The Valparaiso University women’s tennis team began the season in pleasant fashion on a picturesque afternoon at the Valpo Tennis Complex as the Crusaders notched a 7-0 victory over Grace College on Thursday. The Crusaders continued to show signs of the program’s forward momentum after enjoying their most successful season in recent memory a year ago. Freshman Isabella Schoolcraft (Bargersville, Ind. / Center Grove) made a victorious debut in doubles, while Valpo’s strong contingent of returning players all racked up wins in the opening match of the fall season.
How It Happened
- The sophomore duo of Jelena Vujanic (Elk Grove Village, Ill.) and Claire Czerwonka (Kenosha, Wis. / Saint Joseph Catholic Academy) picked up right where they left off last season, cruising to an 8-0 win over Carrie Copeland and Molly Fitzpatrick at first doubles. Doubles play utilized the NAIA format of eight-game pro sets with no ad scoring, but doubles was still scored as one decision.
- Valpo nailed down the doubles point by picking up a win at the No. 3 doubles position as Schoolcraft made her debut alongside junior Jordan Kopfer (Eagan, Minn. / Center Grove). The two topped Grace’s Morgan Mast and Shelby Bankson 8-4.
- With the doubles point already in the bank, the Crusaders edged the Lancers at No. 2 doubles with the all-senior pairing of Randi Wind (Park Ridge, Ill. / Maine South) and Meg Modesto (Chesterton, Ind. / Chesterton) gaining an 8-5 win over Jenna Jackson and Jayna Armstrong.
- Kopfer was the first to finish in singles play, beating Shelby Bankson in straight sets – 6-0, 6-0.
- The next Crusader to complete her match was Vujanic, who picked up a 6-0, 6-2 victory over Jackson at No. 2 singles.
- Junior Dao Sysouvanh (Sun Prairie, Wis. / Sun Prairie) rolled past Fitzpatrick 6-1, 6-1 at No. 4 to nail down the team win as Valpo opened up a 4-0 lead over Grace.
- Czerwonka prevailed 6-1, 6-4 over Copeland at No. 1 singles shortly before Wind got the best of Mast at No. 5 – 6-1, 6-3.
- The longest match of the day occurred at No. 3, where Modesto began her senior campaign with a long showdown with Armstrong. The fourth-year Crusader eventually helped her team secure the clean sweep of the Lancers by winning 7-6(5), 6-1.
Inside the Match
- Vujanic and Czerwonka improved to 9-5 all-time when paired together on the doubles court. All of those pairings have come at the No. 1 doubles position. They have won three consecutive doubles matches as a pair and haven’t lost as a duo since April 7 of last season.
- Czerwonka cracked the Top 10 in program history in single-season doubles wins a year ago with 15 and started her sophomore campaign by registering her 16th career doubles success on Thursday. Vujanic gained her 13th career doubles triumph.
- Kopfer notched her 17th career doubles win while helping Schoolcraft to her first collegiate victory at second doubles.
- At No. 3 doubles, Wind’s win was the 15th of her career, while Modesto’s was her 22nd, the most among active Crusaders. Wind and Modesto have won six doubles matches as a duo spanning four different seasons.
- Kopfer started her season in victorious fashion, racking up her 12th career singles triumph.
- Vujanic’s win was the 20th of her collegiate career and it came in the first match of just her sophomore season. She racked up 19 singles wins, tied for fourth in program history, in 2017-2018 despite having her freshman campaign cut short by an injury.
- Sysouvanh’s win was her 16th career singles victory, while Wind’s was her 24th. Czerwonka picked up win No. 15 of her singles career, while Modesto started her senior year with her 21st career victory.
- Valpo won 7-0 for the first time since opening last year’s spring season with a whitewash win over IUPUI on Jan. 20.
The Crusaders will return to action on Saturday, Sept. 8 as they compete in the Cougar Invitational hosted by Chicago State.