Valpo Continues to Rack Up Weekly Men’s Tennis Honors
After a flawless Horizon League weekend, the Valparaiso University men’s tennis team continued to dominate the league’s weekly awards on Tuesday.
Senior Jeffrey Schorsch (Perrysburg, Ohio / Perrysburg) claimed Player of the Week honors. He dispatched Youngstown State’s Mitch Maroscher 6-3, 6-1 on Saturday before downing Cleveland State’s Nico Mostardi 6-0, 6-3 on Sunday. The victories at No. 1 singles helped the Crusaders claim 7-0 wins in both matches to improve to 16-1 and 3-0 in Horizon League activity. The Crusaders have won 15 straight.
Schorsch is in the midst of a significant winning streak of his own, as he has strung together 13 straight triumphs to boost his season record to 19-5. Not only has Valpo’s top player gone undefeated this spring, but he hasn’t lost a single set.
Schorsch and teammate Charlie Emhardt (Carmel, Ind. / Carmel) were named the Doubles Team of the Week. The duo helped the Crusaders win the doubles point in both matches this weekend. They played together on Saturday and edged Youngstown State’s No. 1 doubles team of Maroscher and Thomas Rodrigues 6-4.
This is the 12th Player of the Week distinction of Schorsch’s collegiate career and his third of the season. The Crusaders have won five Player of the Week awards and five Doubles Team of the Week Awards this year.
Valpo will step outside of league play this weekend for a trip to Murfeesboro, Tenn. The Crusaders battle UAB on Friday at 10 a.m. to get the trip started, then visit Middle Tennessee State on Saturday and take on South Alabama on Sunday.
Crusaders Announce Elite Camp
The Valparaiso University women’s basketball team has announced its Elite Camp, which is slated to take place on Monday, June 26 and Tuesday, June 27 at the Athletics-Recreation Center.
Check in is at noon on Monday, with the camp slated to begin at 1 p.m. Checkout is at noon on Tuesday. The cost is $100 per camper.
The Athletics-Recreation Center is located at 1009 Union Street Valparaiso, IN 46383.
Campers will have the opportunity to gain individual skill instruction from Valpo’s coaching staff and run through a daily schedule designed like Valpo team practices. Campers will receive an overnight stay in campus dorms and a Valpo basketball T-shirt. Plus, they’ll have the opportunity to meet and work with Valpo players.
Contact assistant coach Justin Rees (email@example.com), Director of Basketball Operations Rebekah Llorens (219-464-6931 | firstname.lastname@example.org) or administrative assistant Julie Vick (219-464-5254) with any questions or to receive more information. Additional information is also available on valpowomensbasketballcamps.com.
Experience Breeds Excitement as Valpo Football Prepares to Begin Spring Season
Just moments after the final whistle of the 2016 season cut the air, the excitement for the 2017 Valparaiso University football team began to build.
The Crusaders, who will bring back the bulk of their key players on both offense and defense, are poised to take the next step after finishing with their highest Pioneer Football League win total since 2003 and equaling their highest overall win total since 2000.
Each spring under head coach Dave Cecchini, Valpo players have been energetic to get back on the field. But with this year’s spring slate set to get started on Wednesday, there’s an added enthusiasm among a group that will be Valpo’s most experienced of the Cecchini era.
“The team is very optimistic, very excited,” Cecchini said. “The energy level is very high. There’s a level of wisdom that is a product of experience. We have a lot of players who have been through the system on offense and defense. The younger players have played an awful lot for us. This spring more than any other, we’re going to be able to move quickly because our guys have the recall that comes with experience.”
Rising sophomore Jimmy Seewald (Livonia, Mich. / Divine Child) is back at quarterback after throwing for 1,443 yards and 13 touchdowns in 10 games in 2016. A pair of other rising sophomores in Chris Duncan (Woodland Hills, Calif. / Woodland Hills-Taft) and Grant Papenfuss (North Palm Beach, Fla. / Cardinal Newman) will also take snaps under center this spring.
“We’re looking for Jimmy to take the next step and avoid a sophomore slump,” Cecchini said. “He’s going to get pushed by two other freshmen quarterbacks who are going to be breathing down his neck every step of the way. They’re talented players as well.”
Jarrett Morgan (Cooper City, Fla. / Cooper City) is back for his senior season after running for 632 yards and two touchdowns on 156 carries in 2016. He’ll be joined at the tailback spot by a trio of rising sophomores in Kyle Cartales (Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. / Cardinal Newman), Cody Boxrucker (West Chester, Ohio / Badin) and Austin Petrie (Livonia, Mich. / Stevenson), all of whom turned heads at times during their rookie campaigns.
The wide receiving group is also seasoned, with the team’s top two receivers statistically, Frank Catrine (Springboro, Ohio / Bishop Fenwick) and Jean Rene (Delray Beach, Fla. / Wellington Community), back for their senior and junior campaigns, respectively.
On special teams, rising sophomore Bailey Gessinger (Goshen, Ind. / Northwood) had two kickoff returns for touchdowns in 2016, one of just three players in the nation to do so. He was named to the all Pioneer Football League second-team following the season. Jake Simpson (Wyandotte, Mich. / Roosevelt) is expected to return at kicker after going 5-of-8 on field-goal tries including a 45-yarder in his first year as the team’s starter. Alex Ng (Royal Palm Beach, Fla. / Wellington Community) will be back for his junior season after averaging 37.7 yards per punt as a sophomore.
