Claire Czerwonka prepares to hit the tennis ball


After losing four straight on the road, Valpo won over Eastern Illinois University in their home opener through their point in doubles and the points won in singles. For a win like this one, head coach Bob Modesto is glad to see his players win 5-2. 

“Phenomenal fight, phenomenal play. This is a team that has been playing well and has been coming up on the short end. I knew there was going to be a turn, I knew things were going to be good for their future. I just see good things continuing in the future,” Modesto said. 

For the win against EIU, this one saw many firsts. This win marked their fourth of the season, surpassing their total wins from the previous season. Their overall score was the largest seen by any Division-I team since 2016. This was also the first home match they have won since 2015. 

In their doubles match, Junior Claire Czerwonka and freshman Olivia Czerwonka secured the first point for Valpo by winning their set 6-2. For Claire Czerwonka, she was given the opportunity to play with her sister Olivia again, getting to forge their hard work together and get better every day. 

“They are both such hard workers and are both so coachable and so teachable that they feed off of each other and work hard together. They are just a joy to have. Some may shy from having two sisters on the team, but when you have two sisters like these guys [Claire and Olivia], you don’t shy away from that. So I am happy that they are here, and they are such terrific assets,” Modesto said. 

Freshman Amanda Tabanera and senior Dao Sysouvanh clinched their doubles match 6-4. Freshman Demi Jhaveri and Sophomore Isabella Schoolcraft finished their first set 4-5, but their last one was left unfinished since Valpo won the point in a best two out of three styled match. 

Tabanera won her singles by going 6-2 in the first set and scoring the same in the second. For senior Dao Sysouvanh, she dominated her singles match by winning 6-3 in her first set and then sweeping 6-0 in the second set to secure her point. 

“Her [Sysouvanh] just winning right now, today, and needing that win in that position has been huge. Her leadership has been essential for the team’s success, and today she really stepped up and became that leader,” Modesto said. 

Olivia Czerwonka dropped her first set 4-6, but bounced with back-to-back winning sets at 7-6 and 6-3 after. For Jhaveri, she wrapped up the win for Valpo at the end. She lost her first set 3-6, but was able to bounce back by winning back to back with 7-6 in her second set and 6-3 in her third. 

Valpo will return to the Courts of Northwest Indiana to face off against Southern Illinois University Edwardsville on Sunday, Feb 23. For Modesto, a win like this one will help the team build a strong foundation of dedication to work harder for next weekend.

“My hope is that the team will take this and say, ‘hey, let’s work even harder’. They have experienced some success, and [hope] that they take this and say ‘hey we are really going to dedicate ourselves and commit ourselves to putting in the time,” Modesto said. 

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