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Central claims two wins at Elliott Extravaganza

Aberdeen Central’s Julia Knie returns a volley during a singles match Friday against Rapid City Stevens at the Holgate Middle School tennis courts. Photo by John Davis taken 9/15/2023

Aberdeen Central claimed a pair of 9-0 victories to close out the annual Elliot Extravaganza Saturday afternoon, including a win over Aberdeen Roncalli in the lone meeting of the season between the two cross-town rivals.

Central defeated Pierre earlier in the day prior to the match against Roncalli. The Cavaliers, meanwhile, dropped a 9-0 decision to Watertown earlier in the day, as well.

The win marks the third straight sweep for the Golden Eagles, who began Friday’s action with a 9-0 loss at the hands of Rapid City Stevens.

“We haven’t been beaten 9-0 in a long time, so to turn around and do that to (three) other teams, I don’t know if the girls realize yet that’s what they did,” said Central coach John Vogel. “We followed an 0-9 shellacking from Stevens with three straight 9-0 victories, of course I’m going to like that. Instead of licking their wounds, they said, OK, let’s go play.”

However, the final score, particularly of the match against Roncalli, belie individual matches fraught with drama.

“Roncalli’s 9-0 was really tough,” Vogel said. “Out of the three, that 9-0 didn’t feel like a 9-0.”

Among the dramatic moments was a lengthy third-set tiebreaker between Central’s Avery Tennant and Roncalli’s River Haskell at flight two singles. Both players had chances to end the breaker and the match before Tennant was able to scratch out three straight points to end it with a 12-10 tiebreaker win.

Laney Gonsor had much the same sort of dramatics in her third-flight win over Raley Haskell. Gonsor was up 7-1 before falling behind 8-7 and needing a similar 3-point rally to win her tiebreaker set.

“We always tell the girls, tennis is such a momentum game,” Vogel said.  As soon as you let up, it’s not good. Football always says prevent defense just prevents you from winning. The same thing in tennis when you say I’ll just get it over and let them screw up. No, no, no. Without a doubt, they stop screwing up and they raise their game right when you let up.”

Perhaps the best microcosm of the larger picture came in the flight one singles match between Central’s Julia Knie and Roncalli’s Katherine Kretchman. Knie won the match by a 6-1, 6-0 count.

“I’m glad they were on the show court, because that was quality tennis, even though the score doesn’t look like it,” Vogel said. “Every single point was a fantastic point going back and forth.”

The match was the first-ever meeting between Knie and Kretchman.

“Playing really good people is always fun,” Knie said. “Just getting better with every match is really what you want.”

Knie acknowledged there was a bit of added pressure with it being the annual dual between the two cross-town teams.

“This is the most nervous I’ve been for matches for months,” she said. “It’s pretty intense.”

Kretchman, for her part, was disappointed with the outcome, but not with the quality of play within that match-up.

Aberdeen Roncalli’s Katherine Kretchman retruns a volley during a singles match Monday against St. Thomas More at the Northern State University tennis courts. Photo by John Davis taken 9/11/2023

“Today’s matches really came down to who was making the final error,” she said. “We’d have really long rallies, but you have to be able to keep the ball in.”

Kretchman said the competitiveness of that particular match was invigorating.

“It definitely motivates me to get better and to go get more games or win the next time I play them,” she said. “It’s also just fun to play competitive matches. It makes me want to do it again.”

Roncalli will head to Milbank for a pair of duals on Tuesday.

Central will make up a pair of heat-delayed matches in Mitchell Friday before hosting Sioux Falls Christian on Saturday before turning its attention to the Eastern South Dakota Conference and Class AA state tournament.

“Obviously we want to be playing well as we get near the end,” Vogel said, “and I liked the way we played today.”

Aberdeen Central 9, Pierre 0


Chloe Ladner, AC, def. Elise Bowers, 10-2.

Avery Tennant, AC, def. Caitlin Ott, 10-6.

Laney Gonsor, AC, def. Adrian Hand, 10-4.

Livia Douglas, AC, def. Bailey Jessen, 10-3.

Reese Comstock, AC, def. Breanna Tedrow, 10-6.

Mady Holman, AC, def. Genevieve Oxford, 10-3.


Julia Knie-Tennant, AC, def. Bowers-Jessen, 10-0.

Gonsor-Douglas, AC, def. Jocelyn Corrales-Ott, 10-6.

Comstock-Olivia Geier, AC, def. Tedrow-Oxford, 10-1.

Aberdeen Central 9, Aberdeen Roncalli 0


Julia Knie, AC, def. Katherine Kretchman, 6-0, 6-1.

Avery Tennant, AC, def. River Haskell, 3-6, 7-5 (12-10).

Laney Gonsor, AC, def. Raley Haskell, 6-1, 4-6 (10-8).

Livia Douglas, AC, def. Anna Mitzel, 6-0, 6-2.

Reese Comstock, AC, def. Kiara Rivett, 6-2, 6-1.

Mady Holman, AC, def. Josie Mitzel, 6-0, 6-3.


Knie-Tennant, AC, def. Kretchman-River Haskell, 6-2, 6-2.

Gonsor-Douglas, AC, def. Raley Haskell-A. Mitzel, 6-0, 7-5.

Comstock-Olivia Geier, AC, def. Rivett-J. Mitzel, 6-2, 6-1.

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