PORTAGE | Neither a gusty wind nor Portage could stop Valparaiso from capturing its 15th straight Portage Sectional championship Thursday.
"It's special every time (we win)," said Valparaiso coach Tim Shideler, whose Vikings breezed past Portage 5-0. "It's a great tradition, and I'm following some great coaches."
The Vikings (14-1) had quick wins at No. 3 singles and No. 2 doubles against the Indians (13-6). Sophomore Marty Pochop defeated Portage's Patrick Derr 6-1, 6-1, while sophomore Tyler Costas and junior Adam Crookston beat Portage senior Joey Todd and junior Zack Lundy, 6-1, 6-3.
In the longest match of the afternoon, Valparaiso senior Marc Shideler defeated Portage senior Jeff Craig 6-3, 6-1 at No. 1 singles.
"(With our team winning) 5-0, it's a heck of a confidence booster," Marc Shideler said. "I'm just glad I got this game out of the way, so we can play better as we go."
Valpo's No. 1 doubles team of senior Joshua Bartusch and junior Quinn Donnell bounced back from Wednesday's loss against Chesterton with a 7-6 (7-4), 6-0 victory against Portage junior Shub Mulanti and senior Parth Patel.
Valparaiso will play Hobart in the Portage Regional semifinals Tuesday.
"Every match is getting harder," said Tim Shideler, whose Vikings will be aiming for their third straight regional title. "We've got to raise our game up and keep getting better every time."
In the doubles state tournament, Chesterton's Scott Homner and Ryan Tarnowski defeated Wheeler's Jordan Long and Mark Havens 6-1, 6-2.