The Valparaiso University men’s tennis team saw its season come to an end on Friday night with a 4-1 defeat to Drake in a Summit League Tournament semifinal at Bernis Duke Tennis Center in Tulsa, Okla. Valpo started strong by taking the doubles point, but the defending league champion Bulldogs punched their ticket to the final match by winning on all four singles courts that finished. Senior Chad Kissell (Latrobe, Pa. / Greater Latrobe) saw his accomplished Valpo career come to an end.
How It Happened
- Valpo (14-5) started strong by winning the doubles point from Drake. The team flipped the script on an area that had been an Achilles’ heel over the course of the season. Kissell and Franklin Brozovich (Fort Gratiot, Mich. / Port Huron Northern) combined for a 6-4 win over Calum MacGeoch and Ben Clark at No. 3 doubles in the first match to finish. Then Brian Pecyna (Glen Ellyn, Ill. / Homeschooled) and Daniel Langston (Ponca City, Okla. / Ponca City) polished off a 6-2 win over Tom Hands and Bavo Phillips at No. 2 doubles to nail down the point.
- The No. 1 doubles matches between Vinny Gillespie/Barny Thorold and Brandon Ancona (Belvidere, Ill. / Rockford Christian)/ Kweisi Kenyatte (Detroit, Mich. / East English Village Preparatory) went unfinished.
- The first singles match to conclude was at No. 1, where Gillespie prevailed 6-4, 6-3 over Ancona. Drake soon owned a 2-1 lead when Finley Hall completed a 6-1, 6-3 win over Gabriel Carvajal (Pembroke Pines, Fla. / Broward Virtual School [Florida Atlantic]) at No. 6. The Bulldogs (18-13) were knocking on the door of the win once Phillips topped Kissell 6-2, 6-4 at No. 3.
- The clinching victory came at No. 5, where Clark got the best of Langston 6-4, 6-3.
- The remaining two singles matches went unfinished with the team result already decided. Pecyna took the first set from MacGeoch 7-5 at No. 4 before dropping the second 4-6. Hands held a 6-3, 6-5 edge on Kenyatte at No. 2 with the second set in progress when play was halted.
Inside the Match
- Kissell, a three-time first-team all-league honoree, was a part of two league championship teams that advanced to the NCAA Tournament during his collegiate career. He finished his Valpo tenure with 75 singles wins (fifth in program history) and 71 doubles triumphs (fourth in program history).
- The Kissell/Brozovich pairing improved to 2-2 as a doubles duo, while Pecyna and Langston advanced their record to 4-2.
- Ancona, the 2019 Summit League Player of the Year, finished the season with a singles record of 23-6. He tied his own win total from 2016-17 for 10th in single-season program history. Ancona enters his senior season with 61 career singles wins, already ninth on Valpo’s all-time list.
- Kenyatte finished his all-league season with a singles record of 21-5 and 16-1 in dual matches. He carries a 14-match winning streak into his junior season.
- Valpo finished with a 14-5 record and .737 winning percentage, marking the program’s fifth winning season in the last six years. Valpo finished at 4-2 in Summit League play, posting its fifth consecutive winning record in league action.