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Clutch performance: Nordseth victory clinches big tennis win for Worthington

Brooke Nordseth's victory at No. 3 singles lets WHS girls tennis team move to Section 2AA team tournament

Worthington Trojans girls tennis player Ivy Jenson eyes the ball as she returns a volley Monday against New Ulm's Lydia King.
Worthington Trojans girls tennis player Ivy Jenson eyes the ball as she returns a volley Monday against New Ulm's Lydia King.
Tim Middagh/The Globe
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WORTHINGTON -- The entire match and a berth in the Section 2AA team tournament depended on Brooke Nordseth Monday at the Worthington middle school tennis courts.

The Trojans qualified for the sectional on Monday after defeating New Ulm 4-3 on Monday, but the next step was too much to make.

With the match tied 3-3, Nordseth and New Ulm’s Lana Braun were the last players on the court at No. 3 singles. And with a bunch of WHS fans cheering Nordseth on, she ultimately prevailed, 7-5, 4-6, 6-1.

Worthington Trojans Hannah McNab in Number two Singles returns a volley during a Monday afternoon match with visiting New Ulm.
Worthington Trojans tennis player Hannah McNab makes a shot early in her Monday match against New Ulm.
Tim Middagh/The Globe

The cheering section definitely helped, Nordseth said later.

“They were just helping me up when I got a point and when I lost a point, and they just really helped me,” she said. “I knew we had to win this to advance to sections, and I kept taking it point by point and tried not to let it get in my head.”

She came from behind in the fourth game of the third set after trailing 40-love. From there, the senior just kept plugging away with the fans solidly behind her.

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“If anything (the support) made me play better. I feel relief that it ended on a good note,” Nordseth said.

The 4-3 team victory in Monday’s section play-in match allowed the Trojans to advance to contend with Prior Lake on Tuesday (Oct. 4; results are posted online at www.dglobe.com ).

Worthington won three of the four singles matches against the Eagles. Ivy Jenson defeated New Ulm’s Lydia King 6-1, 6-1 at No. 1. New Ulm’s Calyn Glaser beat Worthington’s Hannah McNab by injury default (ankle sprain in the first set) at No. 2. And at No. 4 singles, Worthington’s Taya Oberloh outplayed Jac Pettersen 6-1, 6-3.

Worthington Trojans Taylor Nordseth and Riley Nickel (on right) play a match with New Ulm Eagles Katie Wilker and Evie Sellner Monday afternoon.
Worthington doubles players Taylor Nordseth and Riley Nickel (right) work together Monday against the New Ulm Eagles' Katie Wilker and Evie Sellner.
Tim Middagh/The Globe

At No. 1 doubles, the Trojans’ Riley Nickel and Taylor Nordseth won 6-1, 6-2 over New Ulm’s Katie Wilker and Evie Sellner. New Ulm won at No. 2 and No. 3 doubles as Karson Schmid and Kate Frauenholtz beat Bryn Donkersloot and Sadie Nickel 6-3, 4-6, 6-4 and Emily Pearson and Hannah Davey beat Taylor Michelson and Gabby Martinez Perez 6-2, 6-3.

Jenson spent most of the 2022 tennis campaign unable to play in a match due to an ACL and meniscus tear she sustained last December during the gymnastics season. But after finally getting a doctor’s clearance to compete, she worked her way back on-court by moving from No. 3 to No. 2 and finally to No. 1 singles.

Monday’s match was her third No. 1 singles match this fall, and she was in control throughout against King.

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“It feels real good to be back, for sure. And I don’t really feel a difference between my two knees and my body. I feel like I can play my match the way I want to,” she said. “I’m just starting to feel more comfortable. The mindset I have has also changed. I’m just happy to be out there. Even if I don’t win, I want to do my best and hit my shots.”

Since the injury, Jenson has worked diligently on therapy for months, as often as three times a week. She also did her exercises at home. But it required a lot of patience.

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Not being able to actually perform in her three high school sports, she served as a manager in track and field, and did some of the same in gymnastics and tennis until she could join her teammates in legitimate matches.

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It was a little tough to be relegated to student managing in track, she admitted, especially since the relay team she was on went to state with a new school record.

“You can’t always control your circumstances, but you can control the outcome and what you do about it,” Jenson said Monday.

Worthington’s third singles winner against the Eagles, Oberloh also looked good on the hard court Monday.

“It went well,” she said. “A bit into the second set I was comfortable enough to try some things that I don’t do in any normal match.”

Such as?

“Definitely my serve. I tried a different type of serve. I tried going up to the net more or tried a different kind of ground stroke. I usually hate going to the net, because I’m really short and it’s so easy for people to lob me.”

All the Trojans met at the net on Court No. 4 -- the court Nordseth finished on -- at the conclusion of the event to celebrate the important team win. Head coach Mike Marquardt led the impromptu celebration. And there was lots of picture-taking.

Doug Wolter joined the Worthington Globe in December of 1983 as a sports reporter. He later became sports editor, and then news editor and managing editor. In 2006 he moved to Mankato with his wife, Sandy, and served as an editor at the Mankato Free Press. In 2013 he and Sandy returned to Worthington to take up the job of sports editor at The Globe, and they have been in Worthington since.

Doug can be reached at dwolter@dglobe.com.
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