One point away from a win at No. 1 singles when the skies opened at the
Portage Sectional on Thursday, Chesterton's Johnny Mario had to return
Friday to finish what he started.
Up 6-1, 5-1 (40-30), the Trojan quickly closed out the victory to earn a
spot in Tuesday's Portage Singles Sectional.
"It was probably the weirdest thing I've ever done in tennis," Mario said.
"I didn't feel normal at all. After the point, I was sort of confused. It
didn't feel right. I had to wait 24 hours. I didn't sleep the night before.
I got yelled at a few times during school."
Mario lost to Valpo's Peter Williams 6-4, 1-6, 6-4, a week earlier.
"He didn't have his best day. He seemed nervous," Mario said. "I just stuck
to my game plan, to not let him get to the net. I hit it as deep as I could
and it worked out. I really wish the team could have advanced. I’d rather
have advanced as a team, but I'm proud to advance as an individual. I've
been playing really good lately."
Mario (12-5) will face Wheeler's Jack Hibbard in the singles sectional. He
lost to Hibbard 6-4, 6-4 in a regular-season match.
His point was the only one the Trojans would get, bowing out with a 4-1 loss
to the Vikings, but coach Tom Bour saw "huge improvement" from the recent
"Basically, there was one close match (then)," Bour said. "To come out here,
the last two days, and play as tough as we did, it shows how much fight they
had in them. It shows the type of team I coached all year. I didn’t have to
give them any type of motivational speech or anything. I just wanted them to
go in and play hard, leave everything on the court, and they did. Every
Chesterton played competitive first sets at three other spots, but couldn't
get the edge. James Jewison and Tom McGue were the last match to finish at
two doubles, falling 7-5, 6-4 to Ben Lawson and Andrew Lehnen, who took the
last three games to close out the victory.
Dylan Jayasuriya lost 6-4, 6-1 at No. 2 singles to Noah Klumpe, and Chris
Fouts and Trey Moffett bowed out 7-5, 6-1 at one doubles to Pall Baggett and
Jared Folke. Valpo's Derek Wappel downed Zac Nabhan 6-2, 6-2, at three
"Zac didn't have one of his most consistent matches," Bour said. "He was
first off, but he finished 10-5 and was a huge part of our success. This was
the fifth day in a row we've played. Half of it was the scheduling, then we
had the rain. I think they got tired of standing around, but they didn't
complain one bit. It shows the type of shape they’re in. Hats off to Valpo.
They withstood all our runs. But I couldn't be prouder of a team."
Valpo will face Penn in the Portage Regional.
"Chesterton played very strong. I knew they would," Vikings coach Tim
Shideler said. "We didn't take them lightly at all, but knowing we'd beaten
them before, they had the confidence they could do it again."