Men’s Tennis Splits Sunday Matches in Toledo
The Valparaiso University men’s tennis team rounded out a weekend of competition at the Rocket Invitational in Toledo, Ohio on Sunday. The Crusaders split a pair of tight matches, edging Duquesne 3-2 before falling to Western Michigan 3-2 in a battle of two defending conference champions.
How It Happened – Duquesne
- Valpo sophomore Garrett Gardner (Poland, Ohio / Poland) dispatched Dimitris Stavropoulos 6-3, 6-1.
- Redshirt freshman Brian Pecyna (Glen Ellyn, Ill.) got the better of Duquesne’s Dane Bendel in straight sets, 6-4, 6-2.
- Valpo doubles tandem Brandon Ancona (Belvidere, Ill. / Rockford Christian) and Daniel Langston (Ponca City, Okla. / Ponca City) dropped the opening set 6-3, but then rallied to capture the remaining sets 6-2, 10-5 and notch the match-deciding win over Adam Blasinky and Chris Corrao.
- Senior Kyle Dunn (Fond du Lac, Wis. / Fond du Lac) took Set 1 from Drew Akins 6-1, but Atkins emerged victorious 6-2 in the second set and 10-5 in the third.
- Freshman Franklin Brozovich (Fort Gratiot, Mich. / Port Huron Northern) followed the same pattern. He beat Jared Isaacs in the first set 6-4, only to drop Set 2 6-1 and Set 3 10-8.
How It Happened – Western Michigan
- Valpo’s lone singles win of the match against reigning MAC champion Western Michigan came courtesy of Langston, who knocked off Eric Oliverez 6-2, 6-3. It was Oliverez’s first loss of the season.
- The doubles duo of Dunn and Brozovich also recorded a straight-set victory, topping Western Michigan’s Billy Heckman and Nick Schnobel 6-3, 7-5.
- Gardner dropped a competitive match to Kennosuke Nouchi 6-4, 6-7 (5-10), 11-9.
- Pecyna forced a third set against Western Michigan’s Kris Knof, but fell 6-4, 3-6, 12-10.
- Ancona was on the losing end of a 6-2, 6-3 match against Jannik Opitz, who improved to 7-0 this season.
The ITA Men’s All-American Championships, with select Crusaders participating, continues through Oct. 10. The Oracle/ITA Masters will be held in Malibu, Calif. from Oct. 13-16 with Jeffrey Schorsch slated to represent Valpo. The Crusader Indoor Invitational will take place at the Courts of NWI from Oct. 14-16.
Griffith Ties Program Record as Crusaders Win at Green Bay
The Valparaiso University women’s soccer team improved to 3-1-0 in Horizon League play Saturday evening and picked up its second win in as many league road matches, scoring a pair of second-half goals to win at Green Bay, 2-0. Sophomore Cory Griffith (Lemont, Ill./Providence Catholic) recorded her fourth match-winning goal of the year, matching a Crusader program record.
How It Happened
- The game went into halftime scoreless after a benign first half which saw just five total shot attempts.
- Valpo broke through for the opener in the 59th minute. Freshman Adi Johnson (Rockford, Ill./Rockford Christian) sent a pass up the field for sophomore Cory Griffith (Lemont, Ill./Providence Catholic), who finished to the goalkeeper’s left to open the scoring.
- The Crusaders took advantage of their eighth corner kick of the match to find an insurance goal. Senior April Cronin (Glenview, Ill./Glenbrook South) took the corner for Valpo and sent it in to the box, where fellow senior Vanesa Abad (Barrington, Ill./Lake Zurich [Ohio State]) headed it home for the two-goal lead.
Inside the Match
- Griffith’s goal was the fourth match-winner of the season for the sophomore, matching a mark held by numerous Crusader players. The last time it happened was 2014, when Cronin and Rita Craven picked up four match-winners apiece.
- Griffith has scored the match-winner in each of the Crusaders’ last three victories.
- Johnson picked up her first career assist on Griffith’s goal.
- Abad found the back of the net with her first goal in just over a calendar year. The senior last tallied a goal in league play against UIC on Sept. 30, 2015.
- Redshirt freshman Tess Barrett (Tinley Park, Ill./Providence Catholic) returned to the goalkeeper position Saturday and had to make just two saves to earn the clean sheet, her third shutout of the year.
