Cards capture sixth-straight section crown
The Luverne tennis team won its sixth consecutive Section 3A Team Tournament by posting a pair of wins in Redwood Falls May 19.
The Cardinals defeated Worthington 4-3 in the semifinals before topping Montevideo by the same score in the championship match.
By winning the section title, the 13-7 Cardinals advance to the Minnesota State Class A Tennis Tournament in Minneapolis.
The Cardinals meet The Blake School at 10 a.m., June 2, during a quarterfinal round match at the Reed-Sweat Family Tennis Center.
“We are going to the state tournament for the sixth year in a row,” said Cardinal coach Greg Antoine.
“This wouldn’t be possible if it weren’t for all the great players I’ve had the privilege of coaching here in Luverne over the past 13 years.”
LHS 4, Montevideo 3
Luverne’s doubles teams dominated play to pave the way to victory against the Thunder Hawks during the title tilt.
LHS won all three doubles matches in straight sets and a victory from senior Cory Stroeh in singles to capture the section championship.
“We were hoping to get three points from our doubles teams in both matches and one point in singles during both matches,” Antoine said.
“As it turns out, that was the case in both matches. Our doubles have been great all year, and today (May 19) was no exception.”
Dalton Schoeneman and Chris Jelken secured 6-0 and 6-2 victories over Connor Dann and Ryan Neville at first doubles, while Mark Robinson and Cade VerSteeg saddled Donavon Albers and Brandon Johnson with a pair of 6-1 setbacks at No. 2.
Tanner Baustian and Isaac Gillette completed the doubles sweep with a pair of 6-4 victories over Kaden Marty and Henry Strunc at No. 3.
Stroeh came through with a big performance at second singles to secure the title for LHS.
After splitting the first two sets with Taylor Landmark (6-4, 5-7), Stroeh fell behind 4-0 in the third set.
The LHS senior, however, rallied to win six consecutive games to pull out a 6-4 win.
Landmark evened the match with a 7-5 victory in the second set, but Stroeh took the finale 6-4 to send the Cards to state.
“Cory was fighting cramps in his right leg, so it didn’t look too good for us as a team,” Antoine said.
“I don’t think anyone can have a bigger day than Cory did. It was one of the more gutsy performances I’ve ever witnessed.”
Montevideo’s singles wins came from Jared Saue (6-3, 6-2 over Erik Wohnoutka at No. 1), Riley Emery (6-1, 6-4 over Jacob Jarchow at No. 3) and Noah Stoeckman (6-2, 6-2 over Trey Baustian at No. 4).
Luverne 4, WHS 3
The Cardinals reached the title tilt by a one-point win over the Trojans in a semifinal-round match that wasn’t as close as the final score indicates.
Having already posted four wins, Luverne’s Wohnoutka, Jarchow and Trey Baustian withdrew from the singles matches to save some energy for the pending matches against Montevideo.
Stroeh came up with another key effort against Worthington’s Nick Newman.
Trailing 5-2 in the first set, Stroeh rallied to win 11 consecutive games to secure a 7-5, 6-0 victory.
“It was one of the best comebacks I have witnessed in a long time,” Antoine said.
The LHS doubles teams won three matches in straight sets.
Jelken and Schoeneman produced a pair of 6-0 wins against Jonah McDonald and Orissa Nitibhon at No. 1, and Robinson and VerSteeg disposed of Sebastian Licea and Levi Blanchard by 6-2 and 6-1 tallies at No. 2.
Tanner Baustian and Gillette secured 6-3 and 6-1 victories over Jordan Jensen and Ernst Coriolan at No. 3.