La PORTE — It's not exactly the high school version of Indiana and Purdue, but any sporting event that features La Porte and Michigan City is a rivalry, and that now includes the La Porte Girls Tennis Sectional final on Thursday afternoon at Kesling Park.
The Slicers dispatched Marquette in their sectional semifinal matchup on Wednesday, a 3-2 match that was decided rather early, but the Wolves needed the final match of the evening to seal their spot in the final.
Both Allison Varda and Tally Wolf absolutely rolled in their matches at No. 2 and No. 3 singles with a pair of 6-0, 6-0 victories that Slicers coach Don Varda mentioned was huge for his team right out of the gate.
"I thought it was really important getting those wins at 2 and at 3," Coach Varda said. "We have been solid all year. Our singles players are so evenly-matched. Alaina [Majors] is our best player, but our singles players have been even all year."
The Blazers picked up their two points thanks to their top singles player, freshman Rose Pastoret, and their top doubles duo of Kaitlyn Silvas and Michaela Jennings. Silvas and Jennings played an intense two-set match against the Slicers' top duo of Rachel Kaminski and Jory Bales, winning the first set 7-5, and then fending off a late Slicer push to win the match with a 6-4 win in the second set.
"I liked the effort today," Blazers coach Ray Silvas said. "We knew this was going to be a tough match for sure. The girls went out there and tried their hardest and that's all I or anyone can really ask for. They're just a more skilled team, but I'm happy we got a couple girls out, so I'm happy with that."
Pastoret was her usual dominant self, defeating Alaina Majors at No. 1 singles with a 6-3, 6-2 straight-set triumph.
"She's coming to the net a little bit more," Coach Silvas said. "She's playing her point patterns correctly, so it definitely looks like the wheels are starting to turn in her head and she's thinking a bit more strategically, which is what you have to do when you go into the postseason."
But the deciding match was the No. 2 doubles duo of Madeline Fleshman and Madeleine Nunn for the Slicers, who picked up a 6-1, 6-4 victory over Evan Chambers and Kassandra Loza to pick up the third and deciding point.
"I was really happy to get that point at No. 2 doubles," Coach Varda said. "Marquette's got a talented team. They beat us in No. 1 doubles, but our No. 2 pairing came up big for us and those two big points early ended up being real crucial for us in the end."
City's Hannah Debald and Brianne Norman won the first set in their No. 2 doubles match against New Prairie's Riley Bronner and McKenzie Powell, but the Cougar duo forced a third and decisive set, not only for the match, but for the right to play for a sectional title on Thursday. Three sets wouldn't decide it, as the pairings played to 7-7 in a match-deciding tiebreaker
Debald and Norman jumped out to a 5-2 lead in the tiebreaker, but Bronner and Powell answered with a 4-0 run of their own to take a 6-5 lead. After a double fault leveled the tiebreaker at 6-6, the Wolves' pairing nabbed the last two points and the final sectional title match slot.
"They [Debald and Norman] just teammed up in doubles matches about four or five matches ago," Wolves coach Rudy Kohn said. "They haven't really been together all year, but they seem to play real well together.
"Brianne had been playing No. 3 singles for us, but I think it helps her having a partner out there on the court. They just get along together and work real well together. They went ahead and then were behind, but they played hard and showed a lot of heart."
At the top of the Wolves' lineup, Sydney Kohn cruised to a 6-3, 6-1 win over Megan Boyd, and Evangelea Dabagia won at No. 2 singles over Anna Holvoet, 6-4, 6-2, for the other two points in City's victory over the Cougars.
"She [Dabagia] was hitting the shots she needed to hit," Kohn said. "She knew what she needed to do and followed the plan to do it. She's such a smart player. She knew that if she could control the points, she was going to win if with patience and the resolve to get it done.
"In Sydney's match, she won pretty decisively, but Megan is a super player. There's not a finer person or player than Megan Boyd. Megan wasn't Megan tonight. Sydney played well, but I felt that Megan just wasn't the Megan we're used to seeing and that's a shame because she's an excellent player."
For the Cougars, they'll still have Emmy Kirkham, and Sydney Moody and Ashleigh Suppinger as a doubles pair in the individual competition after their wins on Wednesday, but Cougars coach Joel Hostetler thought that maybe this time, one of the close matches would go their way for a change.
"We had eight losses this season and six of them, including tonight, were 3-2 losses," Hostetler said. "And all of them ended on a third-set defeat just like that. We were in every single match this season and these girls have been competitors. They've done the best they can and they're taking it pretty hard right now, but they're a good group of girls and they'll be fine moving forward."
Reach Michael Whitlow at email@example.com or (219) 214-4169. Follow him on Twitter @couldbelikemike.
Scores from La Porte Sectional
No. 1 singles: Rose Pastoret (MQ) def. Alaina Majors (LP), 6-3, 6-2
No. 1 singles: Sydney Kohn (MC) def. Megan Boyd (NP), 6-3, 6-1
No. 2 singles: Tally Wolf (LP) def. Mackenzie Bardol (MQ), 6-0, 6-0
No. 2 singles: Evangelea Dabagia (MC) def. Anna Holvoet (NP), 6-4, 6-2
No. 3 singles: Allison Varda (LP) def. Jade Isbell (MQ), 6-0, 6-0
No. 3 singles: Emmy Kirkham (NP) def. Aika Patejdl (MC), 6-4, 6-4
No. 1 doubles: Kaitlyn Silvas/Michaela Jennings (MQ) def. Rachel Kaminski/Jory Bales (LP), 7-5, 6-3
No. 1 doubles: Ashleigh Suppinger/Riley Bronner (NP) def. Sara Poulin/Madison Laux, 6-0, 6-1
No. 2 doubles: Madeline Fleshman/Madeleine Nunn (LP) def. Evan Chambers/Kassandra Loza, 6-1, 6-4
No. 2 doubles: Hannah Debald/Brianne Norman (MC) def. Riley Bronner/McKenzie Powell, 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 (8-6)