Thoughts From Head Coach John Marovich
“It’s always big to get the full three points on the road in the Horizon League, especially with the light rain throughout tonight’s game. These conditions make it very stressful for defenders to be sure of their footing while dealing with attacking players, flighted balls and balls skipping on the surface. So I’m pleased with how our back line played tonight in posting a clean sheet.”
“I’m proud of our group being persistent in finding the goals in the second half and not losing their focus. Adi’s vision tonight was good and was rewarded, as she played a really nice diagonal ball into a seam at the end of Cory’s run. Cory was composed on the finish, which is always wonderful to see in those situations.”
“We created four crosses that went across the goal mouth in the first quarter hour, but didn’t connect. That could prove to be frustrating, but our focus tonight allowed us to persist and get the result.”
The Crusaders (7-6-0, 3-1-0 Horizon) play on the road next Saturday as well, making the trip to Wright State. Kickoff is slated for 6 p.m. CT.
Anderson Scores in Brown Field Debut, Valpo Knocks Off Oakland
Senior Kendan Anderson (Portmore, Jamaica/St. George's College [South Florida/ASA College]) made a favorable first impression in his Brown Field debut, scoring an early goal to lift the Crusaders to a 1-0 victory over two-time defending Horizon League champion Oakland on Saturday.
How It Happened
- The Crusaders wasted no time in cracking the scoreboard as Anderson scored in the fourth minute. He shot from the top-left corner of the box, bending it inside the right post.
- Ramone Howell (Portmore, Jamaica / Jamaica College) provided the assist on Anderson’s goal, his first of the season.
- Valpo pushed forward early in the second half seeking an insurance goal, creating a number of scoring chances.
- The Valpo defense dealt with Oakland pressure in the middle of the second half. Goalkeeper Nico Campbell (Kingston, Jamaica / St. George’s College) made several saves during that stretch to keep the shutout intact.
- Oakland went a man down in the 78th minute due to a red card. For the remainder of the match, the Crusaders kept the Grizzlies from any quality opportunities.
- Campbell finished with five saves, while Oakland keeper Zach Walker notched two.
- The Crusaders captured the victory despite being outshot 16-12. The Grizzlies placed six shots on goal to Valpo’s four.
Inside the Match
- Anderson, who was playing in his first Horizon League match on Saturday, made his season debut on Tuesday against Eastern Illinois. He also scored against the Panthers and has two goals in as many games. The South Florida transfer did not play in the first seven games of the regular season due to an injury.
- The shutout was the 17th of Campbell’s Crusader career, moving him into a tie with Ryan Schwarz for the second-most in program history.
- The Grizzlies (4-5-0, 3-1-0) were atop the Horizon League standings entering Saturday. The Crusaders (5-2-2, 3-0-1) are now the only Horizon League team that is unbeaten in league play and have taken over first place.
- Saturday night’s match served as the program's They Often Cry Outreach (TOCO) benefit match. The Crusaders are working to raise money and awareness for TOCO’s work with at risk children in the Caribbean and United States. On Saturday, they collected donations at the gate and throughout the game and wore special blue charity uniforms, which were auctioned off after the match.
Thoughts from Head Coach Mike Avery
"It was an exciting game, filled with all the drama you'd expect when you're facing the two time defending champion of the league. Oakland has a very good team again this season, and deservedly they are a very proud team, so for anyone to knock them off is going to take a very determined effort. I thought our guys had great focus, held our defensive shape well and created enough chances to earn the win. It was a good performance and I am pleased that the good crowd that came out to help us support TOCO were treated to a Valpo win."
"The guys are very happy to occupy the top spot in the league, but they also know that if we don't back it up with another similar effort next weekend against Milwaukee, it will be a short stay at the top. We have a little side business to take care of first with a quick trip early Sunday morning to Omaha for a Monday night game at UNO, and in some ways having to jump right back into action is a good exercise for our focus. If we don't keep our feet right on the ground and pay attention to what's right in front of us, Omaha will make us pay. We saw last year that they are a very talented team, so we will certainly have our work cut out for us."
The Crusaders (5-2-2, 3-0-1) step out of Horizon League play on Monday as they travel to Omaha to take on the Mavericks at 7 p.m. Links to live video and stats will be available on ValpoAthletics.com.