An-already strong defense will receive a boost from defensive back J.J. Nunes (Baltimore, Md. / Baltimore Lutheran), who was recently awarded an additional year of eligibility from the NCAA after missing the 2016 season due to a knee injury. The team’s top five tacklers from 2016 – Drew Snouffer (Columbus, Ohio / Upper Arlington), Kellan Hughes (Cicero, Ind. / Hamilton Heights), Joey Diaz-Martinez (Miramar, Fla. / Miramar), Nick Turner (Gurnee, Ill. / Warren Township) and Kye Hall (New Smyrna Beach, Fla. / New Smyrna), are all expected to be back.
The Crusaders had 85 players participate in offseason workouts, allowing them to implement a unique competition within the team. The coaching staff devised a scoring system as the players drafted eight teams, with a leadership council member serving as the captain of each team. Everything the team has done in the offseason has been competitive, from improvement in the weight room to conditioning drills to community service and academic success.
“It’s made our team tighter,” Cecchini said. “It’s improved the team bonding, and it’s also really improved the leadership development with players taking more ownership and helping their squads rise up. It’s an interesting mix where each team has a variety of classes and position groups represented.”
The system has produced tangible results for the team.
“We’ve had a lot of strength gains over the offseason, which was a huge priority for us,” Cecchini said. “We knew we were going to have a lot of experienced players coming back, and sometimes guys that are already starters aren’t as motivated in the weight room. Our players have done an outstanding job.”
The Crusaders will hold 15 spring practices, including the annual Spring Game on Saturday, April 22 at 11 a.m. at Brown Field.
“We’re thrilled with where we’re at,” Cecchini said. “We’re still not there, we have a lot of work to do, but I think the morale of the team is high. Everybody is excited to start putting on the pads and getting after each other in the spring practices.”
Women’s Throws, Men’s Pole Vault Highlight Strong Showing at Edmonds Invite
The Valparaiso University men’s and women’s track and field teams competed in an outdoor meet with their full squads for the first time this spring on Saturday at the Edmonds Invite hosted by St. Joseph’s College in Rensselaer, Ind.
The women’s throwers provided the highlights of the day, as Nellie Bonham (Palos Hill, Ill. / Stagg) and Abby Jankowski (Milwaukee, Wis. / Greendale) put together strong performances. Bonham won the hammer with a throw of 43.07 meters, while Jankowski turned in a throw of 40.75 to place third in the event. Both Bonham and Jankowski’s hammer heaves represented personal records.
“The performances by Nellie and Abby were the big stories of the day for me,” Valpo head coach Ryan Moore said. “Abby came back in the last throw in the finals of the women’s discus in the rain. It was nice to see those results, especially since we had UIC and Milwaukee there as well. Getting some head-to-head competition in conference and coming away with wins is always nice.”
The Crusaders swept the top three spots in the men’s pole vault, with Alex Watson (Bolivar, Ohio / Tuscarawas Valley) leading the way at 4.65 meters. He was followed closely by teammates Jeremy Seiler (Angola, Ind. / Fremont) at 4.55 and Evan Snow (Jackson Township, Ohio / Jackson) at 3.95.
Five Crusaders placed in the top eight in the men’s 1500-meter event, with sophomore Alexander Bruno (Bloomington, Ill. / University) running away with first place. He was joined in the top three by Ben Zibricky (New Lenox, Ill. / Lincoln Way Central), who took third. A string of Crusaders rounded out the top eight with Jack Mader (Granger, Ind. / Penn), Dan Walters (Crown Point, Ind. / Crown Point) and Tyler Grimes (Indianapolis / Perry Meridian) finishing sixth through eighth, respectively.
“Bruno ran really, really well for us,” Moore said. “We’re really excited to see what’s next for him. He’s getting ready to do some big things for us in the very near future.”
Senior Liz Owen (Freedom, Wis. / Freedom) had another strong day in distance, turning in a 4:55.25 in the 1,500.
Grimes also stood out in the men’s 800-meter run, as he crossed the line in 2:06.76 to place third. Karl Hanke (Bridgman, Mich. / Bridgman) turned in a sixth-place finish at 2:13.37.
Junior Montel Hall (Waukegan, Ill. / Waukegan) had a good day in the long jump, leading the team at 6.52. Malik Riley (Romeoville, Ill. / Romeoville) came in seventh with a jump of 6.29. Riley also participated on the 4x100 relay team that placed third at 44.77. He was joined on the relay by Aaron Clark, Zach Topper (Portage, Ind. / Portage) and Evan Snow (Jacksonville Township, Ohio / Jackson).
Andrew Guzek (Valparaiso, Ind. / Valparaiso) continued his strong season by placing third in the hammer at 47.45. Drew McKissick (Naperville, Ill. / Neuqua Valley) came in sixth in the men’s javelin throw at 52.82, while Peter Rhodes (McLeansville, N.C. / Burlington Christian Academy) was seventh at 44.33.
“Weather was not a huge factor for us,” Moore said. “It didn’t start raining until 5 p.m. there, so we lucked out. In Valpo, it was raining all day. This was a good first full squad meet for us. It gave us a good opportunity to go against conference teams and we produced some good results.”
The Crusaders will return to action Friday as they head to Charleston, Ill. for the first of two days at the EIU Big Blue Classic.
Crusaders Can’t Capture Rubber Match in Chicago
The Valparaiso University baseball team dropped the rubber match of a three-game weekend series at Granderson Stadium 8-1 to UIC on Sunday afternoon. The Flames jumped in front with two runs in the first inning and later pulled away on a pair of late two-run home runs.
