Chesterton Tribune



Trojan Boys Tennis win first Regional semifinal match in school history

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LAPORTE -- It took a lot of losses, four of them to be exact, for the Chesterton boys tennis team to finally break through and win a match on the regional stage.

The Trojans made history on Tuesday afternoon as Chesterton knocked off New Prairie 4-1 in the LaPorte regional semifinals. The win was the first regional semifinal victory in program history, ending a streak of four straight years where the Trojans saw their season come to an end in the semis.

“I told the boys before the match that we had a lot to play for today,” Chesterton coach Tom Bour said. “This was our fifth straight trip here and we haven’t been able to get it done. This means a lot for our program.”

The Trojans (12-5) saw their season take a turn three weeks ago following a regular-season loss to rival Valparaiso. The players approached Bour about making a lineup change, notably shifting senior Chad Whelan from the top of the singles lineup to the No. 1 doubles team with Nick Hanson.

“We lost to Valpo and something had to change,” Whelan said. “We talked out what we thought would work. We came up with the changes and brought them to Coach.”

Whelan and Hanson held up their end of the deal on Tuesday with a 6-1, 6-4 win over Levi Britton and Joseph Henning. Cordyon Gaff, who moved to No. 2 singles in the switch, knocked off Josh Ferrell with a 7-6 (8), 6-0 win.

Hanson was thrilled with Tuesday’s victory, but he wasn’t ready to start celebrating quite yet.

“The job’s not done yet,” Hanson said. “We were done celebrating after we said “Let’s go Trojans.” Now it’s time to move on and get ready.”

Bour wasn’t emotional about the win, but the seventh-year head coach was more reflective, choosing to think about all the Chesterton players who have come through the program only to fall short of a regional victory. Each of those players were on Bour’s mind in the final moments of Tuesday’s match.

“(Those players) are unbelievably a big part of this,” Bour said. “The boys know the history of this program. None of these guys wanted to be part of the team that was the first to break the streak (of five straight sectional titles). I can’t even tell you how many phone calls and texts I got after we won a sectional. It shows those guys are still thinking of us. Guys that are off in college now, they’re still paying attention.”

Chesterton’s Luke Liapes knocked off Nicholas Boyd 6-2, 6-3 at No. 1 singles while the No. 2 doubles team of James Navarro and Drew Engles picked up Chesterton’s other point with a 6-1, 6-2 win over Colten Kitchen and Issac Kuczmanski.

Now the Trojans will get a tough match with Penn, the same team that knocked them out of regional play last season. While the players feel like they match up with the Kingsmen better now with a new lineup than they did during an early-season loss to Penn, there’s still no doubt Wednesday’s regional title match will be one of Chesterton’s hardest tests of the year.

“We can celebrate what we’ve accomplished after it’s all over,” Liapes said. “We’re not going to be favored (against Penn). We do a good job when we’re the underdogs because we can go out there and play free.”

IHSAA Regional


Chesteron 4, New Prairie 1

Singles -- 1. Luke Liapes (C) d. Nicholas Boyd 6-2, 6-3; 2. Corydon Gaff (C) d. Josh Ferrell 7-6 (8), 6-0; 3. Wrigley Hemphill (NP) d. Troy Feller 7-6 (1), 6-1.

DOUBLES -- 1. Nick Hanson/Chad Whelan (C) d. Levi Britton/Joseph Henning 6-1, 6-4; 2. James Navarro/Drew Engles (C) d. Colten Kitchen/Issac Kuczmanski 6-1, 6-2.

Records: Chesterton 12-5.



Posted 10/3/2018




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