Volleyball Drops League Battle With Cleveland State
Sophomore Lizzie Zaleski (Oak Lawn, Ill./Marist) nearly became the first Crusader in six years to post a triple-double on Saturday, but the Valparaiso University volleyball team fell in four sets (25-23, 24-26, 25-18, 25-21) to Cleveland State at the ARC. Along the way, senior Morganne Longoria (Burlington, Wis./Burlington) moved into third place in program history in career digs.
How It Happened
- Valpo led by two points late in the opening set at 21-19, and still held the advantage at 23-22, but the Vikings scored three straight points to claim the opening frame.
- The Crusaders rallied from an early six-point deficit in the second set and found themselves leading late, 23-21. Cleveland State scored the next three points to earn a set point try, but sophomore Katherine Carlson (Lake Orion, Mich./Notre Dame Prep) tallied a kill to force extra points.
- A block from senior Lexie Bouza (Elgin, Ill./Burlington Central) and sophomore Sydney Bronner (Frankenmuth, Mich./Frankenmuth) gave Valpo its own set point opportunity, and junior Taylor Graboski (Upper Sandusky, Ohio/Upper Sandusky) came through with a kill to even the match at one set apiece into the intermission.
- Valpo led 15-14 just past the halfway point of the third set, but CSU picked up seven of the next eight points to take control.
- Trailing 9-8 in the fourth set, the Crusaders surrendered seven straight points to the Vikings. Valpo battled back, drawing within two points on multiple occasions late in the frame, but was unable to complete the comeback.
Inside the Match
- Zaleski finished Saturday’s match with 25 assists, 12 digs and eight kills as she approached a triple-double, last accomplished by a Valpo player in 2010 (Jenny Pokorny). Zaleski picked up her eight kills on just 15 swings, hitting at a .467 clip.
- Carlson posted a team-high 14 kills on .238 hitting, while Graboski again reached double figures, tallying 12 kills of her own.
- Longoria tallied 23 digs to lead all players, moving past Sara Silcox with her 17th dig of the match to claim third place in Crusader history in the category. The senior now owns 1,894 career digs.
- Longoria also paced the Crusaders with a trio of service aces.
- Bronner was in on four of Valpo’s seven team blocks, while Bouza set a career high with three blocks.
The Crusaders (7-11, 1-3 Horizon) step out of league play Tuesday evening for a match at Western Illinois. First serve is slated for 6 p.m., with live stats available via ValpoAthletics.com.
Men’s Tennis Sustains Success in Toledo, Tulsa
The Valparaiso men’s tennis team downed host Toledo 4-1 in the Rocket Invitational on Saturday to improve to 3-0 on the weekend. In addition, three Valpo players participated in prequalifying at the ITA Men’s All-American Championships in Tulsa, Okla.
How It Happened – ITA Men’s All-American Championships
- Sophomore Chad Kissell (Latrobe, Pa. / Greater Latrobe) notched a 6-3, 6-4 win over Virginia Tech’s Jai Corbett in the opening round of prequalifying.
- Later in the day, Kissell fell to Texas’s Julian Zlobinsky 6-0, 6-2.
- Senior Charlie Emhardt (Carrmel, Ind. / Carmel) also prevailed in his first match, besting Columbia’s William Matheson in straight sets 6-1, 6-2.
- Like Kissell, Emhardt suffered a defeat in his second match of the day. He dropped the opening set 6-3 to Virginia Tech’s Alexandre Ribeiro before losing a tightly-contested second set 7-5.
- Senior Dave Bacalla (Skokie, Ill. / Niles North) suffered a three-set setback at the hands of Miami’s Max Andrews in the opening round. After dropping the opening set 6-4, Bacalla battled back to take Set 2 6-3, but then Andrews captured the decisive set 6-2.
How It Happened – Toledo
- Valpo junior Garrett Gardner (Poland, Ohio / Poland) prevailed 6-2, 6-3 over Vince Anzalone.
- Freshman Brandon Ancona (Belvidere, Ill. / Rockford Christian) continued the strong start to his Valpo career with a victory over Juan Carranza. Ancona eked out a 7-5 win in the first set before steamrolling his way to a 6-0 victory in Set 2.
