MUNSTER | Times No. 1 Munster coach Steve Lopez believed it was important for his Mustangs to get off to a fast start in Wednesday’s tennis match with No. 2 Valparaiso.
“They played us very tough last year,” Lopez said. “We didn’t really want a repeat of that close call.”
They didn’t get it. The Mustangs came out of the gate fast and strong, building an early lead en route to a convincing 4-1 win over the Vikings.
Munster (2-0) jumped out to an early lead behind the play of doubles teams, winning 6-0, 6-2 at No. 1 and 6-2, 6-2 at No. 2.
“This was a good measurement for us on where we are as a team right now,” said Munster No. 1 doubles player Nathan Konanmuri. “At No. 1 doubles, we wanted to start out fast against Valpo and set the tone for the match. We did a good job of being aggressive and staying aggressive.”
A lack of aggression on the Vikings’ part did not go unnoticed by Valparaiso coach Tim Shideler.
“We were not aggressive enough today, especially at doubles,” Shideler said. “We were hoping to give them a better match today than we did. Munster took it to us, bottom line. We didn’t match their intensity.”
At No. 1 singles, Munster’s Jack Heiniger defeated Valpo’s Ben Kalisch 6-1, 6-2.
“Every loss can be a learning experience,” Kalisch said afterwards. “Jack did a very good job of attacking me in specific areas of my game. Today showed me what I need to work on for the next match. So there is something to be gained from today.”
Munster started the day ranked No. 8 in the state, Valparaiso No. 20.
“These are the top two tennis teams in the region,” Lopez said. “There is an intense tennis rivalry between the schools. We wanted to come out today and lay claim to the top spot in the region.”
Marty Pochop took the only point for the Vikings (2-1) with a 6-3, 6-3 win at No. 2 singles.
“This match is always a very tough match mentally,” he said. “Munster is a very tough team. I think I did a good job of staying focused and on my game plan during my match today. This will help my confidence going forward.”