VALPARAISO | Before the match began, Crown Point coach Chris Korenzewski said that the Times No. 3 Bulldogs would have to bring their “A” game to compete with No. 2 Valparaiso on Thursday.
After the match?
“Some of our guys forgot to bring their alphabet,” Korenzewski quipped.
The Vikings (10-1, 6-0) used a quick start at singles to jump out to a 2-0 lead en route to a 4-1 win. The victory gave the Vikings a share of their fourth Duneland conference title in the last five years.
Undefeated Marty Pochop gave Valpo an early lead when he defeated Brendan Ray 6-0, 6-0 at No. 2 singles.
“We are playing really good tennis right now,” Pochop said. “It was really important to us to defend our conference title and come out strong. It was important to me personally to start the team off with a win.”
Ben Kalisch made it 2-0 for the Vikings when he won his match against Boris Pavlovski 6-1, 6-0 at No. 1 singles.
“I was able to keep Boris on the back of the court by hitting deep balls consistently,” Kalisch said. “Boris is a great player, you can’t give him a short court.”
Crown Point (11-2, 5-1) cut the lead to 2-1 with a No. 2 doubles win 6-1, 6-4.
“We came in with a game plan to be aggressive and play up on the net,” Bulldog Patrick Mudd said. “We executed our game plan very well today and got the win.”
Valpo sealed the deal with a 6-2, 6-4 win at No. 1 doubles.
“I thought the team came out with a purpose,” Vikings coach Tim Shideler said. “Earlier this year, we weren’t always as aggressive as we needed to be. But (Thursday) we came out tough, aggressive, strong (and) focused. An excellent response to a critical match."
For the Vikings, it was the fourth Duneland title in the five years that Shideler has been the Vikings' coach.
“We have played very well when it mattered,” Shideler said. “The boys are cognizant of the DAC matches and the streak we have going. Hopefully, we can turn this into a strong run for the postseason.”
For the Bulldogs, it was time to look in the mirror.
“There were no surprises today,” Korenzewski said. “We knew what we had to do in order to challenge for the conference title. We came up short. There is still time for us to rebound and make a strong run for sectional and regional. But we need to be more consistent.”