That shouldn’t be a problem for the Tigers.
Orban’s talented team, fresh off winning the NLC regular-season title on Monday night, has a leg up as the eight-team tourney starts today at Concord.
“We want to win the NLC championship outright,” said Orban Monday night following a tense 3-2 NLC win at Concord that clinched the regular-season championship. “It’s going to take a lot of focus by our guys. A lot of things can happen over the course of three days.”
The NLC tourney begins today at 4:30 p.m. at Concord. Action is slated to continue Thursday, also at 4:30, with the final day on Saturday, starting at 9 a.m.
Warsaw should have some momentum after shaking off a slow start Monday evening to top Concord. The win gave the Tigers a perfect 7-0 mark in NLC head-to-head matches this fall, while the Minutemen dropped to 6-1. Warsaw got straight set wins Monday from Evan Miller at No. 2 singles. Alek Jansen at No. 3 singles and a three-set victory from its No. 2 doubles team of Will Petro and Connor Singrey.
“To go undefeated in the NLC is huge,” Orban said. “I’m proud of our guys for that. That’s a lot harder to do than to win the tourney because you have to be on seven nights.
“The thing is that we have to be focused for the tourney. We can’t play sloppy tennis.”
The Tigers are led into the tourney by Miller at No. 2 singles and Petro and Singrey at No. 2 doubles. Junior Miller is the top seed after going 7-0 in NLC play, while junior Petro and senior Singrey are the top seed and are still undefeated overall on their season.
Warsaw has the No. 3 seeds at both No. 3 singles in senior Jansen and at No. 1 doubles with the team of senior AJ Herendeen and sophomore Sam Rice. Herendeen and Rice were 5-2 in league matches, while Jansen was 4-3. Junior Kyle Wettschurack was 3-4 at No. 1 singles for the Tigers during regular-season league action.
The top seeds for the tourney are Concord junior Nick Pollock at No. 1 singles, Miller at No. 2 and Plymouth freshman John Hunter at No. 3. In doubles play, the top seeds are seniors T Cunningham and Trevor Warren of Concord at No. 1 and Petro and Singrey at No. 2.
Warsaw won the NLC regular-season title at 7-0. Concord was runner-up at 6-1, followed by Plymouth (5-2), Elkhart Memorial (4-3), Northridge (3-4), Goshen (2-5), NorthWood (1-6) and Wawasee (0-7). In final league matches Monday, Warsaw beat Concord 3-2, Memorial topped Goshen 3-2, Plymouth stopped Northridge 3-2 and NorthWood bested Wawasee 4-1.
“It’s a whole new game in the NLC tourney, so we’ll see what happens,” said Concord coach Todd Denton after Monday’s tough 3-2 loss to the Tigers. “These were two quality teams tonight and it was close the whole way. We just need to play our game in the conference tourney.”
Concord won both the NLC regular-season title and league tourney championship in 2011.