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Boys tennis: Pressure in practice helps Trojans beat Montevideo

BY AARON HAGEN

The Globe

WORTHINGTON -- Blaine Doeden is a busy person.

Not only is Doeden a senior at Worthington High School, but he’s a member of the WHS band and spends the winter season competing for the YMCA Stingray swim team.

But on top of all that, Doeden works on his tennis game.

“It’s a busy schedule, but you have to make priorities. Tennis is my favorite sport, so it gets pretty high on the priority list making time for that,” Doeden said following Tuesday’s boys tennis match. “With swim team going on, the winter months are a little busy, but the month of March I usually try to make it over to the indoor courts a little bit from time to time. I think I made it three or four times to go hit for an hour or two. Just trying to get as much of the rust off as early as possible.”

He didn’t show any signs of rust on Tuesday as he eased to a 6-0, 6-2 victory as the Trojans defeated Montevideo 6-1.

“It’s a good section team, so this will help motivate the guys,” WHS head coach Mike Marquardt said. “When it’s cold at practice, going ‘You know what, we can do some things here, so take advantage of it and work hard.’”

Doeden is coming off a state-qualifying season a year ago. This year, he has his sights set on a return trip.

“There’s a lot of pressure,” he said. “A lot of guys are still gunning for those few spots at state. And just pressure on myself to make it back and to push myself harder than last year. A lot of that pressure comes from my own team with guys like Sully Merrigan and Kip Jenson, who are riding my tail really hard. It’s good to have them, they keep me pushing at it, but there’s a lot of pressure all around in the section.”

WHS has all four singles returning who combined to lose three games on Tuesday. Merrigan won 6-0, 6-1, Jenson took his match 6-0, 6-0 and Cade Lindner won 6-0, 6-0.

“I think playing our guys in practice, it’s a lot of fun, it makes me raise my game,” said Lindner, who spent a lot of time working on his game in the offseason. “We feel like we can go pretty far.”

The No. 1 doubles team of Ryan Newman and Ben Lopez won 6-3, 6-0. At No. 3, Levi Kuhl teamed with Alec Langerud for a 6-0, 6-2 victory. It was Kuhl’s first varsity experience.

“I was really nervous,” Kuhl said. “I was worried about it all day. After the first few and after I started getting into it, the adrenaline started going and I got into the game. I had pretty good overhands and forehands. I need to get better serves and better backhands, those are the two things I need to work on.”

The No. 2 doubles of Colby Hastings and Bobby Souwankham lost by default after rain forced their match to stop.