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State Tennis: Luverne loses 4-3, 7-0

MINNEAPOLIS -- The Luverne Cardinals' run in the team portion of the State Class A tennis tournament ended Tuesday, but not without some drama in the first round.

The Section 3A champion Cardinals opened with a 4-3 loss to Mound Westonka at the Reed-Sweatt Familiy Tennis Center in Minneapolis, losing all four singles matches but winning all three doubles matches. Then in the consolation round, Rochester Lourdes dispatched LHS 7-0.

In their first encounter, in singles, Mound Westonka's Luke Moorhead defeated the Cardinals' Joey Vajgrt 6-0, 6-1 in the top spot. At No. 2 singles, Arend Turner topped Jonny Vajgrt 6-1, 6-4. At No. 3, Sander Lee beat Dustin Deutsch 6-1, 6-4, and at No. 4 Lucas Valota beat Andrew Jelken 6-1, 6-3.

In doubles, Luverne's No. 1 duo of Scott Nelson and Blake Ziegler topped Mound Westonka's Elliot Bussey and Trevor Omann 6-4, 6-7, 10-4. At No. 2, Ethan Johnson and Zach Gillette won 6-2, 6-0 over Danny Humbert and Jacob Moorhead. And at No. 3, Matt Arends and Erik Wohnoutka topped Tony Levens and David Ogren 3-6, 6-0, 7-6.

The tennis didn't go nearly so smoothly for Luverne against a powerful Rochester Lourdes squad. In singles competition, Lourdes' David Turlington dumped Joey Vajgrt 6-1, 6-1; Alan Schembri-Wismayer defeated Jonny Vajgrt 6-0, 6-0; Nico Villarraga beat Deutsch 6-3, 6-2; and Aneesh Ramamoorthy defeated Jelken 6-4, 6-3.

Tuesday's losses were Joey Vajgrt's first of the season.

Luverne fared no better in doubles. Hadi Berbari and Peter Erickson swept by Nelson and Ziegler 6-0, 6-3; Nick Herbert and Thomas Erickson outscored Johnson and Gillette 6-1, 6-2; and Ben Utz and Stefan Farrugia upended Arends and Hunter Robinson 7-6, 6-2.

Luverne head coach Greg Antoine was mightily impressed with Lourdes.

"They played Blake pretty tough (in the first round, losing 5-2), and Blake is the favorite," he said.

But he believes his Cardinal players will go away with a proper perspective. "I think they feel good," said the coach. "We played as hard as we could, we played as well as we could. It just wasn't enough."

The individual portion of the state tournament begins Thursday at 10 a.m. Luverne will send up Joey and Jonny Vajgrt in doubles while Worthington will also have a doubles pair represented, Andrew Johnson and Carter Lindner.