Men’s tennis upsets top ranked team at nationals

Junior Alejandro Valarezo sets up a forehand during his singles match against Rockhurst University at Washburn.

Kendra Wicks

After defeating the University of Nebraska Kearney in the regional tournament, the men’s tennis team went on to win the first round of nationals in a stunning upset. Washburn took down Lander University, seeded fourth, with a 5-3 match before falling to the University of Indianapolis 1-5.

Against the Lander Bearcats, senior Blake Hunter and junior Alejandro Valarezo won their No. 1 doubles match 8-5. Sophomores Chase Brill and Paul Haase won their math 9-8 with a tiebreaker 7-3.

Valarezo went on to win the No. 1 singles slot with two tight tiebreakers, 7-6 (7-1), 7-6 (7-4). Haase claimed the No. 2 spot 6-2, 6-4. The match dual ended with freshman Raul-Alin Dicu winning his No. 4 singles match against Axel Cronje 6-2, 6-4.

The following day, the Ichabods lost against Indianapolis with only Dicu winning his singles match 6-2, 6-3.

Despite their hard loss in the second round, the Ichabods are proud of their accomplishments in the first round and how they ended their season.

“Before we won, nobody around the tournament campus knew who we were, but, afterwards, they respected us, and that was a cool feeling,” Brill said. “It was awesome to be at a tournament with all of the top teams in the nation and be able to compete with them.”

This is the first time in the history of Washburn tennis that the team has made the elite eight at nationals.

“To see our team come together like that on such a big stage was a proud moment for me,” Hunter said. “Washburn tennis has definitely earned respect at the national level.”