RAPID CITY – Aberdeen Central’s Gabe Goetz won the championship at first flight singles Saturday at the Rapid City Invitational tennis tournament.
Goetz won all three of his matches on the day, including one in a super-tiebreaker and another in two tight sets.
“What a day for Gabe. He played great tennis. He showed a lot of toughness. He had three really tough matches,” said Central coach Trent Kurtz. “He plays really well in the biggest matches. You look back at his career, ESD (Eastern South Dakota Conference) tournament, state tournament, he’s played well at everything. You can go all the way back to his seventh grade year where he the won the ESD middle school championship. He always plays well in tournaments. He’s really smart and he’s really tough.”
Goetz avenged an earlier setback in the year by defeating Noah Greni of Rapid City Christian in the opening round. Goetz was up a set and 3-0 before he lost six straight games. However, he recovered to win the super 10-5.
The junior then won in straight sets against an opponent from Brandon Valley before capturing the title with a 6-4, 7-5 win against Macon Larson of Mitchell in the final.
“He’s one of the toughest players I’ve ever seen,” Kurtz said of his top player.
Ian Ahlberg continued his strong play as well, finishing second at number three singles. Like Goetz, Ahlberg had some difficult matches.
Ahlberg beat a Mitchell foe for the third time this year, which Kurtz said is no small accomplishment.
“They came in with a plan. They played him a lot different than the last two,” Kurtz said. “He just battled and won a really good tiebreak. He’s just a great competitor.”
Ahlberg then avenged a loss against Tanner Schultz of Brandon Valley in the semis with a 10-6 super breaker win.
“He lost a close one last time we played them,” Kurtz said. “Another just grinder. Both of his first two matches just long, long points, long games, long, close sets. It just kind of drained him. He didn’t have much left in the championship.”
Kurtz was pleased with how his players were able to bounce back once they did suffer a setback.
“Overall a really good day. A lot of matches where when we did lose we came back and won most the next matches about every time,” he said. “A lot of good stuff all over the place.”
Central has another busy week ahead. The Golden Eagles play at Milbank Area on Tuesday, square off against Aberdeen Roncalli at 4 p.m. Thursday, and then play in the Brookings Quadrangular on Friday.
Gabe Goetz: def. Noah Greni, Rapid City Christian, 6-3, 3-6, (10-5); def. Dawson Johnson, Brandon Valley, 6-4, 6-2; def. Macon Larson, Mitchell, 6-4, 7-5. FIRST PLACE.
Zach Gonsor: lost to Landon Kocer, Brandon Valley, 6-3, 6-2; def. Josh Murphy, Rapid City Central, 10-6; def. Cason Hellwig, Aberdeen Roncalli, 10-1. FIFTH PLACE.
Ian Ahlberg: def. Aidan Patrick, Mitchell, 6-3, 7-6 (7-4); def. Tanner Schultz, Brandon Valley, 6-3, 2-6, (10-6); lost to Sam Mortimer, Rapid City Stevens, 6-0, 6-1. SECOND PLACE.
Sekou Gogue: lost to Noah Geyer, Rapid City Christian, 6-1, 1-6, (10-4); def. Dhruv Goyal, St. Thomas More, 10-1; lost to Mason Carrels, Aberdeen Roncalli, 10-8. SIXTH PLACE.
Henry Fouberg: lost to Jack Hancock, Rapid City Christian, 6-2, 6-1; def. Cole Jandreau, Rapid City Central, 10-2; lost to Brock Bacon, Spearfish, 10-8. SIXTH PLACE.
Brett Jacobs: def. Henry Beckloff, Rapid City Christian, 7-6 (7-3), 7-5; lost to Luke Jerke, Mitchell, 6-4, 6-4; lost to Cole Murray, Brandon Valley, 10-6. FOURTH PLACE.
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