DENVER – In its first Summit League Men's Championship appearance, top-seeded Drake claimed the tournament title by defeating No. 3 Valparaiso, 4-0, at the Gates Tennis Center.
While this is the first #SummitMTN crown secured by the Bulldogs, the former Missouri Valley Conference members won the championship of their former home 11 times prior.
The Bulldogs raced through doubles play, clinching the point in less than 25 minutes. The No. 2 pair of Ben Clark and Finley Hall claimed the first set 6-1, followed shortly by the No. 3 duo of Ben Wood and Tom Hands clinching the doubles point at 6-2.
Vinny Gillespie of Drake kept the Bulldog winning ways going, claiming No. 2 singles in straight sets (2 and 0). Hands pushed the lead to 3-0 with his 3 and 1 victory at No. 3 singles.
The Crusaders pushed back when No. 1 Chad Kissell captured a 3 and 1 win. It would come down to the final three singles matches to determine the outcome.
Back-and-forth play paced the end of the match, but it was No. 6 Hall who would secure the win (5-7, 6-2, 6-3) for the Bulldogs.
No. 6 Hall won the second set 6-2 to set up a third that would eventually prove the game-winner.
Inside The Box Score
- Drake outscored Valpo 12-3 in the two doubles matches.
- Despite winning 4-1, the match would come down to the final three singles matches in the third sets.
News & Notes
- Regular season champion Drake became 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.
- Drake, the reigning MVC champs, and Valparaiso, the reigning Horizon champs, each made championship appearances in their first year of affiliate membership in The Summit League.
Drake will await its NCAA fate Tuesday, May 1 at 5:30 pm ET. Fans can follow the selection show at NCAA.com. Individual men's tennis selections will be announced Wednesday, May 2 at 6 pm ET.