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Girls tennis: Trojans fall 6-1 in opener

BRIAN KORTHALS/DAILY GLOBE No. 1 Worthington Trojans singles player Emily Williamson returns a volley during Tuesday afternoon’s match with River Valley in Worthington.

WORTHINGTON — An old sports adage says that you learn more from a loss than you do a win. That’s the way Worthington head coach Mike Marquardt is looking at his team’s season opener Tuesday.

“I don’t mind it,” he said of the Trojans’ 6-1 non-conference loss to River Valley, a cooperative between Sleepy Eye, Sleepy Eye St. Mary’s and Springfield. “This points out what we need to work on and maybe shows that we need to work a little bit harder in practice.”

As a whole, Marquardt felt his team lacked consistency. The biggest problem area he noticed was on both ends of the service game.

“Our first-serve percentage was low,” he said. “On the flip side, when we got to their second serve we didn’t do anything with it. I thought we kind of relaxed and thought, ‘This one should be nice and easy right at me.’ That’s when you want to be more aggressive and I didn’t think we did that.”

It wasn’t all bad for the Trojans, however. Senior Emily Williamson pulled off an impressive comeback at first singles to get her team’s lone win of the afternoon.

After a quick 6-0 win over Kayla Haas in the first set of their match, Williamson found herself in a 4-0 hole in the second. She outlasted her Wildcats’ opponent for a tough win in the next game, cutting the deficit to 4-1. But Haas got the next one and was on the verge of forcing a third set with a 5-1 lead.

Williamson found her stroke and one-by-one, she chipped away at the lead. Finally, she knotted things up at 5-all to essentially start the match over from scratch. Once she got there, all the momentum was in her corner and she closed out a 7-5 win.

“She dug herself into a hole and she knew that she had nobody to blame but herself,” Marquardt said. “But she figured it out. She knew it was going to take a lot of time to get back into it so she just slowed things down and played within herself.”

The Trojans fell in a quick hole when the first doubles pair of Annie Lesnar and Brianna Kempema was forced to retire due to heat. Kelly Newman and Coral Owens dropped their third doubles match 6-0, 6-3 before Kristy Workman was handed a 6-0, 6-1 loss from Lauren Laffen and River Valley was up 3-0. It clinched the victory a short time later when Alyssa Rubey defeated Worthington’s Shelby Larson 6-1, 6-3 at No. 3 singles.

Paige Stewart and Erika Schutte battled hard at No. 2 doubles but in the end settled for a 6-2, 6-4 loss. Anna Kill, one of three freshmen starting for the Trojans, recovered from a 6-3 loss in the first set to force a third with a 6-4 victory. Kill fell behind 5-0 in the final set, but made a match of it with the next three points. Unfortunately for Worthington, that was it as Kacie Goblirch snuck out the 6-3 win.

Worthington (0-1 overall, 0-0 Big South) will be back on its home courts at 9 a.m. Saturday for a triangular with Luverne and Pipestone Area.

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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