The Valparaiso University men’s tennis team returned to its home courts on Saturday afternoon and enjoyed a 5-2 win over Illinois State at Match Point Tennis Club in Griffith. The Crusaders picked up the first league victory of their maiden voyage as a Summit League affiliate member.
How It Happened
- The doubles point hinged on a tight match at No. 2 after the two teams split the first two doubles matches. Valpo (4-10, 1-1) was victorious at No. 1 with Kweisi Kenyatte (Detroit, Mich. / East English Village Preparatory) and Garrett Gardner (Poland, Ohio / Poland) getting the best of Igor Kolaric and Christoffer Greve 6-2.
- Illinois State (9-7, 0-2) recorded a 6-1 victory at No. 3 with Egehan Sertkaya and Cameron Petersen teaming up to beat Franklin Brozovich (Fort Gratiot, Mich. / Port Huron Northern) and Brian Pecyna (Glen Ellyn, Ill. / Homeschooled).
- The pivotal No. 2 match was the last to finish, with Chad Kissell (Latrobe, Pa. / Greater Latrobe) and Brandon Ancona (Belvidere, Ill. / Rockford Christian) edging Andreas Boers and Pol Ruis Botifoll on a tiebreak, 7-6(3).
- Daniel Langston (Ponca City, Okla. / Ponca City) rolled to a convincing win at No. 6 singles, sweeping Manuel Bernhard 6-1, 6-1.
- The Redbirds cut Valpo’s lead to 2-1 after Greve beat Kenyatte in a pair of close sets at No. 2 – 7-5, 7-5. The match entered a 2-2 deadlock when Kolaric nailed down a 6-2, 7-5 win over Kissell at No. 1.
- Gabriel Carvajal (Pembroke Pines, Fla. / Broward Virtual School [Florida Atlantic]) helped Valpo regain the lead by virtue of a 6-4, 7-5 win over Sertkaya. The final two matches went to three sets in what was a tightly-contested match.
- The Crusaders nailed down the win when Gardner bounced back from a Set 1 loss to win 3-6, 6-3, 6-1 over Pol Ruis Botifoll at No. 5. The final match to finish was at No. 3, where Ancona beat Boers 2-6, 6-3, 6-2.
Inside The Match
- Langston has won three straight singles matches and has his mark up to 9-9 this season. He owns the longest winning streak on the team.
- Carvajal has won both Summit League matches this year, the lone Crusader at 2-0 in conference singles action. He stands at 14-8 overall.
- Kissell’s doubles win allowed him to move into a tie for seventh with Lucas Waak (2012-2016) with 56 career victories.
- Gardner gained his 66th career doubles win, a total that ranks fifth in program history. He needs three more to move into a tie with Kyle Dunn (2013-2017) for fourth.
- Gardner’s singles win was the 69th of his career, allowing him to move into a tie with Eric Honert (2010-2014) and Michael Savaglio (2012-2016) for fifth all-time.
The Crusaders continue conference activity on Friday, March 30 at 10 a.m. CT by hosting Oral Roberts.