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Prep girls tennis: Luverne sweeps Worthington, Pipestone Area

WORTHINGTON — Luverne put together a perfect day Saturday at the Worthington Triangular.

The Cardinals shut out both Worthington and Pipestone Area, getting wins of 8-0 in both matches.

“We had a great day, sweeping all divisions and the team championship,” Luverne coach Greg Antoine said. “We played with some enthusiasm and some energy today and that really helps in tennis.”

Luverne started the day against the Arrows and got their first shutout of the day. The Cardinals swept all four singles matches in straight sets.

At first singles Kynzie Smedsrud took down Abby Steffan 6-0, 6-3. At second singles, Lexie Severtson won 6-1, 6-4 over Tayla Sysavath. In a 6-1, 6-3 decision, Samantha Pierce knocked off Lauren Lapthorn 6-1, 6-3 and Monaya Hustoft beat Serena Wipf 6-1, 6-2.

McKenzi Wenninger and Dani Kneip got into a tight first doubles match with Pipestone Area’s Sara Woelber and Kirsten Hoog. Wenninger and Kneip got a 7-6 win in the first set, winning the tiebreaker 7-4. They followed that with a 7-5 win in the second.

Paige Morgan and Aspen Schelhaas of the Arrows gave Brooke Nattress and Bryanna Wessels a test at third doubles, but again the Cardinals got the win. Nattress and Wessels won a 7-1 tiebreaker to take the first set 7-6 before earning a 6-3 win in the second. Tatiana Gust and Joci Oye of Luverne got a 6-2, 6-2 win over Maya Bledsoe and Tory VanEssen at second doubles. Cardinals’ fourth-doubles duo Brianna Jonason and Emily Wendland picked up a 6-1, 6-0 victory over Marah Steenstra and Mariah Lorang.

The Cards continued to roll in their second bout of the day, an 8-0 win over Worthington.

The two closest matches came on the singles side of the competition.

Trojans senior Emily Williamson and Smedsrud needed a tiebreaker at first singles. Smedsrud got a 7-2 win there for a victory in the first set and followed that with a 6-3 win to close out the straight set win.

The tightest match of the day was at second singles. Severtson and Brianna Kempema battled it out for three sets with Severtson eventually getting the win. She won a 7-5 tiebreaker to get the first set, but Kempema came back with a 6-2 triumph in the second. Severtson regained control, however, and held on for a 10-8 super tiebreaker win in the third set.

Pierce made it a 2-0 day at No. 3 singles when she got a 6-3, 6-0 win over Worthington’s Kristy Workman. Hustoft did the same when she got a 6-3, 6-2 victory over Shelby Larson at the No. 4 spot.

The Cardinals dominated the doubles side of the competition, never allowing more than two points in any one set.

Wenninger and Kneip got a 6-0, 6-1 win over Erika Schulte and Kelly Newman at the No. 1 spot with Gust and Oye beating Anna Kill and Quinn Bents 6-0, 6-0 at No. 2. Worthington’s Kailtyn Brunk and Tatyana Clark took a 6-2, 6-1 loss to Nattress and Wessels at third doubles with Jonason and Wendland topping Theresa Biber and Carmen Jones 6-0, 6-2.

Despite the convincing victories, Antoine said there is still work to be done.

“We are improving in our timing of the shots we take,” he said. “We still need to learn to hit the ball with more authority and confidence to take control of the point. We left some room for improvement in our shot selection and footwork.”

The Cardinals (4-1 regular duals) will be back at it today against River Valley in Sleepy Eye.

Pipestone Area recovered from its earlier setback with a 7-1 win over Worthington, leaving the Trojans winless day’s end.

Williamson picked up the win for Worthington when she toppled Steffan 6-0, 6-2 at first singles.

Larson got a 6-3 win over Wipf in the first set of their fourth singles matchup, but Wipf came back to tie it with a 6-4 win in the second. She kept that momentum and won a heart-stopping 15-13 super tiebreaker.

Both teams return to action today with Worthington staying on its home court and Pipestone Area hitting the road for Fairmont.

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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