How It Happened
- The Flames (13-7, 5-1 Horizon) got on the board first as Rob Calabrese clubbed a two-run double to the gap in left in the first inning. David Cronin and Thomas Norton both scampered home to give the Flames a 2-0 lead. They had a chance for more with runners at second and third and one away, but Valpo starter Michael Mommersteeg (St. Thomas, Ont., Canada / St. Joseph’s) notched a timely strikeout followed by a ground ball to short.
- The Crusaders (8-13, 1-5 Horizon) threatened in the second with runners at first and second and nobody out, but Scott Kapers (Schererville, Ind. / Mount Carmel) hit a sharp ground ball to second for a 4-3 double play, then Patrick Donohue (Arlington Heights, Ill. / Prospect) lined to left to end the threat.
- An incredible diving stop by UIC third baseman Thomas Norton on a one-hop smash by Nate Palace (Westlake Village, Calif. / Oaks Christian) took a base hit away from the Valpo senior, costing the Crusaders a run in the third. Chad Jacob (Irvine, Calif. / Woodbridge) was left stranded at second after ripping a single up the middle and advancing to second on a passed ball.
- Junior Alex Dirienzo (Somerset, Pa. / Somerset [Akron]) came on in relief of Mommersteeg with two on and one away in the third. He walked the first man he faced, but then induced a sharp ground ball to Palace at first that turned into a 3-2-3 inning-ending twin killing.
- A bloop single, sacrifice bunt and single to right by Cody Bohanek allowed the Flames to produce a run in the fourth, making it 3-0 UIC.
- The Flames boosted the lead to four in the fifth, when they added a run against Ellis Foreman (Round Rock, Texas / Stony Point) on a 6-5 fielder’s choice bouncer by Ricardo Ramirez that plated Scott Ota, who had walked to start the inning.
- The Crusaders got on the board for the first time in the seventh on a sharp single through the right side by Chad Jacob (Irvine, Calif. / Woodbridge) that plated Kapers. The Crusaders had a chance for more, but stranded men at first and third and trailed 4-1.
- Luke VanLanen (Pulaski, Wis. / Pulaski) came in to work the bottom of the seventh. He retired the first batter he faced, but then allowed a single to Calabrese followed by a pitch that Ramirez deposited into the left-field bullpen for a two-run homer to make it 6-1 UIC.
- Cronin blasted a tape measure two-run homer to right against Valpo freshman Garrett Hill (San Marino, Calif. / Chatsworth) in the eighth, expanding UIC’s lead to 8-1.
- The Crusaders loaded the bases in the top of the ninth, but failed to score.
Inside the Game
- The first-inning runs were the first earned tallies allowed by Mommersteeg all season. The freshman southpaw had heaved 14 1/3 scoreless frames before making his first career weekend start on Sunday.
- Mommersteeg left after 2 1/3 innings. He was charged with two runs (two earned) on three hits while issuing four walks and striking out two. He was hit with the defeat, his first decision of the year.
- Freshman Christian Barczi (Naperville, Ill. / Naperville North) has played in just six games in a Valpo uniform and has multiple hits in two of them. An infield single in the eighth capped his first career three-hit performance.
- Jacob, playing in only his 10th game after missing time with a wrist injury, picked up his 10th RBI of the year. He had his fifth multi-hit game of the season.
- Grant Inman (Fort Wayne, Ind. / Carroll) was the only Crusader to work an easy inning, sending down the Flames in order in the sixth.
- UIC’s Andersen (1-1) picked up the win with six-plus innings of one-run, six-hit ball.
The Crusaders return to the diamond on Wednesday in West Lafayette, Ind. as they lock horns with Purdue. The first pitch is slated for 5 p.m. CT. Links to live video, audio and stats will be available on ValpoAthletics.com.
Crusaders Fall to Vikings on Sunday
The Valparaiso University women’s tennis team suffered a 7-0 setback to Cleveland State on Sunday afternoon at Medical Mutual Tennis Pavilion in Cleveland, Ohio. The host Vikings climbed to .500 at 8-8 and boosted their Horizon League record to 2-0, while the Crusaders dropped to 1-11, 0-2 in league play.
How It Happened
- Valpo’s No. 1 doubles tandem of Kathleen Hebble (Sellersburg, Ind. / Silver Creek) and Paige Heuer (Munster, Ind. / Munster) owned a 4-2 lead over Jana Schober and Victoria Bensimon, but that match went unfinished as the Vikings claimed the doubles point by virtue of wins at the other two doubles spots.
- Cleveland State’s Isabella Spindler and Princess Gbadamosi grabbed a 6-1 win over Meg Modesto (Chesterton, Ind. / Chesterton) and Randi Wind (Park Ridge, Ill. / Maine South) at No. 2, while Valpo’s Dao Sysouvanh (Sun Prairie, Wis. / Sun Prairie) and Halle Roach (Libertyville, Ill. / Libertyville) fell to Aleksandra Golawska and Blanche Lenoan by that same score at No. 3.
- The first singles match to finish came at No. 6, as Wind succumbed to Lenoan 6-3, 6-0.
- Golawska built Cleveland State’s lead to 3-0 by putting together a 6-2, 6-0 win over Modesto at No. 3.
- The match-clinching point came at No. 5 singles, as Schober defeated Sysouvanh 6-3, 6-1.
