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Boys tennis: Trojans win another by a 6-1 score

Worthington Trojan senior Blaine Doeden returns a volley in No. 1 singles action with New Ulm's Colton Collum Tuesday afternoon in Worthington. (Tim Middagh/The Globe)

WORTHINGTON -- For the second day in a row, the Worthington Trojans boys tennis team met and defeated an opponent on its home court by a 6-1 margin.

The Trojans’ Tuesday victory over New Ulm came on the heels of a victory over Lac qui Parle Valley on Monday, and it advanced the team’s early spring record to 3-0. Every individual match went just two sets.

For No. 1 singles player Blaine Doeden, the relative ease in which he dispatched the Eagles’ Colton Collum 6-0, 6-1 slightly obscured the fact that Collum possesses hard groundstrokes that might have given a lesser player issues. But Doeden qualified for the state tournament last year as a junior, and he’s well acquainted with the full variety of tennis techniques.

“I’ve played a lot of different styles of play. I’ve played guys that get the ball back in play, then you play some powerhouses who may be a bit less consistent -- but if you’re not careful can smash the ball by you. Working on adaptability is really important,” Doeden said after Tuesday’s match.

Once in a while, Collum’s low, hard shots resulted in a point for him. But more often than not, Doeden won the point through finesse and smart placement. Tennis pros in the early 1980s used the term “Asbestos Hands” to describe four-time U.S. Open winner John McEnroe for the way he softened the pace of opponents fire-bomb volleys. Doeden can be like that with his high school rivals.

On Tuesday, he took pace off a lot of his own second serves to ensure that his rival would have to earn all the points he made. After improving from his sophomore to his junior season with his patience, Doeden is trying as a senior to develop his patience even more -- forgoing forced winners in order to control the whole point.

“Slow down the point a bit,” he explained. “I’ll speed it up when I’m able to speed it up.”

Worthington’s other three singles players also won with ease Tuesday. Sully Merrigan defeated Isaac Blumhoefer 6-1, 6-0 at No. 2. Kipton Jenson won 6-3, 6-2 over Max Gieseke at No. 3. And Cade Lindner topped Justin Schapekahm 6-0, 6-0 at No. 4.

The Trojans’ only setback of the meet occurred at No. 2 doubles where New Ulm’s Ethan O’Connor and Dan Rosenhamer beat Bobby Souwankham and Colby Hastings 7-5, 6-1. Worthington won at No. 1 doubles with Ryan Newman and Ben Lopez over the Eagles’ Aaron Eichanger and Jack Brownfield 6-2, 6-2. At No. 3 doubles, Worthington’s Alec Langerud and Michael Schneider won 6-0, 6-4 over Cody Gilman and Josh Rakoczy.

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