The Valparaiso University men’s tennis team began its lone home event of the fall season on Saturday with the first day of the two-day Valpo Fall Invitational, held at the Valpo Tennis Complex. The event is using a hidden dual format, with two rounds of doubles and one round of singles taking place on Saturday. The Crusaders won all eight doubles matches and four of their seven singles matches to start the event with a winning day.
How It Happened
- The Crusaders started the day with a successful doubles dual with Wright State, prevailing on all four courts. The top doubles team of junior Chad Kissell (Latrobe, Pa. / Greater Latrobe) and sophomore Brandon Ancona (Belvidere, Ill. / Rockford Christian) edged Wright State’s Michal Kianicka and Param Pun 7-5.
- Freshman Kweisi Kenyatte (Detroit, Mich. / East English Village Preparatory) and senior Garrett Gardner (Poland, Ohio / Poland) topped Fernando Nardelli and Donovan Towers of Wright State 6-2.
- Sophomore Daniel Langston (Ponca City, Okla. / Ponca City) and redshirt sophomore Gabriel Carvajal (Pembroke Pines, Fla. / Broward Virtual School [Florida Atlantic]) also picked up a win over Wright State in their first match of the day, beating Carlos Sanchez and Javier Alvarez 6-1.
- Sophomore Franklin Brozovich (Fort Gratiot, Mich. / Port Huron Northern) and freshman Nick Marino (Northbrook, Ill. / Glenbrook North) rounded out the sweep of the Raiders with a 6-2 triumph against William Morton and Varun Kalaiarasan.
- Valpo continued to defend its home courts in the second dual of the day, sweeping Eastern Illinois in doubles action. Gardner and Kenyatte edged Freddie O’Brien and Trent Reiman 7-6(3), while sophomore Brian Pecyna (Glen Ellyn, Ill. / Homeschooled) and Kissell also needed a tiebreak to get past Grant Reiman and Kaisei Kuroki 7-6(0).
- Langston and Carvajal won 7-5 over Gage Kinsmith and Jared Woodson, while Brozovich and Marino were the only combo to beat the Panthers in comfortable fashion, 6-1 against Braden Davis and Logan Charbonneau.
- Ancona teamed up with Chicago State’s Christian Gonzalez in the second round of doubles and beat Wright State’s Carlos Sanchez and Varun Kalaiarasan 6-2.
- Valpo matched up against DePaul/Chicago State in Round 1 of singles. At No. 1, Kissell cruised to a 6-3, 6-4 victory over DePaul’s Tamas Zador.
- Ancona prevailed in a hard-fought match with Chicago State’s Felix Savard, pulling out a 6-7(7-9), 7-6(5), 10-6 triumph.
- Kenyatte topped DePaul’s Tripp Tuff in a three-set affair – 6-2, 3-6, 10-3.
- Gardner was the fourth Crusader to prevail in singles action, besting Chicago State’s Christian Gonzalez in a tightly-contested match. Gardner took the first set 6-4, dropped the second 6-7(6-8) before winning the super tiebreaker 10-7 to capture the match.
- Carvajal dropped a dramatic tiebreaker with DePaul’s Chris Casati 5-7, 6-1, 12-10, while Langston lost to Conor O’Meara (DePaul) and Pecyna was on the wrong end of a match with Rohan Wattley (Chicago State).
Inside the Matches
- Kissell grabbed his 53rd career singles win, which ranks 10th in program history.
- Gardner expanded his career singles win total to 63, the most among active Crusaders and seventh in program history.
- Ancona climbed to 28 career singles wins as only a sophomore.
- Kenyatte now share the team lead with six singles wins.
- With his two doubles wins on Saturday, Kissell has 48 for his career. He needs three more to crack Valpo’s Top 10.
- Gardner’s career doubles win total is up to 58 after his pair of triumphs on Saturday. He has moved past Lucas Waak (2012-2016) and into sole possession of sixth place on Valpo’s all-time list.
The Valpo Fall Invitational will continue on Sunday with the final day of competition. Play is slated to begin at 9 a.m. CT at the Valpo Tennis Complex.