The Valparaiso University men’s tennis team closed out regular season Summit League action on Saturday evening with a 6-1 loss to first-place Drake at Roger Knapp Tennis Center in Des Moines, Iowa. The Crusaders finished at 4-2 in league play and have secured a spot in the upcoming Summit League Tournament.
How It Happened
- Drake (15-13, 5-0) gained the early edge in the match by winning the doubles point. Franklin Brozovich (Fort Gratiot, Mich. / Port Huron Northern) and Brian Pecyna (Glen Ellyn, Ill. / Homeschooled) suffered a 6-2 setback to Ben Wood and Tom Hands at No. 3 before the Bulldogs’ No. 1 duo of Vinny Gillespie and Barry Thorold nailed down the win with a 6-3 victory over Garrett Gardner (Poland, Ohio / Poland) and Kweisi Kenyatte (Detroit, Mich. / East English Village Preparatory).
- With the doubles point cemented, the No. 2 match between Chad Kissell (Latrobe, Pa. / Greater Latrobe) and Brandon Ancona (Belvidere, Ill. / Rockford Christian) and Ben Clark and Finley Hall went unfinished. Valpo was up 5-4 when play was halted.
- With Drake holding a commanding 5-0 lead, Kenyatte got the Crusaders (7-11, 4-2) on the board by coming from a set down to beat Gillespie 3-6, 6-3, 12-10 at No. 2.
- The Bulldogs had already secured the team win by the time Kenyatte’s match concluded. Clark was the first to notch a Drake victory, beating Gardner 6-1, 6-3 at No. 5. The top match finished next, with Thorold topping Kissell 6-2, 6-4.
- The next two matches to reach completion were also in straight sets as Ancona fell 6-2, 6-2 to Hand and Gabriel Carvajal (Pembroke Pines, Fla. / Broward Virtual School [Florida Atlantic]) lost 6-3, 6-2 to Wood at No. 3 and No. 4, respectively.
- The final match to come to a conclusion was No. 6, where Daniel Langston (Ponca City, Okla. / Ponca City) was on the wrong end of a 6-3, 7-5 score against Freddie Powell.
Inside The Match
- Kenyatte extended his team lead in singles wins by gaining his 19th of the year.
- Langston saw his six-match winning streak screech to an end.
- The Crusaders finished 4-2 in Summit League action, with both losses coming to teams that played in the NCAA Tournament a year ago.
- This was Valpo’s first loss since March 11, snapping a four-match winning streak.
- Drake still has one regular season Summit League match to go – April 22 at Illinois State – as the Bulldogs vie for a perfect league record. They are also in their first season in the Summit League after winning the Missouri Valley Conference last year.
The regular season will come to an end on Saturday, April 21 as the Crusaders host the University of Chicago on Senior Day for Garrett Gardner. The match will begin at noon at the Valpo Tennis Complex.