Official Athletic Site of the Valparaiso University Crusaders
Valpo Opens Men's Tennis Season on Saturday
Alex Lau is the lone senior on this year's squad. (Ray Acevedo)
Alex Lau is the lone senior on this year's squad. (Ray Acevedo)

Monday, January 26, 2009

A youthful Valparaiso University men’s tennis team will take to the court for the 2009 spring season as the Crusaders return just four players from last year’s squad which finished 7-13 overall and 1-5 in the Horizon League in the Brown and Gold’s inaugural season in the conference.

Valpo finished the season strong, winning three of its last four matches, including a pair at the Horizon League Championships to finish in fifth place after posting a sixth place finish in the regular season.

Head coach Jim Daugherty’s squad saw some action in challenging tournaments this past fall, giving some of the freshmen the opportunity to experience collegiate tennis prior to the start of dual match play.  The 24th-year head coach saw some bright spots along the way, and hopefully the Crusaders are able to build upon what they learned during the fall season.

Senior Alex Lau will lead the Crusaders this spring at the top of the lineup.  A year ago, Lau won a team-high 12 singles matches for Valpo, splitting time at the number one and number two spots in the order.  He also won a team-leading 11 doubles contests on the season and the Crusaders will look to his leadership this fall.  Lau enters his senior season with 45 singles victories after notching a pair of wins during the fall slate.

Junior Tom Litscher will need to step up in the order to help the Brown and Gold obtain success.  Playing fourth singles a year ago, Litscher won six singles contests, ending the season with two straight victories.  Litscher teamed with Lau at number two doubles where the duo combined for 10 wins.  He missed this year’s fall campaign with a wrist injury though, and had to battle back during the offseason to return to the same form as a year ago.

A pair of sophomores have a year’s experience now and will be called upon to make more of an impact this season.  Kyle Stump finished second on the team in wins as a rookie with 11, including a 9-9 mark at sixth singles.  Stump had the team’s best record in Horizon League action, going 4-2.  He also played third doubles for a majority of the year, winning nine contests with Dan Brunette, who graduated at the end of the season.  Stump won his first match this past fall before struggling for results the rest of the way.  He did get solid match experience though, playing in three three-set matches.

Phidias Fortune got a taste of collegiate tennis a year ago as well.  Fortune went 4-4 in singles play, seeing action during two dual matches as well as playing in fall tournaments.  He also played in several doubles matches throughout the year.  This past fall Fortune’s success came in doubles where he teamed with his classmate Stump to combine for a team-high three victories.  

Daugherty has three newcomers to the squad this season that he hopes can step in and contribute right away.  Kevin DeHerrera went 60-18 during his high school career combined in singles and doubles and was a four-time Jefferson County League champion for Chatfield High School in Littleton, Colo.  During the fall, he looked like an experienced veteran of collegiate tennis, winning a team-high three matches in the three tournaments the Crusaders played in.  His wins included a thrilling come-from-behind three set victory at the Ball State Fall Invitational, needing to win a second set tie-break to extend the match.

Adam Whitmer was a Second Team All-State player in singles as a senior for Westview High School in Shipshewana, Ind.  He posted a 90-12 prep singles record, including a 19-1 mark as a senior.  He also found the victory column twice in singles action this past fall to get him set for dual match play.  He saw action in just one doubles contest, but should play a larger role as the regular season roles around.

Carlton Lyons also joined the program this fall, but was unable to compete while rehabbing from a shoulder injury.  He did not play tennis last season while attending Purdue, but has four years of eligibility remaining after transferring to Valpo for the upcoming year.

While Daugherty has a youthful team for the upcoming season, he has yet another challenging schedule on tap for Valpo.  First serve comes on January 31 as the Brown and Gold travels to East Lansing, Mich. to take on the Spartans of Michigan State.  Following a trip to Bradley, the Crusaders will open the home schedule on February 14 with a match against IUPUI at the Courts of Northwest Indiana.

After another road match to Ball State, the Brown and Gold will head south to Kissimmee, Fla. for three matches and training over spring break.  This has become an annual tradition for the Crusaders, and gives Valpo the opportunity to play on outdoor courts before beginning the outdoor season at home.

Upon returning to the north, Valpo will open Horizon League play on April 4 at Wright State before beginning a five match homestand at the Valparaiso University Tennis Complex on April 7 against Dayton.  The Crusaders’ home finale is set for April 15, with the regular season finale coming on April 19 at Cleveland State.  This year’s Horizon League Championships are set for April 24 through 26 in Indianapolis, Ind.

Despite a young roster, expect the Crusaders to battle match after match as they look to continue their climb up the Horizon League ladder.  Lau is a talented senior leader and behind an experienced head coach, Valparaiso is set for success on the courts.  Depending on how long will it take for the underclassmen to get into the mix will depend on how soon the success comes to the program.

