MUNSTER | For one school, it was routine. For the other, it was unfamiliar territory.
The Times No. 1 Mustangs began their sectional title defense with a 5-0 whitewashing of Hammond. Meanwhile, Griffith came back from a 2-0 deficit to defeat Calumet 3-2 and advance to the semifinals.
Munster ran its record to 16-1, while Griffith won its second in a row to improve to 3-12.
The Mustangs, who have won 35 consecutive sectional titles, wasted little time in disposing of the Wildcats (1-9). They won 6-0, 6-0 across the board.
“This was a bit of an eye opener for our girls,” said Hammond coach Jessica Portney. “We knew we were in for a tough match, but we played pretty well. I saw some very good volleys and shots from my girls. They represented themselves well.”
The No. 1 doubles team of Paige Heuer and Samantha Sakevicius grabbed the first point for the Mustangs.
“It was good to get the butterflies out of our system and get that first postseason win,” Sakevicius said. “I think it will help us settle in for the next round.”
Heuer was still getting used to playing with Sakevicius, who became her partner nine matches ago.
“We are still learning about each other and how we play,” Heuer said, "but we are getting more used to each other and adjusting well. This match was another stepping stone for us.”
Calumet (3-11) jumped to a 2-0 lead with wins at No. 2 and No. 3 singles. Griffith came back to ties it when they captured points at both ends of the doubles matches.
“Our doubles teams have played well for us all year,” said Griffith coach Tracy Sines. “They came through again today.”
Michelle Urena then defeated Lyndsey Digiacomo 6-4, 6-3 at No. 1 singles to keep the Panther season alive.
While disappointed in the loss, Calumet coach Crystal Ham was pleased with the progress the Warriors made this season.
“We have been working on culture and attitude,” Ham said. “What it means to play team tennis, and what it means to play it at Calumet. I think we made great strides this year, and I can’t wait for next season.”
On Thursday, Munster will play No. 2 Highland, and Griffith will take on Gavit. The winners will meet in the championship on Friday.