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Central doubles up Watertown in tennis dual

Aberdeen Central's Ian Ahlberg hits a backhand during his match on Thursday at the Holgate Tennis Courts. Ahlberg won in straight sets and the Golden Eagles defeated Watertown 6-3. Photo by Dave Vilhauer

Aberdeen Central overcame a slow start to defeat Watertown 6-3 Thursday at the Holgate Courts. It was the Golden Eagles first match against an Eastern South Dakota Conference opponent this spring.

“This was an important one for us, because they’re always one of the top teams in the ESD and a team that we want to compare ourselves to every year,” said Central Coach Trent Kurtz. “Us and them are very similar. We always like to compare ourselves with Watertown, so this was kind of a good measuring block of where we are.”

The Eagles struggled out of the gate early, before bouncing back.

“We started with doubles. We didn’t play well early,” Kurtz said. “We have to find a better way to get off to a better start.”

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A key match took place at number one doubles where Gabe Goetz and Zach Gonsor rallied to claim a tight victory, 11-9 in a super-tiebreaker. The Central duo trailed nearly the entire match.

“They were down a set and 5-2, playing awful for their standards. They couldn’t serve. They couldn’t hold serve,” Kurtz said. “And then they come back to win the second set 7-5, and then get down in the tiebreak and come back and pull that one out. I thought we played singles really well so that was probably our best overall number one asset, but the win at one doubles had to be the highlight.”

In another close match on the day, Ian Ahlberg grabbed a win a number three singles, winning the opening set in a tiebreaker, 7-2.

The dual was originally scheduled for Watertown, but ended up in Aberdeen.

“It was supposed to be in Watertown, but now we’re playing in Aberdeen but we’re going back to Watertown tomorrow,” Kurtz said. “You have to get kind of creative to get these matches in, you know spring tennis in South Dakota, any spring outdoor sports, you have to get a little creative. Luckily the coaches and the ADs all made it work so we’re happy to be able to get it in.”

Central heads to Watertown on Friday to face perennial power Sioux Falls Lincoln.

The Eagles are off to a 5-1 start on the season, but Kurtz is more concerned about progress than records at this point.

“We’re not too concerned about our dual win-loss record right now,” Kurtz said. “We just want to make sure we keep getting better and better, and I thought as the day went today we did, but we have some stuff to work on.”

Aberdeen Central 6, Watertown 3

SINGLES

Gabe Goetz, AC, def. Mark Mahowald, 6-1, 6-2.

Zach Gonsor, AC, def. Sam Mahowald, 6-2, 6-0.

Ian Ahlberg, AC, def. Jacob Meester, 7-6 (7-2), 6-3.

Lincoln Wilkinson, AC, def. Adam Kays, 6-3, 6-2.

Curtis Sneden, W, def. Henry Fouberg, 6-1, 6-1.

Evan Meester, W, def. Brett Jacobs, 6-1, 6-3.

DOUBLES

Goetz-Gonsor, AC, def. M. Mahowald-S. Mahowald, 4-6, 7-5, (11-9).

Ahlberg-Wilkinson, AC, def. J. Meester-Kays, 6-4, 6-3.

Sneden-E. Meester, W, def. Fouberg-Sekou Gogue, 6-0, 6-1.

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