DENVER – In its first Summit League Men's Championship appearance, top-seeded Drake defeated No. 4 Oral Roberts, 4-0, at the Gates Tennis Center.
The Bulldogs opened semifinal play by taking the doubles point. The No. 3 duo of Ben Wood and Tom Hands claimed the first set 6-1, followed shortly by the No. 2 pair of Ben Clark and Finley Hall clinching the doubles point at 6-1.
Clark notched a straight-set (0 and 0) win at No. 5 singles to extend his record against league competition this year to 7-0. Hands continued the winning ways at No. 3 singles (1 and 0) before teammate Vinny Gillespie clinched the Drake win with a pair of 6-1 victories at No. 2 singles.
The Summit League Coach of the Year Davidson Kozlowski extended his record in The Summit League to 7-0.
Clark made quick work of his opponent at No. 5 (0 and 0) to give Drake a staggering amount of momentum to win the match 4-0.
Inside The Box Score
- Drake outscored ORU 12-4 in the two doubles matches.
- The Bulldogs did not allow more than one point in any of the singles decisions.
News & Notes
- Regular season champion Drake has the opportunity to become the third team in Summit League history to win a men's tournament title in its inaugural season. The feat was first achieved by Oral Roberts in 1998 and again by Denver in 2014.
- In singles play, Drake's Ben Clark and Tom Hands each extended their winning ways, earning 7-0 records each against league opponents this season.
- Drake claimed singles wins from three of its five all-league honorees (Clark, Gillespie, Hands).
- Oral Roberts last reached the Championship match in 2016.
Drake will meet the winner of the No. 2 Denver – No. 3 Valparaiso match in The Summit League Championship at 1 p.m. MT Saturday.
DENVER – No. 3 seed Valparaiso edged No. 2 Denver to cap Summit League men's tennis semifinal action Friday. The Crusaders were victorious in their first tournament match since re-joining the league while snapping Denver's eight-match tournament win streak and ending its four-year reign as champion.
Valparaiso claimed the doubles point behind wins from Chad Kissell and Brandon Ancona (6-4) at No. 2 and Brian Pecyna and Daniel Langston (6-3) at No. 3.
Trailing 1-0, Denver evened the match by claiming the first singles point. Pedro Fernandez Del Valle scored a straight-set (0 and 2) win at No. 4. The Crusaders regained an advantage at 2-1 behind a win from Garrett Gardner (6-3, 7-6) at No. 5.
Valpo went up 3-1 when Kissell rallied for a victory at No. 1. Trailing DU's Mattia Ros, 6-0, Kissell won the next to sets, 6-3 and 6-4.
The Pioneers drew within 3-2 when Matt Summers rallied for a 4-6, 6-3, 6-3 win at No. 2. DU knotted the score at three with Jess Ruder-Hook's 3-6, 6-4, 7-6 victory.
The deciding point came down to the No. 6 position. Denver's Ignatius Castelino took the first set, 6-3. Valparaiso's Langston evened the match with a 6-4 set two win before punching the Crusaders' ticket to the final with a 7-5 win in the third set.
By winning the second set of his match at No. 6 singles, Valpo's Langston set up a third set that ultimately decided the match.
Inside The Box Score
- The teams split the four singles matches that went three sets.
- Each team won eight of the sets played in the six singles matches.
- Denver players won the only two sets that finished 6-0.
News & Notes
- Valparaiso won its first Summit League Tournament match since 2005.
- The Crusaders were victorious in their first postseason match in their first season since re-joining the league for men's tennis.
- Valpo advanced to the championship match for just the fourth time in school history (1999, 2002, 2005, 2018).
- Denver suffered its first Summit League Tournament loss. The Pioneers were previously 8-0, winning the championship in each of their first four seasons in the league (2014-17).
Valparaiso will meet top-seeded Drake in The Summit League Championship at 1 p.m. MT Saturday.