WARSAW – Rick Orban has a simple philosophy when it comes to playing in another tennis regional.
The Warsaw girls tennis coach doesn’t put too much stock into who’s across the net.
“Our job is to show up on Tuesday and beat whoever is at the regional,” said Orban Friday night before knowing that his team faces Peru.
Orban’s team should have no trouble finding their way to the regional.
Orban’s team made it 14 straight sectional championships by beating Columbia City 4-1 to claim their own sectional title.
Warsaw (7-8) will face Peru in a semifinal of the Culver Academies Regional Tuesday at 5:40 p.m. The other semifinal will pit the No. 19 hosts versus Bremen. The winners return to Culver Academies Wednesday to play for the regional title and a berth in the South Bend St. Joseph Semistate on May 31.
Orban saw his all-senior singles lineup dominate in sectional wins over Tippecanoe Valley and Columbia City. The trio of Jacqueline Sasso (No. 1), Sarah Boyle (No. 2) and Rachel Alexander (No. 3) lost a total of just seven games in the pair of wins. Sasso and Boyle are the two most experienced players in the lineup for the Tigers.
“I’m just thrilled with this team,” said Orban Friday night. “I’ve watched them improve the last four weeks.”
The Tigers also have senior Anna Hall and junior Camille Kerlin at No. 1 doubles and senior Abbi Baum and freshman Athena Schlitt at No. 2 doubles. Baum and Schlitt outlasted the Columbia City team 6-3, 4-6, 7-6 (7-5) for the fourth point of the sectional finale Friday.
Peru defeated Southwood 5-0, Manchester 4-1 and Wabash 3-2 to win its own sectional title. Culver Academies blanked Knox 5-0 and Rochester 5-0 to win its sectional crown. Bremen upset 13-time defending champion Plymouth 3-2 and then defeated LaVille 5-0 and Triton 4-1 to win its own sectional championship.
Culver Academies is the defending regional champion. The host Eagles beat Peru 4-1 in the semifinals last season, while Plymouth edged past Warsaw 3-2. CGA then topped Plymouth 3-2 in the regional title match.
Culver Academies has won five regional championships, including the last two. Warsaw owns nine regional title with the last coming in 2005. Peru has three regional crowns, the last in 1995 and Bremen won its only regional title in 1983.
The Culver Academies Regional winner will face the Highland Regional winner in a semi state semifinal match May 31 at South Bend St. Joe.
Elkhart Memorial will face Fairfield in a regional matchup Tuesday at Elkhart Central. The Crimson Chargers topped Northridge 4-1 Thursday at Central to win the program’s first-ever sectional championship.
Memorial, owners of a perfect 15-0 record, has notched a Northern Lakes Conference regular-season title this spring to go with winning the NLC Tournament.
Fab freshman Krystal Grubb leads the way for Memorial. She is 19-2 on the season, including a 15-2 mark at No. 1 singles. Grubb’s older sister Krystal, a 2009 Memorial grad, never lost an NLC match in four seasons at No. 1 singles. She went on to play at Bowling Green.
Fairfield, which is 14-4, is led by super sophomore Emily Mast. The No. 1 singles star, who was an individual state quarterfinalist as a freshman, is 24-0 this season.
The other semifinal match Tuesday at the Central Regional pits Angola versus Westview.