WHS TENNIS: Luverne soars past WorthingtonWORTHINGTON — There was a hint of déjà vu Tuesday at the tennis match between Worthington and Luverne, as the Cardinals defeated the Trojans 6-1 for the second time this season.
WORTHINGTON — There was a hint of déjà vu Tuesday at the tennis match between Worthington and Luverne, as the Cardinals defeated the Trojans 6-1 for the second time this season.
“We’ve got a lot of experience, but we’re still young,” Luverne coach Greg Antoine said. “Most of these kids are juniors and it’s their third year on varsity, so our experience is showing this year.”
One of those experienced juniors for the Cardinals is Joey Vajgrt.
“Joey played all winter in Sioux Falls and this is the second year he’s played all winter,” Antoine said. “He just loves the game and he’s made it to the state tournament two years in a row, so he not only loves the game, but he’s a competitor.
“He doesn’t quit and he’s fun to watch.”
At No. 1 singles, Vajgrt took down WHS’s Dan Wetering 6-1, 6-2.
“It was a good match for me,” Vajgrt said. “It was windy, so you had to play patiently and I think I did that really well.
“We knew Worthington were going to be gunning for us, but we just knew we had to come out with a patient mindset. I think everybody else did that well.”
The gusts of wind played a little bit of a factor in Vajgrt’s game plan.
“You don’t want to finish the whole match on one shot when the wind is like that,” Vajgrt said. “You want to wait for those extra shots and really set up your point before you actually finish it.
“I think everyone on the team did that well. The wind changes things a lot, but we play in Minnesota, so we better get used to it.”
Arguably the best part of team tennis is the rivalry within the rivalry. Ask a tennis player what his overall record is and he needs time to think, but ask him what his record against someone on a rival team and it’s as if you asked him his birthday.
“Joey (Vajgrt) is 4-1 against me now,” Wetering said. “We play really tough and close matches and it’s just fun to play guys like that because he brings out the best in you and it makes you a lot better.
“Luverne has been around since I was a freshman on varsity and it seems like every year they are loaded with young talent. They just seem to hit all the shots.”
Vajgrt wasn’t the only Cardinal to win at singles, as Luverne (11-1) swept all four singles categories. Dustin Deutsch defeated Lance Homan 6-1, 6-0 at No. 2 singles, Jonny Vajgrt defeated Ben Christensen 6-0, 6-0 at No. 3 singles and Andrew Jelken defeated A.J. Hayenga in a 7-6 (7-5), 5-7, 7-5 battle at No. 4 singles.
“Our singles played really well today,” Antoine said. “They are starting to understand that court positioning and angles are OK in singles.
“Every once in awhile we get excited and try to hit too hard, but more and more we are just placing it and taking our easy points.”
In doubles action, Scott Nelson and Blake Ziegler, of Luverne, defeated the Worthington duo of Matt Sorenson and Jonah Oberloh 4-6, 6-3, 6-1 at No. 1 doubles and Matt Arends and Zach Gillette knocked off Ben Doeden and Dillon Pedersen at No. 3 doubles for Luverne.
Worthingon took No. 2 doubles, as Carter Lindner and Andrew Johnson defeated Ethan Johnson and Nathan Stensland-Bos in a back-and-forth battle which ended at 6-7 (5-7), 6-3, 6-4.
Although the score was the same from the last matchup between the Cardinals and Trojans (6-2), WHS coach Mike Marquardt felt it was a different game.
“The final score is a little misleading,” Marquardt said. “We were in each match
“We were playing a hard team and we were going to go all out. We’re a step closer, but Luverne is two steps ahead of us. We have to scratch and claw for every point.”
Antoine felt Worthington had come a long way and just needed some experience.
“Two years ago Worthington lost all those seniors and I didn’t know if they were going to field a team,” Antoine said. “Then they came back last year and they had a nice team, but they just need some experience and they are getting that now.
“It’s always been a good battle between us.”
In JV action for WHS, Travis Vuong and Kody Honius lost 6-3, Isaac Houselog and Tim Skog lost 6-5, Leo Duarte and Sebastian Licea lost 8-2, Hsar Shwe and Licea lost 8-0 and Jonah McDonald lost 7-6. Nick Newman and Caleb Dirksen won 6-3, Brandon Harberts and Vince Nguyen won 8-7 and D.J. Berger and Kody Honius won 6-1.
Worthington will travel to Blue Earth Friday and Luverne will host Pipestone Area Thursday.
Daily Globe Sports Editor Chris Murphy may be reached at 376-7328.