Valparaiso University Sports Update, April 19, 2017

By: Valparaiso University Last Updated: April 19, 2017

VU-McKissick-Earns-Horizon-League-Mens-Field-Athlete-of-the-WeekMcKissick Earns Horizon League Men’s Field Athlete of the Week
The Horizon League announced on Wednesday that Valparaiso University sophomore Drew McKissick Jr. (Naperville, Ill./Neuqua Valley) has been selected as the league’s Men’s Field Athlete of the Week.

At the Benedictine University Relays this weekend, McKissick threw the javelin 172’3” for a third-place finish out of 53 participants. The thrower earned Valpo six points, helping the squad finish with 45 at the Relays.

McKissick holds the team’s farthest distance in the event, throwing nearly five feet farther than his closest teammate.

This is the first Horizon League weekly honor for the Valpo men’s track and field team since Justin Zosso on Feb. 10, 2015 for his performance at the Meyo Invitational at Notre Dame. For the outdoor events, this is the first such award since March 25, 2014, when Jacob Frey won his for his hammer throw of 164’9” at the Puma Invitational.

Women’s Tennis Drops Match with Chicago State
The Valparaiso University women’s tennis team picked up wins at two singles spots on Tuesday at the Valpo Tennis Complex, but couldn’t corral the team triumph in a 5-2 loss to the Cougars of Chicago State. Meg Modesto and Randi Wind provided the wins for the Crusaders.

How It Happened

  • Modesto allowed her momentum from a successful weekend that featured a match-clinching victory over Green Bay to carry over to Tuesday night. She prevailed in three sets over Carynne Lloyd 6-4, 2-6, 6-4.
  • Wind also needed three sets to capture her victory, beating Judit Aubets 6-1, 4-6, 6-3.
  • Paige Heuer put together a competitive match at No. 2 singles, but lost on a tiebreak in Set 3. She dropped the first set 3-6, then took the second 6-1 before falling 6-7 (4) in the decisive stanza.
  • The Crusaders lost in straight sets at No. 1, No. 4 and No. 5 singles and dropped all three doubles matches.

Inside the Match

  • Wind notched her team-leading 11th singles victory of the year. She’s already the first Valpo player since 2005-06 to record a double-figure singles win total.
  • Modesto upped her season win total to five with Tuesday’s victory.
  • The Crusaders drop to 2-16, while the Cougars climb to 7-15.

Next Up
The Crusaders continue the five-match homestand as they begin the last weekend of the regular season on Saturday, April 22 against Oakland. The match is slated to begin at 2 p.m. at the Valpo Tennis Complex.

Crusaders Top Green Bay in Match Play
The Valparaiso University women’s golf team competed for the final time prior to the Horizon League Championship on Tuesday at The Course at Aberdeen in Valparaiso. The Crusaders thrived in the last tune-up before the league finals, dispatching visiting Green Bay 4.5-0.5.

How It Happened

  • Madison McCreary (Batesville, Ind. / Batesville) climbed to 3-1 in match play over the last three days, winning 5&4 over Emily Grunder at No. 3 on Tuesday.
  • Angie Kim (Schaumberg, Ill. / Fremd) also prevailed in Tuesday’s showdown, one up over Avery Steen at No. 1.
  • Katie Willenbrink (Mishawaka, Ind. / Penn) notched a win over Leah Birch at No. 2, 5&4.
  • Tiffany Curtis (Crown Point, Ind. / Crown Point) won 6&5 over Sophia Muzerek at No. 4.
  • At No. 5, senior Sydney Shrum (Cloverdale, Ind. / Cloverdale) halved with Alex Larson.

Thoughts from Head Coach Jon Haas
“The core of the team has played 72 holes over the last three days. The match play format has provided the team with a great technical and mental test. I’m really happy with the progress that the team has made since we started up in January. I think we’re starting to click at the right time as we enter postseason play.”

Next Up
The Crusaders will next be in action on Sunday, April 23 as they begin the Horizon League Championship at Mission Inn Resort and Club in Howey-in-the-Hills, Fla.

Garbella Cracks Two Home Runs to Help Crusaders Over Cougars
The Valparaiso University baseball team has played the last four games without its most established hitter with first baseman Nate Palace sidelined by an illness, but Giovanni Garbella (San Diego, Calif. / Cathedral Catholic) has helped make sure the offense hasn’t skipped a beat.

Garbella has hit .471 with three home runs and five RBIs since regaining his spot in the starting lineup because of the vacancy created by Palace’s absence. The junior right fielder turned in a true Palace-like performance on Tuesday, delivering two home runs in a 10-3 victory over Chicago State after Palace had hit two long balls against the Cougars (8-25) earlier this season.