- Freshman Jordan Kopfer (Eagan, Minn. / Eastview) lost to Gbadamosi at No. 4, while Hebble was on the losing end of a 6-3, 6-0 match to Spindler at No. 1. No. 2 singles was the final match to finish, with Heuer falling 6-3, 6-0 to Bensimon.
The Crusaders will play their first home Horizon League match of the year and their first home match since March 4 on Saturday. UIC will come to town for a 2 p.m. start. The Flames were picked to finish second in the Horizon League preseason poll, narrowly behind league-favorite Youngstown State. Valpo’s first three league matches are against the teams predicted to finish first through third based on preseason voting of the league’s head coaches.
Crusaders Complete Ohio Swing by Dispatching Cleveland State
The Valparaiso University men’s tennis team faced a quick turnaround as it traveled from Youngstown to Cleveland for a morning match on Sunday, but the schedule was not enough to slow down the Crusaders, who rolled to a 7-0 victory over Cleveland State, a team picked to finish second behind Valpo in the Horizon League Preseason Poll.
How It Happened
- The Crusaders (16-1, 3-0 Horizon) continued to go back-and-forth with their doubles alignment, this time pairing Charlie Emhardt (Carmel, Ind. / Carmel) with Chad Kissell (Latrobe, Pa. / Greater Latrobe) at No. 2. That duo took care of business, winning 6-2 against William Malm and Colton Buffington of Cleveland State (6-11, 1-1 Horizon).
- Kyle Dunn (Fond du Lac, Wis. / Fond du Lac) and Garrett Gardner (Poland, Ohio / Poland) once again got the nod at No. 3 doubles. They defeated Nico Mostardi and Kevin Goth 6-2.
- With the doubles point already decided, the match between Jeffrey Schorsch (Perrysburg, Ohio / Perrysburg) and Dave Bacalla (Skokie, Ill. / Niles North) and Mirko Radosevic and Benjamin Slade went unfinished at No. 1 doubles. Schorsch and Bacalla held a 5-4 lead when play was halted.
- Valpo’s top two singles players made quick work of the opposition. In seemingly the blink of an eye, the Crusaders held a 3-0 edge in the match. Schorsch was the first to finish, getting the best of Mostardi 6-0, 6-3 at No. 1. Kissell was equally as dominant against Buffington at No. 2, winning 6-3, 6-0.
- Brandon Ancona (Belvidere, Ill. / Rockford Christian) returned to the lineup at No. 6 singles after sitting out on Saturday. He latched down the match-clinching point by beating Goth 6-2, 6-3.
- Dunn picked up a win by retirement at No. 5 singles, topping Malm 6-3 in the first set and leading 3-0 in the second set when the match ended.
- Bacalla prevailed at No. 4 singles, sweeping Slade 6-3, 6-4.
- The only three-set match of the day occurred at No. 3 singles, as Emhardt claimed a 6-2, 2-6, 1-0 (10-8) win over Radosevic.
Inside the Match
- The Crusaders lengthened their winning streak to 15 with the victory.
- Schorsch’s win allowed him to extend his winning streak to 13. He has not dropped a set all spring.
- Schorsch now owns 103 career singles wins, while Dunn and Emhardt remain tied for second in program history with 85 career singles wins apiece.
- Ancona is also in the midst of a winning streak, as he has nailed down nine consecutive singles triumphs.
- Kissell and Emhardt moved to 6-0 when playing together. Emhardt grabbed his 109th career doubles win.
The Crusaders will head to Murfreesboro, Tenn. for three nonleague matches this coming weekend. The first of those matches will be against UAB at 10 a.m. on Friday.
Women’s Tennis Drops League Opener
The Valparaiso University women’s tennis team forced a pair of three-set matches, but was unable to secure a team point in Saturday’s 7-0 loss to Youngstown State at the Boardman Tennis Center. The match marked the start of Horizon League play as the Crusaders took the court for the first time after a two-week layoff. The Penguins are the preseason favorite to win the league.
How It Happened
- The most competitive match of the day came at No. 5 singles, as freshman Dao Sysouvanh (Sun Prairie, Wis. / Sun Prairie) suffered a Set 1 setback to Imaan Hassim 7-5, before bouncing back to take the second set 7-5. That forced a decisive set, and Hassim secured the match by virtue of a 10-4 win.
- The other three-setter occurred at No. 4 singles, as freshman Jordan Kopfer (Eagan, Minn. / Eastview) bounced back from a 6-1 loss in Set 1 by turning the tables on Nehel Sahni with a 6-1 win in Set 2. The Penguins (7-8, 1-1 Horizon) again prevailed in the final set, latching down a 10-2 victory in the third.
- The other matches featured a number of close sets. Meg Modesto (Chesterton, Ind. / Chesterton) lost to Sofia Macias 6-3, 6-2 at No. 3, while Ana Stroe got the better of Randi Wind (Park Ridge, Ill. / Maine South) 6-4, 6-3 at No. 6.
- Dominika Lackova nailed down a 6-4, 6-1 win over Kathleen Hebble (Sellersburg, Ind. / Silver Creek) at No. 1 singles, while Paige Heuer (Munster, Ind. / Munster) was on the wrong end of a 6-0, 6-1 decision against Noelly Nsimba at No. 2.
- The Penguins won the doubles point by taking No. 2 and No. 3. The top doubles match went unfinished with Hebble and Heuer leading 5-4 at the time play was halted.
