PORTAGE | Valparaiso finished all five of its matches in just over an hour to sweep Marquette 5-0 in the semi-finals of the Portage tennis regional on Tuesday.
The Vikings advance to the championship against Penn.
“Don’t really know why (we played so fast) but I’m pleased,” Valparaiso coach Tim Shideler said. “We had a good warmup and our practices are feeling good. We’re looking forward to (Wednesday).”
The Vikings (15-2) only dropped six games against the Blazers.
Ben Kalisch defeated Quinn Porter at No. 1 singles 6-0, 6-0 and at No. 2 singles Marty Pochop won against John-Henry Papineau by the same score. Eric Cender dropped one game, 6-1, 6-0 against Nate Shinn at No. 3 singles.
The No. 1 doubles team of Jared Folke-Peter Williams won 6-0, 6-2 over Hunter Moldenhauer and Justin Smith. Domonkos Szabo and Pall Bagget defeated Jacob Smith and Anthony Kolasa 6-2, 6-1 at No. 2 doubles.
Shideler said having Szabo drop from No. 1 to No. 2 doubles and moving Folke up from No. 2 to No. 1 midway through the season helped improve the chemistry of both tandems.
“We’ve been working every day in practice on doubles, and I think we’re starting to jell more as a team. We switched the teams midway through the year, and I think that strengthened both positions,” Shideler said.
Marquette coach Jay Adams was pleased with the way his team played in its first ever regional match.
“I know a lot of guys on the (Valpo) team, and I’m not mad with how we played,” Adams said. “We came out and competed.
"We’re not used to this type of competition. We come from a smaller conference, and my job is going to be setting up more matches where we see these top teams in the state, and be prepared for them next year.”
The Vikings will face No. 17 Penn in the regional championship. Penn defeated South Bend St. Joseph’s 3-2. The Vikings played Penn earlier this season in a tournament.
“We know a little bit about them, and they’re a good team,” Shideler said. “We want to play our best tennis, play our game, instead of playing their game, and (we want to) dictate play.
"We’re really looking forward to it, it should be fun.”
In the individual singles and doubles sectional, LaPorte’s Michael Varda defeated Wheeler’s Jack Hibbard 6-1, 6-2 at No. 1 singles. Wheeler No. 1 doubles Drew Heinhold and Lucas Jessen did not drop a game over Andy Dong and Jarrett Demonia of Mishawaka to win 6-0, 6-0.