WORTHINGTON -- The preliminaries are thankfully completed. Next comes the real deal.
The Worthington Trojans boys tennis team thumped an overmatched MACCRAY rival Monday in the first round of the Section 3A team tournament, bringing the locals one step closer to their goal of qualifying for the state tournament.
The top-seeded Trojans conclude the team sections on Tuesday in Redwood Falls, with a noon semifinal match and -- if all goes well -- a match in the finals beginning at 2:30 p.m. Chances are good that the Trojans will face second-seeded Luverne in the finals, a team that has won the section tournament for nine consecutive years.
That, however, is only conjecture at this point.
What we do know is that MACCRAY was barely a warm-up for the Trojans, who defeated the Wolverines easily, 7-0, on Monday. None of the matches went three sets, and most of them were finished quickly.
WHS head coach Mike Marquardt said after the encounter that he was looking for smart, basic tennis against MACCRAY.
“Just the execution of what got us here. The placement of serves. Patience,” he said.
Mission accomplished. No. 1 singles player Blaine Doeden won his match 6-0, 6-0 against the Wolverines’ Josiah Seehusen. Sullivan Merrigan, at No. 2, won 6-0, 6-0 over Daniel Seehusen. At No. 3, Kipton Jenson won by the same 6-0, 6-0 score. The Trojans’ No. 4 singles entry, Cade Lindner, won by default.
The doubles matches were almost as one-sided. Ben Lopez and Ryan Newman teamed up for a 6-2, 6-3 win over MACCRAY’s Riley Essendrop and Gabe Sparks at No. 1. At No. 2, it was Bobby Souwankham and Colby Hastings over Anton Thissen and Carter Tomes 6-1, 6-3. Trojans Alec Langerud and Levi Kuhl won 6-3, 6-0 over Brogan Harguth and Andrew Janssen at third doubles.
Marquardt said the final day of the team tournament will feature minimal instruction from the head coach.
“My work is kind of done. Now it’s like a final test,” he said.
Depending upon the weather (the forecast calls for rain), Tuesday’s tennis will be played outdoors or under a roof within Redwood Valley’s indoor facility. Most of the players have minimal high school experience indoors, but Marquardt said he’s not concerned.
“I’m not worried about that,” he explained. “The game’s a little bit quicker (indoors). It’s a little hard to pick up (the ball). But everybody’s gotta play in it.”
He added, smiling, “It’s going to be an awesome battle, whether it’s indoors or outdoors.”