The Crusaders (1-10, 0-1 Horizon) will attempt to bounce back on Sunday afternoon as they continue their Ohio swing by visiting Cleveland State for a match that gets going at 1 p.m. CT. The Vikings are 7-8 and started league by dispatching UIC 5-2 on Saturday. A link to live stats is available on ValpoAthletics.com.
Offense Leads the Way In Softball Split Saturday
Offense was the name of the game Saturday in Highland Heights, Ky., as the Valparaiso University softball team combined for six home runs, 22 runs scored and 25 hits over a doubleheader split with Northern Kentucky. The Crusaders dropped the opener, 12-9, before rebounding with a 13-5 victory in the nightcap. Sophomore Jaymee Lawton (Goodyear, Ariz./Desert Edge [Utah Valley]) led the way with three home runs over the doubleheader, while freshman pitcher Lindsay Zdroik (Elgin, Ill./St. Edward) earned her first collegiate victory in the nightcap.
How It Happened – Game 1
- Valpo struck immediately for five runs in the top of the first inning. Sophomore Carly Trepanier (Manteno, Ill./Manteno) reached to lead off on an error and scored on a single by senior Jorgi Calombaris (Frankfort, Ill./Lincoln-Way East. Senior Sam Stewart (Frankfort, Ill./Lincoln-Way East) followed with a single of her own and eventually came home on an NKU error.
- Lawton then delivered the first of her three bombs on the day, a three-run shot to straightaway center field to give Valpo a 5-0 lead.
- NKU scored three in the second to cut into the Crusaders’ lead, but Valpo got them back and more in the fourth. Freshman Gabby Magnifico (Elmhurst, Ill./York) connected for a two-run homer following a single by Lanie Callaghan (Elburn, Ill./Kaneland). Trepanier then singled and stole second before a drive to the wall by Calombaris plated her to make it 8-3 Crusaders.
- NKU tied the game in the bottom of the fifth, scoring a pair of runs before a three-run homer from Ava Lawson evened things up at 8-8.
- Valpo regained the lead in its next at-bat, as a leadoff walk to Magnifico turned into a run later in the inning courtesy of an RBI single by junior Jenna Stauffenberg (Kankakee, Ill./Bishop McNamara).
- The lead was short-lived, however, as the Norse tallied four runs on five hits in the bottom of the sixth for the final margin.
How It Happened – Game 2
- In a 180 from the opener, the Norse took the early lead in the nightcap. Back-to-back run-scoring doubles in the first gave NKU a pair of runs, and the Norse made it 3-0 thanks to a Valpo error in the second.
- But the Crusaders responded with the biggest crooked number on the scoreboard for either team on Saturday, posting a six-spot in the top of the third. After a bunt single from freshman Morgan Matalin (Crown Point, Ind./Crown Point), Magnifico got Valpo on the board with her second homer of the day – this one flying out to left field.
- Back-to-back outs made it look like it might remain a one-run deficit, but the next five Crusader hitters would reach as Valpo batted around in the inning. Stewart lined a single into center field to start the train, and Stauffenberg followed by driving an 0-2 pitch over the center-field wall for her first career home run, giving Valpo a 4-3 lead.
- Junior Brenna Boyle (St. John, Ind./Andrean) drew a walk and scored on the next batter thanks to a dropped fly ball by NKU’s right fielder. The Crusaders took advantage of the inning-extending miscue, as Callaghan drilled the first pitch she saw into center for an RBI double to cap the six-run frame.
- A solo homer for the Norse cut the Valpo advantage to two runs, but another crooked number was in the cards for the Crusaders in the fourth. The bases were loaded with two outs courtesy of two walks and a single, and Boyle lined a pitch right back up the middle to score two.
- Lawton stepped up and wasted no time adding to the Valpo lead, driving the first pitch she saw out to left-center for a three-run blast to push the lead to 11-4.
- Another solo home run for the Norse to lead off the bottom of the fifth made it an 11-5 game, but NKU would get no closer, as freshman Lindsay Zdroik (Elgin, Ill./St. Edward) and the Crusader defense got big outs late. The Norse would strand eight runners on base over the final three innings.
- Lawton crushed her second home run of the game and third of the day to center with two outs in the sixth to add to the Valpo lead, and the Crusaders capped the scoring in the seventh. Trepanier dropped down a bunt single and would come around to score on an NKU error in conjunction with a base knock from Calombaris.
Inside the Games
- Two-out scoring proved vital to the Crusaders’ victory in the nightcap, as 10 of Valpo’s 13 runs crossed the plate with two away, as opposed to just one of nine runs in the opener.
- Calombaris (3-for-4, 2 RBI) and Stauffenberg (2-for-3, BB) both reached base three times in the opener.
- Magnifico scored twice and drove in a pair of runs, while Lawton tallied three RBIs in the loss.
- Junior Stephanie Moreno (Murrieta, Calif./Murrieta Valley), who continues to work her way back from injury, recorded her first base hit of the season in the opener.
- Junior Ashlyn Montgomery (Lebanon, Ind./Lebanon) took the loss in relief, falling to 5-3 on the year.
- Four Crusaders posted multi-hit games in the nightcap victory, led by Trepanier, who finished 3-for-5 – tallying hits in each of her final three at-bats – with a pair of runs scored.
- Stauffenberg, Callaghan and Lawton all picked up two hits apiece in the win. Lawton finished the game 2-for-3 with three runs scored and four RBIs, with her three home runs giving her a total of four now on the year.
