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Tennis team of Wohnoutka and Stroeh advance to state consolation championship

Jason Berghorst, reporter

The Luverne High School tennis team met some very stiff competition at the state team tennis tournament in Minneapolis June 2.
The Cardinals played in their sixth consecutive state team tournament.
In their five previous tournament appearances, wins against Minnesota’s best teams have eluded the LHS teams. This year was no different.
Luverne opened the tournament with a 7-0 setback to The Blake School of Minneapolis.
In the consolation bracket, the Cards lost to Foley 6-1 to bring their team season to a close.
The Cardinals did find some success in the doubles portion of the state tournament. 
Erik Wohnoutka and Cory Stroeh played four matches in the state doubles tournament, making it all the way to the consolation championship before ending their run.
Blake 7, Luverne 0
The challenge was steep for Luverne when it drew The Blake School, the state’s top-ranked Class A team, in the first round of the tournament played at the Reed-Sweat Family Tennis Center.
The Blake School, which later won this year’s state team tournament for the third year in a row, defeated Luverne 7-0.
The Cardinals were able to win just four total games in their match against the powerful Bears team.
In singles play, Erik Wohnoutka, Cory Stroeh, and Jacob Jarchow were each defeated by their Blake opponents by scores of 6-0, 6-0 in first, second, and third singles play respectively.
Trey Baustian, playing at fourth singles for Luverne, was defeated by scores of 6-1, 6-0.
Doubles play found similar results for the Cardinals against the eventual state champions.
At first doubles, Chris Jelken and Dalton Schoeneman were defeated 6-2, 6-0. Mark Robinson and Cade Ver Steeg of Luverne lost at No. 2 doubles by scores of 6-1 and 6-0.
At No. 3 doubles, Isaac Gillette and Tanner Baustian were defeated by Blake opponents 6-0, 6-0.
Foley 6, Luverne 1
The Cardinals were able to win one set against the Foley Falcons in the consolation round of the state tournament.
Chris Jelken and Dalton Schoeneman defeated Jordan Ziwicki and Adam Ritsche at No. 1 doubles 6-1, 6-0.
In other doubles play, Luverne’s Mark Robinson and Cade Ver Steeg were defeated 6-4, 6-0 and Isaac Gillette and Tanner Baustian lost 6-3, 6-2 against Foley opponents.
At No. 1 singles, Erik Wohnoutka of Luverne was defeated 6-2, 6-1. Cory Stroeh lost a close set at No. 2 singles 7-6 (8-6), 6-2.
Luverne’s Jacob Jarchow was defeated 6-3, 6-3 at No. 3 singles and Trey Baustian lost to his Foley opponent at No. 4 singles 6-1, 6-0.
Doubles Tournament
Wohnoutka and Stroeh opened doubles play on Thursday, June 4, with a 6-3, 6-7 (4-7), 7-5 loss against Dalton Werckman and Logan Scott from Foley.
In the first round of the doubles consolation bracket, the Luverne duo defeated Torsten Lee and Tony Levens from Mound- Westonka 6-4, 6-4, which moved them into the second day of competition at the tournament.
“This is one of the first times we’ve gone into the second day of the singles or doubles tournament at state,” Luverne coach Greg Antoine said.
Wohnoutka and Stroeh had what Antoine called “kind of an unusual match” in the consolation semifinals Friday morning.
The Cardinal duo faced Thomas Metz and Matthew Metz, identical seventh-grade twins from Breck School. 
“These two kids have been playing tennis since they could walk,” Antoine said.
“They were small, one left-handed and one right-handed, but they were very tennis-savvy,” he said.
The Luverne pair defeated the young team from Breck in a  close match with scores of 1-6, 7-6 (7-2), 10-7.
In the consolation championship, Luverne faced Cody Rau and Josh Prahl from Litchfield.  The Cardinals lost the match 7-5, 6-2.
“We played well, but just couldn’t get over the top and take control of the match,” Antoine said. 
Wohnoutka and Stroeh are the first Luverne doubles team to reach the consolation championship at the state tournament.
“They just did an awesome job,” Antoine said. “It was a great way to end the year.”
Overall, the Cardinal coach was more than satisfied with his team’s sixth consecutive trip to the state tournament.
“This year was basically a whole new team from the kids who have qualified the last five years in a row,” Antoine said.
“I’m just really proud of all the kids and look forward to trying for a seventh year in a row next year,” he added.

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