PORTAGE | Thursday's foreboding skies were the backdrop as Valparaiso No. 3 singles player Derek Wappel tried to serve out his match.
"I just wanted to finish (before) any of the rain started," Wappel said. "I was able to relax and block it out."
Wappel fought off two break points and finished off Zac Nabhan 6-1, 6-2 on a winner in the Portage Sectional championship against Chesterton.
A few minutes later at 5:32 p.m., a lightning strike forced Portage athletic director and tournament director Kelly Bermes to halt play. Further bolts struck, plus it began to rain, so Bermes postponed the match 10 minutes later. It will resume at 4 p.m. today.
Wappel was the lone player to finish his match, and he's happy to have accomplished that feat.
"The weather didn't affect me; I had a comfortable lead," Wappel said. "I just knew I had to close it out."
Valparaiso has won 26 sectionals, including 17 consecutive titles, and the Vikings are in good position to make it 18. They're up a set in three of the four remaining matches.
At No. 1, Chesterton's Johny Mario defeated Peter Williams 6-1 in the opening set, and the Trojans freshman leads in the second set.
Valparaiso swept Chesterton 5-0 on Sept. 24 in Duneland Athletic Conference play. The Vikings won four of those matches in straight sets. Mario fell to Williams, 4-6, 6-1, 6-4, in the earlier meeting.
The sectional winner faces Penn on Tuesday in the semifinals of the Portage Regional.