collegiate careers.
Bacalla pulled out a minor miracle in his flight. Already down a set and facing a 5-1 deficit in the second set, the freshman rallied back to overthrow NIU's Matt Lynch a 2-6, 7-6 (7-5), 10-5 for the No. 5 Championship.
"Dave had one of the greatest comebacks that I have seen in my coaching career. He dug extra deep to turn the match around and win his flight," head coach Jim Daugherty said.
Dunn didn't need near the dramatics in his Championship round as he defeated Butler's Tommy Marx in straight sets 6-4, 7-6.
After dropping their opening round match at No. 1 doubles, Bacalla and Charlie Emhardt (Carmel, Ind./Carmel) rattled off a pair of easy wins, beating Morehead State's Heo/Swindells 8-1 before dispatching Butler's tandem of Weldon/Bhattacharya 8-2 in the Consolation Final.
Eric Honert (Arvada, Col./Ralston Valley) and Jeffrey Schrosch (Perrysburg, Ohio/Perrysburg) dropped a tight 8-5 tilt in their Championship final at No. 2 doubles, losing to the Butler brothers Austin and Alex Woldmoe.
As a team, Valpo finished tied for third place - out of eight teams - with UIC with 46 points. Northern Illinois walked away with the team title after a 58-point weekend.
"I am pleased with our overall results. Finishing 3rd in such a strong field of teams is a good result. Nevertheless, we are not satisfied as there is plenty to improve upon. Again, most of the credit has to go the the freshmen class who simply got the job done," Daugherty said afterwards.
The Crusaders will travel to West Lafayette next weekend as they take part in the Purdue Invitational.