WORTHINGTON -- After an off-season of tennis, and a pre-season of practice against good teammates, the Worthington Trojans boys tennis team is feeling capable of a solid spring campaign. Confidence was confirmed Monday afternoon in a 6-1 victory over Lac qui Parle Valley at the local courts.
All the matches went just two sets. Some of them were one-sided. Others were tight.
At No. 2 singles, Worthington’s Sully Merrigan defeated Colton Husby 7-6, 6-4. The Trojan trailed in the first set, 4-5, led 6-5, and went to a tie-breaker.
At first doubles, Lac qui Parle Valley’s Jake Lee and Tyler Buer defeated Worthington’s Ryan Newman and Ben Lopez 6-2, 6-4.
Worthington won the other five matches, and all of them with minimal resistance. No. 1 singles player Blaine Doeden led just 3-2 in the first set against Gavin Olson, but he won the final nine games for a 6-2, 6-0 victory. At No. 3 singles, the Trojans’ Kipton Jenson prevailed 6-0, 6-0 over Gavin Stulz. Teammate Cade Lindner won 6-0, 6-0 over the Eagles’ Levi Olson. Colby Hastings and Bobby Souwankham won 7-5, 6-2 over Heath Buer and Wylie Weibe at No. 2 doubles, and Alec Langerud and Michael Schneider won 6-1, 6-0 over Jackson Buer and Garrett Kostad at No. 3 doubles.
“My first serves went in. There’s nothing really he could do about it. He’s young,” Lindner, a junior, said about his match with Olson, who is an eighth-grader. “My serves are going in more (this year) and my groundstrokes are a lot better. I’m getting a lot faster. I’m trying to cut weight. … I’m trying to win every match I play and seeing if we can go the distance.”
Throughout the summer, Lindner practiced two or three days a week, sometimes with his father Eric, who is the WHS girls varsity basketball coach.
“He’s getting old, but he can still get those balls,” Cade said.
Another junior, Jenson, is at third singles for the second year in a row, and he is also gaining confidence.
“My serve just has more on it,” he said on Monday. “I can place my groundstrokes so much better. My tennis IQ has improved just from playing a lot. When you play against teammates like Sully and Blaine and Cade, it really helps a lot.”
WHS head coach Mike Marquardt was pleased with the Trojans’ effort.
“We had maybe a slow start, but we battled back. We were down a couple of matches, but we got back on top,” he said, noting solid serving especially. “I just think we were patient. I think we had a good game plan going in (to be patient and work each point), and the guys just executed.”
The match was scheduled originally to take place on LQPV’s home court, but it was moved to Worthington due to unsuitable conditions there. The Trojans will be at home again today (Tuesday) to face New Ulm.