PORTAGE | In a repeat of the last four sectional match ups, Portage and Valparaiso knew that it was going to be a tough day.
But with the Portage Sectional championship on the line, the Vikings defeated the Indians 4-1, giving the Vikings their 17th consecutive sectional and 26th overall.
“I thought we played really well all the way down the line,” Valparaiso coach Tim Shideler said. “We had gotten beat at two doubles last time, so I was hoping to play better there. I thought they played better the first time we played them, but Portage also did, too.
"It’s just the way a sectional should be, just good tennis and we just came out on top.”
The Vikings (14-2) saw Ben Kalisch win 6-1, 6-0 over Jeff McElfresh at No. 1 singles. Marty Pochop defeated John Fannin 6-2, 6-1 at No. 2 singles for Valparaiso’s first two wins on the afternoon.
At No. 1 doubles, Jared Folke and Peter Williams lost their first set 6-3 against Partick Derr and Tyler Soberg, but came back to win two sets (6-3, 6-2) and give the Vikings their third match.
“I just knew we weren’t going to lose (the match),” Williams said. “We had beat them once this season, and we knew it would be tough. We came out a little flat. Coach Shideler told us to slow down a little bit between points, because we were rushing a bit and not playing our game.”
“We weren’t scared (about losing the match) at all,” Folke added. “We kept up the intensity and won points.”
No. 2 doubles also saw their sets split, with Portage’s CJ Haupt and Chris Klenk winning 6-7 (8-6), 6-2, 6-2.
“We knew that they (Portage) were going to be a good team and that they were going to win more points than we wanted them too,” Shideler said of both the doubles teams splitting sets. “We just had to stay focused and keep playing our game.”
Valparaiso’s last win came at No. 3 singles. Eric Cender defeated Zach Smith 6-0, 6-2.
“We knew the top two points were going to be difficult,” said Portage coach Gary Hayes, who coached his last tennis match at Portage. “Our kids played as hard as they could. My first doubles team played so much better than the first time at Valpo, and I thought they gave a big effort.
"I thought we were a little bit of a favorite in second doubles. Valpo's third singles player (Eric Cender) plays my kid’s style and he’s just better at it.”