- Brian Pecyna (Glen Ellyn, Ill.) and Franklin Brozovich (Fort Gratiot, Mich. / Port Huron Northern) formed Valpo’s doubles combination on Saturday as the Crusaders continued to shuffle the lineup. The pair notched a 6-2, 3-6, 10-6 win over Reid Teatsorth and Luke Vitosevic.
- Valpo freshman Daniel Langston (Ponca City, Okla. / Ponca City) competed against Duquesne’s Chris Corrao and triumphed 8-4.
- Kyle Dunn (Fond du Lac, Wis. / Fond du Lac) suffered Valpo’s lone loss of the match, falling to Toledo’s Serjen Olmedo 6-4, 6-1.
The Rocket Invitational continues on Sunday. The Crusaders face off with Duquesne at 8 a.m. Central Time, then round out the weekend against Western Michigan at 10 a.m.
Crusaders Drop Dramatic Game to Eagles
The Valparaiso University football team was on the verge of its third straight victory on Saturday, but Morehead State scored a go-ahead touchdown with 22 seconds remaining to secure a 29-26 victory over the Crusaders. The Eagles converted on third-and-goal from the 4 when Austin Gahafer found Jake Raymond for the game-winning score.
How It Happened
- The Crusaders got off to a slow start on both offense and defense, but special teams provided an early spark when freshman Bailey Gessinger (Goshen, Ind. / Northwood) broke free for an 89-yard kickoff return for a touchdown. It was the first Valpo kick return for a TD this season.
- The Gessinger return tied the game at 7 after a 6-yard TD run by Lawrence Jones had given Morehead State the early lead.
- Morehead State’s Braylyn Cook intercepted a Ryan Clarke pass to give the Eagles possession on the Valpo 26 with 1:42 left in the first quarter. That drive culminated 58 seconds later with a Lawson Page 1-yard plunge into the end zone to give the Eagles a 14-7 edge.
- Sophomore Jean Rene (Delray Beach, Fla. / Wellington Community) made an incredible 21-yard TD catch with 11:41 left in the second quarter to tie the game at 14. After the game, Valpo coach Dave Cecchini called Rene’s sprawling grab one of the best catches he’s ever seen. It was Rene’s 10th career TD reception and his team-leading fifth this season.
- Valpo’s next two trips to the red zone – one with 4:19 left in the second quarter and another with 5:48 to go in the third – both resulted in 23-yard field goals by Jake Simpson (Wyandotte, Mich. / Roosevelt).
- During the third-quarter red zone trip, the Crusaders had first-and-goal from the 1-yard line but were forced to settle for the Simpson field goal.
- Morehead State quarterback Austin Gahafer connected with Darius Pritchett for a 52-yard TD that gave the Eagles a 21-20 lead with 3:00 left in the third.
- The Crusaders responded with a 15-yard TD pass from Ryan Clarke (Hopatcong, N.J. / Hopatcong) to Frank Catrine (Springboro, Ohio / Bishop Fenwick) on the first play of the fourth quarter. A two-point try failed, so Valpo’s lead remained 26-21.
- Valpo’s Christian Campbell (South Bend, Ind. / Washington) made his first interception of the season with 12:37 left in the fourth to bring Morehead State’s march down field to a halt at the Valpo 29, but the Crusaders went three-and-out on the ensuing drive.
- Morehead State won the game on a 17-play, 84-yard drive that took 6:36 and ended with the Gahafer-to-Raymond TD.
Inside the Game
- Valpo running back Jarrett Morgan (Cooper City, Fla. / Cooper City) turned in his third straight 100-yard rushing performance, totaling 110 on the ground and 138 all-purpose yards. Also for the third straight week, Morgan established a career-high for rushing yards.
- Rene finished the game with four catches for 88 yards.
- Freshman Kyle Cartales (Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. / Cardinal Newman) ran for a career-high 41 yards on 10 carries.
- Freshman Dylan Johnson (Valparaiso, Ind. / Valparaiso) had a career-high six tackles, five of them solos. He also notched one tackle for a loss.
- Brandon Doepke (Fitchburg, Wis. / Madison West) chipped in seven tackles, his highest total since Oct. 5, 2013.
