PORTAGE | The Valparaiso boys tennis team knows how to win, and on Wednesday afternoon they won by having three strong singles players in the regional championship tennis match. The Vikings defeated the LaPorte Slicers 4-1, sending them on their third straight trip to the semi-state tournament this weekend.
"It's been our goal since the beginning of the year (to win regionals)," said Valparaiso's No. 2 singles player Benjamin Kalisch. "We had three great singles wins, and we realized how well we can perform."
The Vikings' (16-1) three singles players all won in quick sets. Valparaiso's Marc Shideler defeated LaPorte's Carter Perry 6-1, 6-4, and both Benjamin Kalisch and Martin Pochop won their respective games 6-1, 6-0.
"I took each game point by point," Kalisch said, who defeated LaPorte's Kyle Curry. "I was able to capitalize on each point."
Valparaiso coach Tim Shideler added: "We knew what we were up against. We didn't want them to get a foothold in the match."
The Slicers' (16-5) lone win came at No. 1 doubles in a hard fought match that went three sets. Michael Curtis and Bryce Goetz defeated the Vikings' Quinn Donnell and Joshua Bartusch 6-2, 5-7, 7-5, in the last match.
"We lost our focus in the second set," LaPorte coach Bill Reed said. "We thought we had it (the second set) won."
Valparaiso's No. 2 doubles team, Tyler Costas and Adam Crookston, took the first set easily against Zach Liberatore and Miles Droege 6-0. The Slicer duo came back to make it close in the second set, but lost 6-4.
"They're (Valpo) a steady team," Reed said. "They keep putting the ball back in play."
Now the Vikings head to South Bend for the semi-state tournament on Saturday.
"We have an opportunity to win at each spot," Shideler said, "and we have to know how to push each other."