How It Happened

  • The Crusaders (14-20) played from behind as Julian Russell delivered a solo homer against Valpo starting pitcher Michael Mommersteeg (St. Thomas, Ont., Canada / St. Joseph’s) in the third to start the scoring.
  • Valpo responded in the bottom of the inning, as Jake Hanson (Yorkville, Ill. / Aurora Christian) skipped one over the left-field wall for a ground-rule double to drive in a pair. Later in the inning, Sam Shaikin (West Hills, Calif. / Chatsworth) ripped a ground-rule double of his own, then eventually scored on a passed ball. Garbella drilled his first long ball of the game to cap a six-run frame.
  • The Cougars picked up an unearned run in the fifth, but the Crusaders got that back and more on one swing from Garbella in the bottom of the inning. A two-run blow with Shaikin, who had tripled, along for the ride made it 8-2 Valpo.
  • The fourth home run of the game and the second by the Cougars came to lead off the sixth as Rick Salazar provided a solo shot to left.
  • In the bottom of the sixth, Chad Jacob (Irvine, Calif. / Woodbridge) drew a walk, then Hanson stroked a single to right. The ball got by the right fielder for an error that allowed Jacob to score and Hanson to get all the way to third, then the right fielder made a wild throw to third, his second error on the play, to allow Hanson to score and make it 10-3.
  • Mommersteeg departed after six strong, then the Valpo bullpen did the rest. Montana Quigley (Lake Forest, Calif. / El Toro) heaved two shutout innings, followed by a scoreless ninth from Hayden Kissee (Indianapolis, Ind. / Greenfield Central [Kaskasia College]).

Inside The Game

  • Mommerseeg (1-1) earned his first collegiate victory after allowing three runs (two earned) on two hits and three walks in six innings. The only hits he allowed were solo homers.
  • Josh Perkins absorbed the defeat and saw his record dive to 0-6. He allowed six runs on five hits in three frames.
  • Hanson posted his second three-hit day of the year, going 3-for-5 with two runs scored and two RBIs. He’s got multiple hits in three straight games and five of his last seven.
  • Shaikin has reached base in 18 straight games – he went 2-for-4 with two RBIs and two runs scored on Tuesday. He moved into the team lead with 12 multi-hit games.
  • The Crusaders have won 21 straight head-to-head meetings with Chicago State.
  • Valpo improved to 2-14 when opponents score first this season.

Next Up
The Crusaders will hit the road to clash with Northern Kentucky in Highland Heights for a doubleheader on Friday beginning at noon CT. A radio broadcast will be available courtesy of Northern Kentucky Athletics. Links to live audio and stats will be available on

Crusaders Drop Twinbill to Central Michigan
The Valparaiso University softball team failed to get going Tuesday afternoon at home in a doubleheader against a strong Central Michigan team, as the Chippewas dealt the Crusaders a pair of defeats by finals of 6-0 and 8-0.

How It Happened – Game One

  • CMU scored a pair of two-out runs in the top of the first to take the lead for good.
  • Sophomore Carly Trepanier (Manteno, Ill./Manteno) singled to lead off the bottom of the first and moved up to second with one out, while Valpo put two on via walks with one out in the second, but could not score either time.
  • A solo homer from Rachel Vieira in the third made it a 3-0 game, and the Chippewas closed out the scoring with three runs in the top of the seventh.

How It Happened – Game Two


  • Just as in the opener, Central Michigan scored in its first turn at bat.
  • Junior Lanie Callaghan (Elburn, Ill./Kaneland) drew a leadoff walk in the second and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt, but would be stranded there.
  • A two-run homer by Vieira highlighted a four-run third for CMU, and the Chippewas scored two in the fourth and one in the seventh to cap the scoring.


Inside The Games

  • The Crusaders were limited to just three hits over the two games, as Callaghan picked up an infield single in the opener and sophomore Jaymee Lawton (Goodyear, Ariz./Desert Edge [Utah Valley]) tallied Valpo’s lone hit in the nightcap.
  • Valpo was unable to advance a runner past second base in either game.
  • Freshman Lindsay Zdroik (Elgin, Ill./St. Edward) tossed 6.1 innings in the opener and took the loss to fall to 1-2, while fellow rookie Emily Richardson (Oak Park, Ill./River Forest) started the nightcap and suffered the loss, moving to 1-1 on the year.
  • Junior Kenzie Grossmann (Perry, Mo./Mark Twain [Morehead State]) had a strong relief outing in the nightcap, throwing three shutout innings.

Next Up
The Crusaders (22-15, 9-6 Horizon) return to league play this weekend with a three-game series at Detroit Mercy. The series is slated to open with a single game on Friday at 1 p.m. CT. Links for live stats will be available via

Valpo Repeats Sweep of Horizon League Weekly Awards
The Valparaiso University men’s tennis team has once again received recognition from the Horizon League for its performance this past week.

Valpo senior Jeffrey Schorsch (Perrysburg, Ohio / Perrysburg) has been named the Horizon League Player of the Week, while Schorsch and doubles teammate Charlie Emhardt (Carmel, Ind. / Carmel) have been honored as the Horizon League Doubles Team of the Week. Both Schorsch and the No. 1 doubles duo are repeat winners as they capture the distinctions for the second straight week.

