CULVER – Warsaw boys tennis coach Rick Orban had no complaints about how his team performed in the regional final Thursday evening.
It was just that a red-hot Culver Academy team was simply too much for the Tigers to tame.
The No. 14 Eagles flew past Warsaw 4-1 to claim their third straight regional championship and the program’s ninth overall.
The regional finale was postponed by rain on Wednesday evening.
Culver Academy, which also beat Warsaw 4-1 in a regular-season matchup, improves to 18-2. The Eagles host Valparaiso (16-2) Saturday at 10 a.m. in a semi state match with a berth in the State Finals on the line. Valparaiso defeated Penn 3-2 Wednesday night to win the Portage Regional title. Culver Academy lost 4-1 to Penn in the semi state a year ago.
The Tigers saw a stellar season, which included a perfect 7-0 mark in conference play along with the NLC Tournament championship, end at 12-3.
“I’m extremely pleased with how our guys played tonight,” said Orban. “They did what we asked them to. They stayed in it and never gave up. I have no complaints with how they played at all.
“Culver was just on fire. They played out of their minds. They could not miss. I’ve never seen that many balls hit the line.”Warsaw’s point, as it did in the regular season match with the Eagles, came at No. 2 doubles. Senior Connor Singrey and junior Will Petro beat seniors Arturo Lizarraga and Jorge Segura 6-2, 6-4.
“Connor and Will just played solid like they did all year for us,” Orban said. “They stayed smart with their shots, attacked the net and got their first serves in.”
The Eagles started fast at all three singles spots and at No. 1 doubles. Senior Quinlan Smith beat junior Kyle Wettschurack 6-1, 6-2 at No. 1. Freshman Samuel Concannon defeated junior Evan Miller 6-0, 6-4 at No. 2, rallying from a 4-1 deficit in the final set. Senior Eric Maudhuit completed the singles sweep by topping senior Alek Jansen 6-1, 6-3 at No. 3.
Culver Academy notched its final point with a win at No. 1 doubles. Juniors Alec and Austin Proeh stopped senior AJ Herendeen and sophomore Sam Rice 6-0, 6-3.
“All of our guys picked it up in the second set,” said Orban. “Kyle played well, AJ and Sam played well and Evan and Alek picked it up in their second sets.”
Warsaw, which blanked Peru 5-0 in their semifinal match Tuesday night, was bidding for its first regional crown since 2007.
Orban was pleased after seeing his team accomplish much this season. The Tigers were perfect in league play, dominated the three-day NLC tourney by winning championships at four of the five positions and won the sectional for the first time since 2009.
“The season was a huge success,” emphasized Orban. “It was a great season. I’m sorry to see it end. The guys kept their focus in the NLC and the sectional and we had great senior leadership.”
The Tiger lose three seniors from their varsity lineup in Jansen, Herendeen and Singrey.