LAPORTE | Tim Shideler expected a tough challenge from Penn and that's just what the Valparaiso girls tennis team faced on Wednesday afternoon.
The Kingsmen (19-0) swept Valparaiso 5-0 to win the LaPorte Regional and advance to Saturday's semistate at Kesling Park.
The Vikings (18-2) battled throughout the day, but didn't have enough to top the defending regional champions.
"I'm pleased with the fight," Shideler said. "Obviously we wanted the win, but the outcome sometimes doesn't mean as much as the fight to get there. I'm proud of my team."
The Vikings faced adversity on Wednesday when junior Kelly Kennedy was unable to compete, forcing Marissa Weston to come up from junior varsity and take on Penn's Madelyn Lee at No. 2 singles. Weston fell 6-0, 6-0.
"We were competitive in all the spots, but it obviously hurt not having Kelly today," Shideler said.
Caitlin Kennedy forced a tiebreaker in the first set at No. 1 singles and Valparaiso's No. 2 doubles team of Kate Spencer and Rachel Crookston led late in the second set before falling 6-4, 6-4.
"Both doubles matches could've gone either way," Shideler said.
Spencer was the only senior who competed for the Vikings on Wednesday and Shideler will return an experienced group next season, led by the Kennedy sisters.
"We had a very versatile group and it's really been a great season," Shideler said.
Chesterton sophomore Meg Modesto advanced in the singles competition, knocking off South Bend Washington's Kylie Karczewski 6-0, 6-3. Modesto will compete in the LaPorte Regional on Saturday, June 1st.
"I'm very excited to get this win," Modesto said. "I hadn't played her before, so I just searched common opponents to see how she played. She moved really well, I just tried to stay consistent."