Schorsch downed Green Bay's Floridan Kraenzler 6-2, 6-2 at No. 1 singles in a 6-1 Valpo victory that allowed the Crusaders to reach 20 wins for the third straight season and nail down at least a share of the Horizon League regular season title. Schorsch's win allowed him to climb to 6-0 in league singles competition while grabbing his 24th victory of the year, tied for sixth in program history for single-season victories. He set the program record with 29 singles wins last year.

Schorsch and Emhardt beat Green Bay's No. 1 doubles team of Floridan Kraenzler and Charlie Ridout 6-3 in Valpo's only match of the week. This was their 19th win of the season together and doubles win No. 28 for Schorsch and 26 for Emhardt. Schorsch's single-season doubles win total is two behind the program record of 30 that was established by Emhardt and Schorsch in 2014-15.

This marks the 14th individual Player of the Week honor of Schorsch’s Crusader career and his fifth this season. The Crusaders have won seven Player of the Week Awards and seven Doubles Team of the Week awards this year.

Schorsch, Emhardt and fellow seniors Dave Bacalla and Kyle Dunn will partake in the final home match of their collegiate careers on Sunday, April 23 at 1 p.m. against Detroit Mercy. A win would allow the Crusaders (20-3, 6-0 Horizon) to sew up their second consecutive outright Horizon League regular season title.

Seward Signs NLI with Valpo Men’s Golf
The Valparaiso University men’s golf program has announced the addition of Brett Seward (Aurora, Ill. / Aurora Christian High School), who has signed his National Letter of the Intent to join the Crusaders for the 2017-18 season.

Seward fits right into the program’s model of bringing in individuals who excel both on the course and in the classroom. He owns a 3.87 cumulative high school grade point average, is a four-time Northeastern Athletic Conference All-Academic honoree and a Dunham Scholar. Those distinctions help make him a perfect fit for a program that finished the 2015-16 season as the Division I Academic National Champion, boasting the highest team GPA of all Division I programs nationwide.

Seward, who plans to major in finance or pre-med, has also thrived athletically during his time at Aurora Christian. He is a four-year varsity letterwinner, four-time NAC All-Conference honoree and is a two-time individual conference champion, taking the league title in both his junior and senior seasons. Seward reached state as a freshman, sophomore and senior and helped his team finish as the Class 1A state runner-up during his senior season.

“When you look at the amount of individual and team victories that he has been a part of over the years on the golf course, along with the dedication that Brett puts toward his studies, he is a fitting example of the type of student-athlete that our program embodies,” Gring said. “Brett will make a strong impact for us both on the golf course and in the classroom.”

The newest Crusader has racked up victories in IJGA, MAJGT and U.S. Kids Tours along with high school tournaments during his junior career. Seward is the son of Jim and Sherri Seward, and his father Jim is a Valpo graduate.

“This is a little extra special in the sense that Brett’s dad is an alum of Valpo,” Gring said. “What a thrill it must be to have your son attend the same university. Brett has a tremendous family that encourages him every day, and he also receives exceptional support from his friends and coaches.”

Seward joins an incoming freshman class that also includes Hamilton Southeastern seniors Drew Alexander and Jack Juskow.

“Brett has numerous strengths within his game, but his short-game discipline and results are very sharp,” Gring said. “He has a putting green in his basement at home and spends a lot of time working on both speed drills and putts of varying lengths. Another item that impressed me with Brett’s game is the maturity that he shows on the golf course with his course management. He plays to his strengths very well.”

Win Over Detroit Mercy Highlights Performance at Crusader-Jaguar Challenge
The Valparaiso University women’s golf team participated in the Crusader-Jaguar Challenge this weekend and went 1-2 in the match play event. The Crusaders started the event with a victory over Horizon League foe Detroit Mercy and also put together a strong performance in a loss to Big East rival Butler. On Monday, senior Sydney Shrum (Cloverdale, Ind. / Cloverdale) earned a win in her final collegiate tournament.

How It Happened

  • The Crusaders topped the Titans in the first round thanks to wins by Katie Willenbrink (Mishawaka, Ind. / Penn) at No. 2, Madison McCreary (Batesville, Ind. / Batesville) at No. 4 and Sydney Shrum (Cloverdale / Cloverdale) at No. 5. The Crusaders prevailed 3.5-1.5 over the Titans.
  • Angie Kim (Schaumberg, Ill. / Fremd) drained a 15-feet birdie on the last hole against the Titans to win the hole and halve her match.
  • Midway through the match against Butler, the Crusaders were up in two matches, even in one and down in two. However, they ended up falling the Bulldogs 4-1.
  • The lone Crusader to come away victorious in Sunday’s match with Butler was McCreary, who upstaged Rachel Gathof at No. 4.
  • The Crusaders rounded out the two-day event with a 4-1 loss to Western Illinois on Monday. Shrum provided the lone win for Valpo, getting the better of Ashley Dumler at No. 5. This allowed Shrum to go out in style, as this marked the final tournament of her college career. She went to the last hole and won.

Next Up
The Crusaders will host match play against Green Bay on Tuesday at The Course at Aberdeen in Valparaiso.