The regional final exam coming up on Wednesday will prove to be a much tougher test for the Tigers.
Warsaw rolled past overmatched Peru in straight sets at all five positions to win 5-0 Tuesday in the semifinal round of the regional at Culver Academies.
Now, the Tigers take on the host and 14th-ranked Eagles Wednesday in the regional finale at 5 p.m. The winner returns to Culver Academies Saturday for the semi state to face the Portage Regional champion at 10 a.m.
A rain shower forced a the start of Tuesday’s semifinals to be delayed about an hour. Once, however, the courts were dried, the Tigers stormed to the easy win. Warsaw lost a total of just 18 games on their five courts to improve to 12-2. Peru finishes its season at 9-12.
“I saw a lot of focus all the way through today,” said Warsaw coach Rick Orban. “I thought Kyle played the best he has in a couple of weeks. He was more confident and more aggressive tonight and that bodes well for Wednesday. We’ll talk all the way home on the bus tonight about how well he played.
“We experimented with some things tonight with AJ and Sam at No. 1 doubles and I thought they reacted well to it.”
Junior Kyle Wettschurack turned in an impressive display at No. 1 singles for Warsaw. Wettschurack, who lost a tough three-set match Friday in the 4-1 sectional final win over Columbia City, beat senior Joe Comerford 6-1, 6-4.The Tigers rolled at both No. 2 and 3 singles, losing just six games total at the two strong spots. Junior Evan Miller defeated sophomore Logan Primerano 6-1, 6-3 at No. 2, while senior Alek Jansen topped junior Austin Finicle 6-1, 6-1 at No. 3.
Warsaw’s dynamite doubles teams held up their end of the bargain with easy wins too. Senior AJ Herendeen and sophomore Sam Rice teamed at No. 1 to defeat sophomore Jack Zvers and freshman Brandon Bates 6-0, 6-4. The duo of junior Will Petro and senior Connor Singrey won at No. 2 with a 6-1, 6-2 blasting of sophomore Kreighton Ray and senior Grant Ebert.
Culver Academies topped Plymouth 4-1 in the other semifinal matchup Tuesday evening. Senior Gabe Vervynckt won in straight sets at No. 1 singles for the Pilgrims. The hosts improve to 17-2, while Plymouth finishes 14-5.
Orban knows the challenge in front of his team Wednesday.
The Tigers lost a 4-1 final to Culver Academies in Culver on Aug. 29. The Eagles won on that day by finals of 6-2, 6-4 at No. 1 singles by senior Quinlan Smith, 6-0, 6-0 at No. 2 singles by freshman Sam Concannon, 6-1, 6-2 at No. 3 singles by senior Eric Maudhuit and 6-2, 6-2 at No. 1 doubles by juniors Alec and Austin Proeh. The lone point for the Tigers was a 6-4, 6-3 win at No. 2 doubles by Singrey and Petro. Warsaw’s lineup is the same as it was for that match, while Culver Academies now has two different players paired together at No. 2 doubles.
“Sure we can win Wednesday,” said Orban. “I believe it and I think our kids believe it. We’ll see. We have to play our best tennis no doubt about it. We’ve been preparing for this match for a couple of weeks.
“The big thing is that we need to come out with confidence and fast on all five courts. I can tell you that I will have them pumped up and ready to play Wednesday.”
Culver Academies, which lost 4-1 to Penn in the semi state in 2011, has won eight regional championships, including the last two. Warsaw also owns eight regional titles, the last one coming in 2007.