Trojans win twice in tennis meet with Marshall

Trojans vs Marshall girls Tennis s1.jpg
Worthington Trojans Bailey Newman (left) and Madison Johnson celebrate a point during a match with Marshall's Leah Schaefer and Regan Loft in No. 1 doubles play Monday in Worthington. (Tim Middagh/The Globe)

WORTHINGTON -- There isn’t a high school sports program that doesn’t preach improvement, whatever the sport. Coaches like to see it in-season, not just from season to season.

On a warm and bright Monday afternoon at the Worthington middle school tennis courts, the Trojans improved. The score said so. Whereas last Thursday the Trojans lost 6-1 to the Marshall Tigers at Marshall, on Monday they lost 5-2.

That’s twice as many matches won, if you’re counting.

WHS won two singles matches against the Tigers (and that’s two out of four, if you’re counting). At No. 3 singles, Ivy Jenson won her third match in as many tries, beating Marshall’s Leah Matzner for the second time already in the young 2020 campaign, 6-2, 6-4. And at No. 4 singles, Worthington’s Taya Oberloh came from behind twice to thwart Mariah Bergjord 7-6 (8-6), 7-5.

Bergjord beat Oberloh last week in three sets, 4-6, 6-2, 6-0.


In the rematch, the Worthingtonian trailed 3-0 in the initial set before rallying to force the tie-breaker. She also trailed in the second set 4-1 and again at 5-4.

It was a learning process, Oberloh said after the match.

“I learned you really can’t give up,” she admitted. “I think I was able to get out of a funk. ‘Cuz the last time I kind of got into a funk. … I think I got really down on myself because I won the first set and lost the second set. And I thought, ‘I can do so much better.’”

On Monday, she did. She did it by maintaining her patience and by consistently returning volleys with both her forehand and her backhand. Neither player puts a lot of pace on the tennis ball, but both of them showed they can put the ball over the net time after time after time.

“I felt like I was playing myself,” Oberloh said of the similarities. “Both of us are very consistent players. It was back and forth, back and forth. It was almost like playing in the mirror.”

The Trojan revealed that to win more matches, she will have to stay patient. She has a tendency, she said, to try for winners at the end of long rallies. This time, however, she was able to outlast her opponent.

Marshall swept all three doubles matches on Monday, keeping the Trojan duos winless after three dual meets. At No. 1 doubles, Marshall’s Leah Schaefer and Regan Loft defeated Worthington’s Madison Johnson and Bailey Newman 6-3, 6-3. At No. 2 doubles, Kayla Polejewski and Danielle Ewing won 6-0, 6-1 over the Trojans’ Madison Shaffer and Cayla Riley, and at No. 3 doubles, Aubrey Bjella and Mackenna Eickhoff prevailed 6-3, 6-3 over Brooke Nordseth and Stephie Bauman.

The Tigers took Worthington’s number at No. 1 singles and No. 2 singles as well. In the first spot, Gionna Parsa topped Kessey Aljets 6-0, 6-1. And in the second spot, Eden Knudson defeated Marah Darling 6-2, 6-4.


Worthington’s first home match of the season was odd for fans, but you could blame the coronavirus pandemic for that. Parents and other spectators were denied access to the cemented area between courts, so many of them were relegated to peering through wind screens that partially obstructed their view. Flip cards for every match were duly updated as the games continued, but most of the numbers were difficult to discern under the circumstances.

The Trojans host Luverne Thursday at 4:30 p.m.

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