- Boyle and Magnifico each registered a pair of RBIs and scored twice in the series finale. Magnifico now owns three home runs this year after going deep twice on Saturday.
- Stewart reached base twice in both games, extending her on-base streak to 22 consecutive games.
- Zdroik picked up her first collegiate win, coming out of the bullpen in the third inning and limiting NKU the rest of the way. The freshman surrendered just a single run in 4.2 innings of work.
The Crusaders (14-8, 2-1 Horizon) step out of league play for their home opener on Wednesday afternoon, as Valpo welcomes IUPUI to the Valpo Softball Complex. First pitch is slated for 4 p.m., and links for live coverage will be available via ValpoAthletics.com.
Men’s Tennis Winning Streak Continues to Grow
The Valparaiso University men’s tennis team hadn’t taken the court for a match since March 12, but the Crusaders continued their winning ways as they returned to action on Saturday afternoon at Youngstown State’s Boardman Tennis Center. The host Penguins became the latest victim for a red-hot Valpo team that secured its 14th straight win with a 7-0 Horizon League triumph.
How It Happened
- As they so often do, the Crusaders started the match by notching the doubles point. Seniors Jeffrey Schorsch (Perrysburg, Ohio / Perrysburg) and Charlie Emhardt (Carmel, Ind. / Carmel) played together at No. 1 doubles and eked out a 6-4 victory over Youngstown State’s Mitch Maroscher and Thomas Rodrigues.
- The other two doubles matches were also tight, with Dave Bacalla (Skokie, Ill. / Niles North) and Chad Kissell (Latrobe, Pa. / Greater Latrobe) utilizing a tiebreaker at No. 2. They beat freshman Joao Garretto and sophomore Danylo Veremeichuk 7-6 (7-4).
- Kyle Dunn (Fond du Lac, Wis. / Fond du Lac) and Garrett Gardner (Poland, Ohio / Poland) trailed 5-4 at No. 3 doubles, but their match went unfinished.
- The first singles player to complete his match was Schorsch, who wasted no time in dispatching Maroscher 6-3, 6-1 at No. 1.
- Kissell was nearly as dominant at No. 2 singles, defeating Matthew Kritzinger 6-3, 6-2.
- Emhardt got the nod at No. 3 singles and prevailed 7-6 (7-5), 6-3 over Danylo Veremeichuk. His win clinched the team victory for Valpo.
- Bacalla also engaged in a good battle, his with Rondrigues at No. 4 singles. He came away with a 7-6 (9-7), 6-3 win.
- Dunn and Garretto played a long match at No. 5 singles, with Dunn coming out on top 6-4, 6-4.
- Luke Purser won Youngstown State’s only set of the day at No. 6 singles. Gardner still came away with the match win, defeating Purser 6-2, 6-7 (6-8), 10-3.
Inside the Match
- The Crusaders now own a 15-1 record and have rapped off 14 straight victories. They’re off to a 2-0 start to Horizon League play. This was the league opener for the Penguins.
- Schorsch stayed unblemished in dual matches and ran his winning streak to 12. He has not dropped a single set this spring.
- The singles win was the 102nd of Schorsch’s career. Dunn and Emhardt remain tied for second in program history, as both notched their 84th career singles win on Saturday.
- Emhardt and Schorsch have now won six straight matches when playing together. They stand at 17-6 as a duo this season.
The Crusaders will have a tough match on Sunday as they visit Cleveland State at 9 a.m. CT. A link to live stats is available on ValpoAthletics.com. The Vikings were picked to finish second in the Horizon League preseason poll, with the Crusaders tabbed as league favorites. Cleveland State is 6-10 overall and won its league opener 6-1 over UIC on Saturday.
Crusaders’ Season Comes to an End at Southland Bowling League Championship
The #24 Valparaiso University bowling team saw its 2016-17 season come to an end on Friday afternoon at the Southland Bowling League Championship in Jonesboro, Ark.
How It Happened
- The Crusaders entered tournament play seeded seventh in the eight-team tournament field, based off of the most recent RPI rankings, and were matched up with second-seeded #4 Sam Houston State in the opening round of bracket play.
- The SBL tournament utilizes a hybrid format for matchups, where the two teams square off in a traditional team match and a five-game baker match. If the same team wins both matches, they advance – if the two teams split the matches, a best-of-seven baker match determines the winner.
- Valpo fell to SHSU in the traditional match to start things off, 932-840, as the Crusaders were led by a 191 game from fifth-year senior Olivia Wirtz (Battle Creek, Mich./Harper Creek [Vanderbilt]).
- SHSU then led the Crusaders by 42 pins entering the final game of the five-game baker match. A game of 208 from Valpo was nearly enough to overcome the deficit, but the Crusaders fell by five pins – 919-914 – to fall into the elimination bracket.
- Valpo was then matched up with sixth-seeded #14 Tulane in an elimination match. The Crusaders earned an 882-830 win in the traditional match, paced by a 194 effort from Wirtz, but Tulane got the better of Valpo in the five-game baker match, 964-855.
- After trading wins in the first two games of the deciding best-of-seven baker match, Valpo claimed games three and four to put itself on the verge of advancing. But it was not meant to be, as Tulane rolled three consecutive games of 216 or better to rally for the 4-3 victory.
Crusaders Rally to Claim Horizon League Opener
It wasn’t for the faint of heart, but the Valparaiso University softball team came out of its Horizon League opener at Northern Kentucky on Friday victorious, as the Crusaders scored five times in the seventh inning to overcome a 3-2 deficit and eventually earn a 7-4 victory.