W Tennis Valpo 0 Chicago, Ill.
Apr 14 Chicago State 7
M Tennis Valpo 7 Homewood, Ill.
Apr 15 Chicago State 0
Baseball Valpo CCD
Apr 15 Toledo
M Track Cougar Invitational River Forest, Ill.
Apr 17 No Team Score
W Track Cougar Invitational River Forest, Ill.
Apr 17 No Team Score
Baseball Valpo 4 Milwaukee, Wis.
Apr 17 Milwaukee 0
M Tennis Youngstown State 1 Valpo Tennis Complex
Apr 18 Valpo 6
Baseball Valpo 0 Milwaukee, Wis.
Apr 18 Milwaukee 3
Softball Oakland 3 VU Softball Field
Apr 18 Valpo 11
W Tennis Youngstown State 7 Valpo Tennis Complex
Apr 18 Valpo 0
M Golf Wolfpack Spring Open Raleigh, N.C. (Lonnie Poole Golf Course)
Apr 19 CCD
M Track DePaul Invitational Chicago, Ill.
Apr 19 2nd/3 (191)
W Track DePaul Invitational Chicago, Ill.
Apr 19 3rd/5 (82)
W Tennis Cleveland State 7 Valpo Tennis Complex
Apr 19 Valpo 0
Softball Oakland 1 VU Softball Field
Apr 19 Valpo 2
Baseball Valpo 0 Milwaukee, Wis.
Apr 19 Milwaukee 5
Softball Oakland 4 8 inn.
Apr 19 Valpo 2
M Tennis Cleveland State 5 Valpo Tennis Complex
Apr 19 Valpo 2
M Golf Wolfpack Spring Open Raleigh, N.C. (Lonnie Poole Golf Course)
Apr 20 12th/15 (314)
Baseball Kalamazoo 3 Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 21 Valpo 10
Baseball Ohio Northern 2 Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 22 Valpo 1
Softball Valpo 3 Macomb, Ill.
Apr 22 Western Illinois 1
Softball Valpo 5 Macomb, Ill.
Apr 22 Western Illinois 4
Softball Valpo Notre Dame, Ind.
Apr 24, 5:00 p.m. #21/21 Notre Dame
W Track Miami (Ohio) Invitational Oxford, Ohio
Apr 25
M Track Miami (Ohio) Invitational Oxford, Ohio
Apr 25
M Golf Horizon League Championship Howey in the Hills, Fla. (Mission Inn Resort & Club)
Apr 25
W Golf Horizon League Championship Howey in the Hills, Fla. (Mission Inn Resort & Club)
Apr 25
M Tennis Valpo Ann Arbor, Mich.
Apr 25, 2:00 p.m. UIC
Baseball UIC Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 25, 3:00 p.m. Valpo
M Tennis Valpo Ann Arbor, Mich.
Apr 26, 3:00 p.m. Horizon League Tournament
M Track Miami (Ohio) Invitational Oxford, Ohio
Apr 26
W Track Miami (Ohio) Invitational Oxford, Ohio
Apr 26
W Golf Horizon League Championship Howey in the Hills, Fla. (Mission Inn Resort & Club)
Apr 26
M Golf Horizon League Championship Howey in the Hills, Fla. (Mission Inn Resort & Club)
Apr 26
Baseball UIC Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 26, 12:00 p.m. Valpo
Softball Valpo Dayton, Ohio
Apr 26, 12:00 p.m. Wright State
Softball Valpo Dayton, Ohio
Apr 26, 2:00 p.m. Wright State
M Tennis Valpo Ann Arbor, Mich.
Apr 27, 2:00 p.m. Horizon League Tournament
M Golf Horizon League Championship Howey in the Hills, Fla. (Mission Inn Resort & Club)
Apr 27
W Golf Horizon League Championship Howey in the Hills, Fla. (Mission Inn Resort & Club)
Apr 27
Softball Valpo Dayton, Ohio
Apr 27, 12:00 p.m. Wright State
Baseball UIC Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 27, 12:00 p.m. Valpo
Baseball Western Michigan Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 29, 3:00 p.m. Valpo
Softball IUPUI VU Softball Field
Apr 29, 3:00 p.m. Valpo
Softball IUPUI VU Softball Field
Apr 29, 5:00 p.m. Valpo
Baseball Chicago State Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 30, 3:00 p.m. Valpo
Softball Valpo Bloomington, Ind.
Apr 30, 3:00 p.m. Indiana (resumption of suspended game)
Softball Valpo Bloomington, Ind.
Apr 30, 4:00 p.m. Indiana
W Track Horizon League Outdoor Championships Youngstown, Ohio
May 2
M Track Horizon League Outdoor Championships Youngstown, Ohio
May 2
Baseball Oakland Emory G. Bauer Field
May 2, 3:00 p.m. Valpo
M Track Horizon League Outdoor Championships Youngstown, Ohio
May 3
W Track Horizon League Outdoor Championships Youngstown, Ohio
May 3
Baseball Oakland Emory G. Bauer Field
May 3, 12:00 p.m. Valpo
Softball Valpo Green Bay, Wis.
May 3, 1:00 p.m. Green Bay
Softball Valpo Green Bay, Wis.
May 3, 3:00 p.m. Green Bay
W Track Horizon League Outdoor Championships Youngstown, Ohio
May 4
M Track Horizon League Outdoor Championships Youngstown, Ohio
May 4
Softball Valpo Green Bay, Wis.
May 4, 12:00 p.m. Green Bay
Baseball Oakland Emory G. Bauer Field
May 4, 12:00 p.m. Valpo