Section boys tennis: Worthington, Luverne send doubles teams to state
REDWOOD FALLS — Luverne’s Jonny Vajgrt and Eric Wohnoutka and Worthington’s Carter Lindner and Andrew Johnson maneuvered through the Section 3A individual boys tennis tournament Tuesday to qualify for the 2014 state tournament.
Vajgrt and Wohnoutka, the top-seeded doubles duo of the tourney, won the championship with a 7-5, 6-2 victory over Lindner and Johnson. It marks the second straight state tournament berth for Vajgrt, who last year qualified along with his brother, Joey. For Lindner, a senior, and Johnson, a junior, the 2014 state meet — to be played at the Reed-Sweatt Family Tennis Center in Minneapolis June 3-6 — will mark their second consecutive as a doubles team.
“I’m pretty excited to be able to get back to state again,” said Lindner by telephone from Redwood Falls Tuesday afternoon.
Lindner said serving and net play helped the WHS duo accomplish their goals.
“We both served well, which really helps in doubles, because you can set up the point faster and finish them sooner. And then we moved to the net well and effficiently as a unit.”
Their head coach, Mike Marquardt, said the Lindner-Johnson duo improved this spring, becoming more patient.
Johnson agreed. “We’ve been playing together longer now. This is the third year playing together,” he said. “We just know what to expect. We just try to be calm and play out the points together as a team.”
Lindner and Johnson won their semifinal match Tuesday 7-5, 6-1 over Luverne’s Blake Ziegler and Corey Stroeh. Well-placed serves, good groundstrokes and good net play helped the Trojan pair advance, said Marquardt. “We didn’t take over the net as much as we would like” against Vajgrt and Wohnoutka, he said, but he said he was very proud to see Lindner and Johnson make state for the second year in a row.
“To prove it, like they did, being the No. 2 seed, they took it to another level. Every year you have to prove it. And they did. They proved it,” Marquardt said.
Vajgrt and Wohnoutka opened Tuesday with a 7-5, 6-1 win over Taylor Landmark and Jared Saue of Montevideo, which set up the finals match with Lindner and Johnson.
“It was a see-saw (first set) until we came up with a big game to win 7-5,” said Luverne head coach Greg Antoine. “We took turns with Worthington in making great shots and really playing some great points. The two teams were really even. ... The second set was all Luverne. We jumped out to a 5-0 lead and really put the pressure on them.”
In Section 3A singles action Tuesday, second-seeded Andrew Jelken of Luverne defeated third-seeded Tyler Hagen of Redwood Valley 6-1, 6-3 in the semifinals. Top-seeded Jess Hansen of Lac qui Parle Valley beat Jelken in the finals 6-0, 6-0.
“Andrew played hard and hit some nice shots against Jess, but Jess just doesn’t make any mistakes,” Antoine said.
Luverne defeated Worthington 7-0 in the team portion of the Section 3A tournament earlier this month and will represent the section in the state tourney for the fifth year in a row. The team portion of the Class A tourney is June 3-4 with the individual tournament June 5-6.