How It Happened
- Entering the top of the seventh trailing by one run, junior Jasmine Ramirez (Litchfield Park, Ariz./Millennium) reached to lead off the inning. Pinch-runner Stephanie Moreno (Murrieta, Calif./Murrieta Valley) then moved up to second on a sacrifice bunt before taking third on a wild pitch.
- Following a walk to junior Brenna Boyle (St. John, Ind./Andrean), junior Lanie Callaghan (Elburn, Ill./Kaneland) dropped a single into shallow right-center field to bring home Moreno and tie the game at 3-3.
- A walk loaded the bases before a fielder’s choice forced the lead runner at the plate for the second out. But Calombaris came up with the big blow, lining a bases-clearing double to the left-center gap to score all three runners and give Valpo a 6-3 lead.
- Senior Sam Stewart (Frankfort, Ill./Lincoln-Way East) delivered an insurance run as well, bringing home Calombaris with a single through the left side. NKU would slice one run off the Crusader lead with back-to-back two-out doubles in the bottom of the seventh, but junior Ashlyn Montgomery (Lebanon, Ind./Lebanon) recorded a strikeout to close out the win.
- The home run ball accounted for the majority of the scoring leading up to the seventh inning, as the teams combined for three solo shots in a span of three half-innings. Calombaris got things started with a shot to left-center to open the scoring in the top of the fourth.
- NKU’s Dani Devlin evened the score with a one-out solo homer in the bottom of the fourth, but the Crusaders reclaimed the lead in the top of the fifth, as Callaghan took a 3-0 pitch deep over the left-field wall.
- The Norse tied the game in the bottom of the fifth, taking advantage of Crusader defensive miscues, and then took the lead with a single run in the bottom of the sixth to set up Valpo’s seventh-inning heroics.
Inside the Game
- Entering the seventh inning trailing on the scoreboard has traditionally been a tough row to hoe for the Crusader program, as entering last Saturday, Valpo was just 10-308 dating back to 1999 when trailing through six innings. But the Crusaders have now won their last two such games, beating South Dakota last Saturday prior to Friday’s win.
- Calombaris set a new career best with her four RBIs in the win over the Norse. Her fourth-inning home run was her second of the season and fifth of her career.
- Callaghan’s fifth-inning round-tripper was her third of the season and gives her seven career long balls.
- Callaghan, Calombaris, Stewart and junior Jenna Stauffenberg (Kankakee, Ill./Bishop McNamara) each picked up two hits in Friday’s win.
- Montgomery earned the victory in the circle to improve to 5-2 on the year, pitching six innings total in the starting assignment and giving up just two earned runs. The junior was relieved by junior Kenzie Grossmann (Perry, Mo./Mark Twain [Morehead State]) in the fifth inning, and then re-entered in the sixth inning.
Thoughts From Head Coach Kate Stake
“Jorgi was really the leader that we needed today – she came out with the mindset that she was ready to attack her final season of league play, got us going with her home run in her second at-bat, and then came through when we needed her to in the final inning.”
The Crusaders (13-7, 1-0 Horizon) conclude the three-game set against the Norse with a doubleheader on Saturday, beginning at 11 a.m. CT. Live stats for both games will be available via ValpoAthletics.com
Crusaders Take Game 2, Split Doubleheader with Flames
The Valparaiso University baseball team bounced back from a Game 1 defeat to split Friday’s doubleheader with a 4-2 win over UIC in Game 2 at Granderson Stadium in Chicago. The Flames held on for a 10-7 win in Game 1 as the Crusaders rallied for six unanswered runs but came up short. The win in the nightcap allowed Valpo (8-12, 1-4 Horizon) to notch its first league win of the season.
How It Happened – Game 1
- Nate Palace (Westlake Village, Calif. / Oaks Christian) picked up right where he left off on Tuesday night, lifting an opposite-field home run against UIC ace Jake Dahlberg to put the Crusaders on the board in the opening inning on a hitters’ day in the Windy City.
- The Flames (12-7, 4-1 Horizon) had a quick answer as they strung together three consecutive one-out singles in the bottom of the first against Valpo starting pitcher Mario Losi (Anaheim, Calif. / Canyon). The third hit in that sequence was a sharp single to left that allowed Cody Bohanek to score the tying run.
- Dahlberg issued back-to-back walks in the second, presenting the Crusaders with a bases-loaded, one-out chance. Dahlberg induced an infield fly and a fly ball to center to retire the side as Valpo stranded the maximum.
- Rob Calabrese cracked a fly ball that carried over the left-field fence for a solo home run, allowing UIC to grab a 2-1 lead in the second inning.
- With the bases loaded and nobody out in the second, Bohanek lifted a sacrifice fly to center, driving in Brandon Gibis.
- Scott Ota expanded UIC’s lead to six by cracking a grand slam with one out in the second. The three runners on base for the big fly all reached via free passes – two walks and a hit batter.
- The Flames tacked on a third-inning run against Valpo reliever Jake Larson (Irvine, Calif. / Woodbridge) as Ota added his fifth RBI of the game by lifting a sacrifice fly.
- Palace picked up his second RBI of the afternoon on a 6-3 bouncer in the fifth that plated Chase Dawson (Chesterton, Ind. / Andrean). Dawson had reached on a hit by pitch and scampered to third on a double by James Stea (Los Alamitos, Calif. / Los Alamitos [Golden West].
