PORTAGE | Having won a sectional title last season and beaten Valparaiso earlier this season, the Chesterton girls tennis team knew the value of a fast start against the Vikings in Wednesday’s sectional opener.
Valparaiso delivered a quick start of its own, winning the first set in four of the five matches, as the Vikings advanced to Saturday’s championship match with a 4-1 victory over the Trojans.
The Vikings (16-1) will face Thursday’s winner of Boone Grove and Portage after the Wolves notched their second victory of the year with a 3-2 win over Wheeler.
“My goal was to go out there and be more aggressive today,” Valparaiso’s Kelly Kennedy said. “This was important for us to get this match out of the way.”
The Vikings jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the match when they won both doubles matches. Kennedy eased through a 6-2 opening set against Chesterton senior Margaret Shinn and then took her game to another level in closing out the match 6-3 in the second set.
“We were all hoping that we’d be able to find that third point out there,” Kennedy said. “I’m happy that I was able to be the one to get it.”
Meg Modesto gave the Trojans (12-3) their only point after winning a 6-0, 7-6 (7-3) match against Caitlin Kennedy at No. 1 singles. Valparaiso’s Rachel Willing ended the night with a 7-5, 6-3 win over Jessica Lee at No. 3 singles.
“Today came down to depth and Valparaiso just had more than us,” Chesterton assistant coach Tom Bour said. “The biggest thing we talked about was getting off to a quick start, but they got us on every court but Meg’s to start the match.”
Boone Grove’s Stephanie Montreuil moved past Celeste Garcia 6-0, 6-2 at No. 1 singles to help push the Wolves (2-11) to their second win of the season. Junior Lauren Jakubczyk added a point at No. 3 singles with a 6-4, 7-5 win over Karlee Guerrero and the teams split the doubles points to give the match to the Wolves.
“We’re peaking at the right time of the year,” Boone Grove coach Dave Paupp said. “I keep telling the girls to play year-round and the more they play, the better they’ll be. They’re getting better the later the year goes.”