- Sophomore Drew Snouffer (Columbus, Ohio / Upper Arlington) was Valpo’s leading tackler for the third time this season and second straight week. He made nine stops.
- The Crusaders did an effective job stopping the run for the second consecutive game, holding the Eagles to 94 yards on 33 carries. However, Morehead State passed for 308 yards.
- The Crusaders have led with less than three minutes left in each of the last three meetings with the Eagles, but Morehead State has pulled out thrilling victories in all three.
Thoughts from Head Coach Dave Cecchini
“It’s the same story as the last two years. We’ve been winning football games against these guys three straight years with under (three) minutes to play. That hurts when you can’t finish. Our defense played its tail off against an unbelievably talented quarterback. Our offense needed to win more of the one-on-one matchups.”
The Crusaders (2-3, 1-1 PFL) return to Brown Field next week, when they will look to stay unbeaten at home as Drake (2-3, 1-1 PFL) comes to town. The game is slated to begin at 1 p.m. and can be seen live on ESPN3, WatchESPN and the ESPN app, and heard live on WVUR (95.1 FM, Valparaiso). Links for the live video and audio, as well as live stats, will be available via ValpoAthletics.com.
Valpo Competes at Notre Dame Friday
The Valparaiso University men’s and women’s cross country squads continued their respective 2016 campaigns on Friday afternoon, running at Notre Dame’s Joe Piane Invitational.
How It Happened
- The Crusader men were paced by freshman Victor Fortin (East Peoria, Ill./Peoria Notre Dame), who covered the five-mile course in 26:18.6 to finish in 109th position.
- Sophomore Alexander Bruno (Bloomington, Ill./University) was the second-fastest Valpo runner, crossing the line in 26:33.8, while fellow sophomore Ben Zibricky (New Lenox, Ill./Lincoln-Way Central) and senior Adam Bruno (Bloomington, Ill./University) nearly finished side-by-side, posting times of 26:46.7 and 26:47.6, respectively.
- Junior Kim Heiny (Burnettsville, Ind./Twin Lakes) continued to be the top Crusader women’s runner this year, recording a time of 18:45.4 over the 5K course to finish in 115th place in the competitive field.
- Senior Liz Owen (Freedom, Wis./Freedom) covered the distance in 18:53.0, while senior Tori Tamburrino (West Dundee, Ill./Jacobs) finished as the third-fastest Valpo runner with a time of 19:46.8.
The Crusaders return to competition in two weeks on Friday, Oct. 14 at the Bradley Classic.
Valpo Blasts Off to Strong Start at Rocket Invitational
The Valparaiso University men’s tennis team opened up the Rocket Invitational in Toledo, Ohio on Friday. The Crusaders started the day with a 5-0 victory over Detroit Mercy, then topped Niagara 4-1 in the evening session.
How It Happened – Detroit Mercy
- Senior Kyle Dunn (Fond du Lac, Wis. / Fond Du Lac) set the tone with a 7-6(6), 6-2 victory over Patryk Koscielski.
- Junior Garrett Gardner (Poland, Ohio / Poland) cruised to a 7-5, 6-4 triumph over Adam Zychowicz.
- Only one match took three sets to complete. Valpo freshman Franklin Brozovich (Fort Gratiot, Mich. / Port Huron Northern) came from behind for a 4-6, 7-6(5), 10-8 win over Kacper Stelmaszak after dropping the first set.
- Redshirt freshman Brian Pecyna (Glen Ellyn, Ill.) topped Chance Conley 6-3, 6-1.
- The Crusaders captured a win in the only doubles match as freshmen Brandon Ancona (Belvidere, Ill. / Rockford Christian) and Daniel Langston (Ponca City, Okla.) teamed up to beat Artem Vasheshnikov and Nathan Ponton 6-3, 6-3.
How It Happened – Niagara
- After notching singles wins in Friday’s earlier match, Dunn and Gardner formed Valpo’s doubles combo against the Purple Eagles. They bested Josh Wilson and Francis Nadeau 6-3, 6-4.
- Langston completed his successful day by fending off Niagara’s Taylan Ozdemir 6-4, 7-5.
- Pecyna, who didn’t drop a set all day, downed Brent Bolesley 6-4, 6-1.
- Brozovich whitewashed Chris Grossi 6-0, 6-0.
