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Prep tennis: Luverne netters split with Montevideo, YME

ZACH HACKER/DAILY GLOBE Luverne No. 1 singles player Kynzie Smedsrud makes a back-handed return on the run Monday during her match against Montevideo.

LUVERNE — For the second time in only three days, the Luverne doubles teams had a big day Monday as the Cardinals opened up their home schedule.

All three Luverne pairs won to push their team to a 4-3 win over Montevideo in the first of two matches on the afternoon. Unfortunately for the home team, two wins in doubles play wasn’t enough to finish with a sweep as it dropped the nightcap, 5-2, to Yellow Medicine East.

“Our doubles teams carried us in this match,” said Luverne coach Greg Antoine of his team’s win over Montevideo. “They played well together as teams. They all finished the points when they had the opportunity.”

The Cardinals swept the tandem battles against the Thunder Hawks, mostly in dominant fashiong.

McKenzi Wenninger and Dani Kneip didn’t leave any doubt in their No. 1 doubles match against Macy Peters and Nikki Erickson. They finished off a 6-2, 6-2 win to get things rolling.

Tatiana Gust and Brooke Nattress were in control of the first set at second doubles, running away from Kendra Wanke and Erica Loose for a 6-1 win. The Montevideo pair recovered some in the second, but Gust and Nattress held on for a 6-4 win.

Thunder Hawk duo Taylor Knutson and Susannah Wamstead put up a fight at No. 3 doubles, but Emily Wendland and Brianna Wessels had a little bit more. The Cardinals finished off the clean sweep with a 6-3, 6-4 win.

That offset a 1-3 showing on the singles side. Samantha Pierce picked up Luverne’s win when she topped Avery Koosman 6-2, 6-2 at third singles.

Kynzie Smedsrud almost completed a comeback at first singles but came up short. After dropping the first set 6-4, she came storming back for a 6-2 win that knotted things up. Kailey Maroney was able to sneak away in a nailbiter, defeating Smedsrud in a 10-5 tiebreaker in the third.

Lexie Severtson (No. 2) and Monaya Hustoft (No. 4) both fell in straight sets.

“Our consistency needs to improve,” Antoine said. “We can play a great point and then come back and lose the next two. We need to work on building up points until we have the advantage and then finishing them off.”

In the second match, Luverne ran into a YME squad that boasts eight seniors. Although super tiebreakers were needed at first and third singles, the Sting won both 11-9 and got the sweep in some tight singles bouts.

“Their experience really showed,” Antoine said. “They were consistent and really knew what they were doing.”

The Cards’ head coach was impressed by his two doubles teams to come away with wins. At second doubles, Gust and Nattress won 6-4, 6-2 with Wendland and Wessels coming back for a 5-7, 6-4, 10-5 win at No. 3 doubles.

“Brianna and Emily really finish points well,” Antoine said the No. 3 pair. “They don’t give their opponents many second chances on opportunity balls.”

The Cardinals (2-1 overall, 0-0 Big South) will play in the St. James Doubles Tourney on Wednesday.

Zach Hacker

Zach is the Daily Globe sports reporter. He has previously been a sports editor at both the Waseca County News in Waseca, Minn., and The Emporia Gazette in Emporia, Kansas. He is originally from New Richland, Minn., and now lives in Worthington with his dog; a beagle-corgi mix named Homer. In his spare time he enjoys spending time with family and friends, pontooning on St. Olaf Lake and watching professional and collegiate sports.

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