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Girls tennis: WHS catches 'mo,' beats River Valley

Worthington's Kessey Aljets returns a volley from River Valley's Kaydince Thoms in No. 2 singles play in Worthington. (Tim Middagh / The Globe)1 / 2
The Worthington Trojans' No. 1 doubles team of Jasmine Riley (left) and Marah Darling compete against River Valley's Liv Nelson and Meghan Stevens. (Tim Middagh / The Globe)2 / 2


The Drill

WORTHINGTON -- Mike Marquardt couldn’t explain his team’s strong start.

Maybe it was a better mental state.

Or maybe it was the physical work before the match that led to Worthington’s 4-3 victory over River Valley in Tuesday’s girls tennis meet.

“We played really well,” the coach said. “I can’t tell you what the key to that was. Mental state, or maybe doing a little bit more work beforehand, but it was refreshing. I’m hoping that we can always get that start. I thought we really kept our heads in it. The girls caught the momentum and didn’t give it up.”

With a steady rain falling throughout Tuesday, the tennis courts were soaked hours before the match. But armed with squeegees, the Trojan players dried the courts in time to earn their first victory.

“It was a pretty good warm-up,” Worthington’s Cindy Hernandez said of the work beforehand. “It exercised my arms a lot.”

Hernandez and her partner, Perla Rodriguez, won 6-2, 6-4 at No. 2 double for their first win of the season.

“I think we played way better than we have any other meet,” Hernandez said. “We had more communication today and we talked a little more and thought about where we were going to hit our shots.

“It feels really good,” she added. I didn’t want to lose this whole season.”

WHS picked up two wins in singles matches. Cynthia Souksavath won 6-1, 6-1 at No. 3 singles. At No. 4, Madison Johnson won 6-0, 6-2 after having a three-day break to rest a hurt shoulder. Not only was in Johnson’s first victory of the year, but also her first win as a singles player.

“It just felt amazing to win as my first time as a singles,” she said. “This is my first year playing singles. I played two singles matches before this, but I lost those. It felt bad to lose them because I felt like I was letting my team down. But today, I felt like I really gave it my all and finally accomplished winning it.”

The match-deciding win came from the No. 3 doubles team of Ivy Jenson and Neveah Schreiber, who won 6-1, 6-2.

“We broke through the wall. The girls are realistic, too, about what our expectations are. We are going to fight hard, but it’s going to be uphill. Now because you have that, now you have a taste of that and now in a closer match, we’re going to put even more work into it,”’ Marquardt said. “This will jack us up. This is filling up the gas tank at the station and we know what we’re made of a little bit more.”

Maggie Putnam suffered a 2-6, 6-2, 6-4 loss at No. 1, while Kessey Aljets lost 7-6, 6-1 at No. 2.

The No. 1 doubles team of Marah Darling and Jasmine Riley lost 6-2, 6-1.