- Scott Kapers (Schererville, Ind. / Mt. Carmel) split the gap in right center with a one-out double in the sixth, driving in Sam Shaikin (West Hills, Calif. / Chatsworth) to make it 10-3. The Kapers double was the first of three two-baggers in the frame for the Crusaders, who scored four times to shrink UIC’s lead to four.
- Chad Jacob (Irvine, Calif. / Woodbridge), playing for the first time since March 10 and returning from injury, ripped a double down the right-field line in the sixth to drive in a pair. Jacob eventually crossed the dish on a hot shot off the bat of Stea down the third-base line.
- The Crusaders had a chance for more in the sixth with runners at second and third and one away, but they could do no further damage. Freshman Christian Barczi (Naperville, Ill. / Naperville North) was utilized as a pinch hitter with two outs, but was retired on a sharp line drive to third. Barczi, also coming off an injury, made his first appearance since Feb. 26.
- Kapers connected on his third hit of the game in the seventh, a single to score Shaikin and whittle UIC’s lead to three at 10-7. Valpo had a chance for more with the bases loaded and one away, but stranded the bags full for the second time in the game.
- The Crusaders put together a two-out rally in the eighth, but came away with nothing to show for it as they left the bases full for the second straight inning. Patrick Donohue (Arlington Heights, Ill. / Prospect) worked the count, but bounced to second on a 3-2 pitch. Valpo stranded eight on base in the sixth, seventh and eighth innings combined.
- Valpo went down in order in the ninth as the Flames fended off the rally. The Crusaders scored the final six runs of the game.
Inside Game 1
- Palace’s home run was his third in a two-game span and his sixth of the season. He launched a first-inning big fly for the second consecutive game.
- Kapers enjoyed his third multi-hit performance of the season and lifted his RBI total to eight. He also had two hits on Tuesday, making it back-to-back games with multiple hits after having just one multi-hit performance in his first 16 games of the season. It was his first three-hit game of the season and the second of his collegiate career.
- Shaikin had two hits for his fourth multi-hit game of the year, while Stea enjoyed his fourth multi-hit performance. Stea doubled twice and drove in a run for the Crusaders.
- Losi’s outing ended after 1 1/3 innings. He was charged with seven earned runs on six hits and walked two. Losi was hit with the defeat to drop to 0-3 on the season.
- Dahlberg went 5 1/3 innings and yielded five runs on four hits while walking three and striking out two. He picked up the win to improve to 3-1.
- Larson worked 4 2/3 innings and allowed three runs (one earned) on five hits out of the Valpo bullpen while issuing one walk and striking out one. Montana Quigley (Lake Forest, Calif. / El Toro) kept the Crusaders in the game with two scoreless innings in relief.
- Alex Padilla worked the final 2 2/3 innings for the Flames and was credited with the save, his first of the season.
How It Happened – Game 2
- Valpo starting pitcher Wes Gordon (Waukegan, Ill. / Warren [Lake County]) worked in and out of trouble over the first four frames. After sending the side down in order in the first, he allowed a runner to reach scoring position in the second, third and fourth, but all runners were stranded. UIC’s best chance was the bottom of the fourth, when an error by the Crusaders allowed runners to move up to second and third with one away, but Gordon wiggled out of the inning with the shutout still intact.
- The first real Valpo threat of the game came in the fifth inning when the Crusaders had runners at second and third with one away following a Stea double. A Valpo runner was picked off third by the UIC catcher for the second out, but Jacob came through with two outs in a big way by launching a two-run homer.
- Following the home run, UIC pitching allowed four straight free passes. Reliever Noah Masa walked Shaikin with the bags full to force in a run and make it 3-0 Valpo in the fifth.
- The Flames had runners at first and second with two down in the fifth, but Valpo got out of the inning as Kapers cut down a runner who was attempting to steal third.
- UIC got on the board on a slow roller on the infield by Matt Botcher that went for a two-out, run-scoring single in the sixth.
- The Flames trimmed the lead to one in the seventh as Scott Ota legged out a two-out infield single to drive in Bohanek. Ota was ruled safe on a close play at first.
- Valpo got the run right back when Shaikin spanked a double to start the eighth and eventually scored on a two-out single by Dawson.
Inside Game 2
- Jacob’s home run was his second of the season and the second of his three-year Valpo career. He has started two games since Feb. 26 while battling an injury (March 10 and Saturday’s second game) and has homered in both.
- Shaikin’s bases loaded walk helped him earn his fifth RBI of the year. Dawson picked up his seventh run batted in.
- The Crusaders chased UIC starter Reid Birlingmair after 4 2/3 innings. He was charged with three earned runs on five hits while issuing four walks and hitting a batter. Birlingmair was hit with the defeat to drop to 2-1.
- Gordon departed after six strong innings during which he allowed one run (earned) while scattering nine hits. He did not issue any walks and fanned two. Gordon (1-3) was the winning pitcher, his first victory in a Valpo uniform.
- Easton Rhodehouse (Gilbert Ariz. / Highland) was strong in relief, limiting the Flames to one run on two hits in two innings.
- Freshman Jon Tieman (Crystal Lake, Ill. / Prairie Ridge) nailed down his fifth save of the season by working a scoreless ninth.
- Stea, Palace and Shaikin had two hits apiece in Game 2.
The Crusaders and Flames will play Game 3 of the series on Sunday at 12:05 p.m. There will be no game on Saturday due to an unfavorable weather forecast. Links to live audio and stats for Sunday’s game will be available on ValpoAthletics.com.