Inside the Invitational
- Valpo’s Chad Kissell (Latrobe, Pa. / Greater Latrobe), Charlie Emhardt (Carmel, Ind. / Carmel), Dave Bacalla (Skokie, Ill. / Niles North) and Jeffrey Schorsch (Perrysburg, Ohio / Perrysburg) are not competing in the Rocket Invitational. They qualified to represent Valpo at the Intercollegiate Tennis Association Men’s All-American Championships, which begin on Saturday in Tulsa, Okla.
- The invitational format allows teams to rotate lineups for each match.
- Other participating teams include Case Western, Duquesne, Michigan, Purdue, Saint Francis, Wayne State, Western Michigan and Youngstown State.
The ITA All-American Championships crank up on Saturday in Tulsa, Okla. In Saturday’s pre-qualifying, Kissell faces Virginia Tech’s Jai Corbett, Emhardt is matched up with Columbia’s William Matheson and Bacalla will oppose Miami’s Max Andrews. The remainder of the team will continue action at Toledo and clash with the host Rockets on Saturday at 6 p.m.
Crusaders Fall in Five-Set Heartbreaker
The Valparaiso University volleyball team found itself two points away from victory in its Horizon League home opener Friday evening at the ARC versus Youngstown State, but the Penguins put together a run to claim the fourth set and then took control in the fifth set to deal the Crusaders a 3-2 (25-17, 16-25, 18-25, 25-23, 15-13) defeat.
How It Happened
- The first set was all about the Penguins’ offense, as YSU hit .500 with 15 kills in the opener to take the early advantage.
- Valpo flipped the script in the second set, however, hitting .407 while limiting the Penguins to .027 hitting. The Crusaders never trailed in evening up the match at one set apiece.
- Out of the intermission, it was all Valpo, as the Crusaders jumped out to a 15-6 lead. YSU would rally and close the lead down to three points at 21-18, but Valpo scored the last four points of the frame – including an ace by Rachel Bruinsma (New Era, Mich./Western Michigan Christian) – to pull ahead two sets to one.
- Valpo looked to close out a victory in the fourth set, never trailing from the outset and stringing together three consecutive points late to go ahead 23-19. But the Penguins scored three straight points to close within one and force a timeout, but the stoppage failed to slow YSU’s momentum, as it ended the set on a 6-0 run to move the match to the fifth set.
- YSU led early in the fifth set, but three points in a row for the Crusaders gave them a 6-4 lead and the lead was again two at 8-6 at the changeover. But YSU would score six of the next seven points to go ahead 12-9, and while the Crusaders were able to pull back within one point twice, they were never able to even the set as the Penguins closed out the match on a Valpo error.
Inside the Match
- Avoiding errors was at a premium Friday night, as the two teams combined for 57 attack errors – only 19 of which were blocks. Neither side hit better than .130 in the five-set affair.
- The two teams also combined for 22 service errors – 16 of which were committed by the Penguins – and six ball-handling errors.
- Junior Taylor Graboski (Upper Sandusky, Ohio/Upper Sandusky) led Valpo with 12 kills, while sophomore Katherine Carlson (Lake Orion, Mich./Notre Dame Prep) added 10 kills.
- The Crusaders held a 96-88 advantage on the back line in digs over the Penguins in a total team effort, as six Valpo players finished in double figures in the category. Senior Morganne Longoria (Burlington, Wis./Burlington) led the way with 18 digs, moving within 16 digs of third place in program history.
- Senior Emily Campbell (Grand Rapids, Mich./Forest Hills Central) made her return to the Crusader lineup Friday, having been sidelined since Sept. 9 due to injury. Campbell posted 17 digs and nine kills in her return.
- Bruinsma posted 11 digs and was in on four of the Crusaders’ six team blocks.
The Crusaders (7-10, 1-2 Horizon) return to action at the ARC Saturday afternoon as they host Cleveland State at 4 p.m. The match can be seen live on ESPN3, WatchESPN and the ESPN app, and heard live on WVUR (95.1 FM, Valparaiso). Links for the live video and audio, as well as live stats, will be available via ValpoAthletics.com.
Saturday’s match will also serve as the program’s TOCO fundraiser match, as they will collect donations throughout the night.