Complete Day 1 Results | Championship Brackets
ANN ARBOR, Mich.—The Horizon League Tennis Championships began at the University of Michigan Varsity Tennis Center under rainy conditions throughout the state. In its first year contested outside of Indianapolis, Ind. since 1996, the teams went head-to-head in a day full of nail-biting points, close matches and a start of a new era of champions on the women’s side.
The championship schedule was readjusted to accommodate to the indoor facility, with each match taking place one at a time instead of the previous coinciding match schedule.
No. 5 Detroit 4, No. 4 UIC 1
In the first match of the Championship, the women’s No. 5 seed Detroit took down No. 4 seed UIC 4-1 to end the Flames’ chances of garnering an 18th-straight Horizon League Championship.
The Titans started out strong winning the doubles point collecting two of the three doubles victories. The pair of Irina Slizovskaya and Julia Fernandes defeated UIC’s Jana Knoppe and Ann-Sophie Hahn 8-5 at No. 2 while the Titans duo of Valeriya Kulikovskaya and Anna Davydova outmatched Natasha Kuvakina and Keti Mebuke 8-6 at No. 3. UIC, however, tallied a victory from the No. 1 pairing of Kathryn Sharples and Mariana Palacios after beating Victoria Laskutova and Nino Sujashvili 8-6.
The match heated-up as singles got underway with Detroit collecting a quick point after Sujashvili took the No. 4 victory when Kuvakina retired in the second set. Knoppe defeated Kulikovskaya 6-3, 6-2 at No. 3 for the Flames’ sole point of the match while the Titan’s clinched the victory with wins by Slizovskaya 6-3, 6-4 at No. 2 and Davydova 7-5, 4-6, 6-1 at No. 5. The No. 1 contest of Sharples versus Laskutova and No. 6 meeting of Hahn and Fernandes both went unfinished.
Detroit’s victory advances them to the semifinal round to face No. 1 seed Cleveland State, the regular season co-champion.
No. 3 Youngstown State 4, No. 6 Wright State 0
No. 3 seed Youngstown State looked strong in its sweep of No. 6 seed Wright State 4-0 in the second match of the Championship.
Breaking out with outstanding doubles play, the Penguins quickly picked up the doubles point collecting two victories while the third match of Annina Brendel and Nehel Sahni versus Wright State’s Elaine Cloern and Linsey Verstrepen went unfinished at No. 2. The No. 1 pairing of Marta Burak and Dominika Lackova defeated the Raiders’ Vanessa Madrigal and Tori Turner 8-4 while the Penguins second doubles win came at No. 3 from Margarita Sadovnikova and Carolyn Jesko over Abigail Madrigal and Megan Brdicka 8-3.
Singles play rolled-out similar to doubles with Youngstown State taking commanding leads in the opening sets of each match. At No. 2 Marta Burak defeated Vanessa Madrigal 6-1, 6-0 while Sahni capture another point over Abigail Madrigal 6-2, 6-2 at No. 5. In the closest match of the contest, at No. 1 the Penguins’ Sadovnikova outmatched Verstrepen 7-6 in the first set before taking control in the second to win 6-0.
Youngstown State will take on Horizon League regular season co-champion No. 2 seed Milwaukee in the semifinal round in a rematch of a close 4-3 Panther victory earlier in the month.
No. 4 Valparaiso 4, No. 5 UIC 3
In arguably the most exciting contest of the day, Valparaiso held off a Flames comeback to take the match 4-3 and advance to the semifinal round. Crusader freshman Dave Bacalla clinched the victory with his three-set 6-3, 6-7, 6-4 win over Alan Reifer at No. 2 singles.
Valparaiso opened up the match winning the doubles point with two victories and an unfinished match at No. 1 of the Crusaders’ Bacalla and Daniel Oakes versus UIC’s Maurizio Feoli and Carl Hedstrom. As a prelude of tight matches to come, Valparaiso’s Jeffrey Schorsch and Charlie Emhardt edged the Flames’ Alex Raa and Isaac Lloveras 8-7 at No. 2 while teammates Eric Honert and Kyle Dunn defeated UIC’s Alan Reifer and Chris Cole 8-5 at No. 3.
The Crusaders appeared to be in full control of the match early on in the singles contests but the Flames fought back to be in contention for the victory. Horizon League Freshman of the Year Schorsch tabbed the first Valparaiso singles point after Raa retired in the second set. UIC’s Lloveras picked up the first point for the Flames over Honert 6-2, 6-1 at No. 3 while Emhardt tallied Valparaiso’s third point against Hedstrom 6-4, 6-3 at No. 5.
The match stayed a Crusader leading score of 3-1 for a while as the final three matches unfolded and the intensity of the crowd grew stronger. Feoli brought the Flames within one point with a come-from-behind victory over Michael Savaglio 4-6, 6-2, 6-4 at No. 4 while teammate Cole took down Dunn at No. 6 in straight-sets 7-6, 6-4.
After taking the first set 6-3 over Reifer at No. 2, Bacalla found himself tied in the second-set after a UIC comeback. Bacalla eventually dropped the set 6-7 in the tie-breaker before going into the third with his team’s hopes of advancement on the line. After grueling back-and-forth play, Bacalla broke Reifer’s serve to set up the 6-4 set and match victory.
Valparaiso faces Horizon League regular season champion No. 1 seed Green Bay in the semifinal round. Green Bay went a perfect 6-0 in conference play this season to capture its second-straight regular season title.
No. 6 Youngstown State 4, No. 3 Wright State 3
In the final contest of the first day of the Horizon League Championships, another match came down to the wire as Youngstown State upset Wright State 4-3 to advance to the semifinal round.
The Penguins kicked-off the match with commanding doubles performances at the No. 1 and No. 3 spots while the No. 2 match of Youngstown State’s Max Schmerin and Rodrigo Campos and Wright State’s Daniel Gilbert and Lauri Makikalli went unfinished. The Youngstown State duo of Zeeshan Ismail and Silviu Mistreanu had an impressive collaboration defeating Myles Harris and Marc Sodini 8-2 at No. 3. At No. 1, Sebastian Hagn and Dawoud Kabli took the match over the Raiders’ Hayden Joblin and Ricardo Pineda 8-5 to seal the doubles point.
The singles matches kept the contest close with Wright State collecting wins from Joblin over Hagn 6-4, 6-2 at No. 2, Gilbert defeating Kabli 6-1, 7-2 at No. 3 and Lyzwa taking the point against Schmerin 6-4, 6-2 at No. 5. Youngstown State, however, took the No. 1 match of Mistreanu over Makikalli 7-5, 6-1 and the No. 4 match-up of Ismail against Pineda 7-5, 6-1.
In the deciding match with advancement to the semifinal round on the line, Youngstown State’s Campos went down the first set 2-6 to Wright State’s Sodini before mounting a come-back. With Wright State and Youngstown State even at 3 points apiece, Campos took the second set 6-3 and carried momentum into the third. After competitive back-and-forth play from both sides, Campos captured the set 6-4 to clinch the final point for the Penguins.
Youngstown State continues to the semifinals to take on the No. 2 seed and reigning Horizon League Champion Cleveland State. The Vikings defeated the Penguins 6-1 in each team’s first League match of the year.
The Horizon League Championships continue at the University of Michigan Varsity Tennis Center Saturday, April 26 for the semifinal rounds. The women’s semifinals begin at 11:00 a.m. ET followed by the men’s semifinals at 3:00 p.m. ET. The Championships will be streamed on the Horizon League Network.