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Singles wins carry Central past St. Thomas More

Aberdeen Central’s Laney Gonsor sets to return a volley during a doubles match Monday against St. Thomas More at the Holgate Middle School tennis courts. Photo by John Davis taken 9/11/2023

The Aberdeen Central girls’ tennis team earned five singles wins en route to a 6-3 win over St. Thomas More at Holgate Middle School on Monday.

Central’s Laney Gonsor took home the final singles win of the day, earning a flight three victory via a tiebreaker over St. Thomas More’s Amity Strand. Gonsor said she felt motivated during the match despite overthinking early on.

“The first set I was really in my head and I wasn’t really there because we lost doubles,” Gonsor said. “But then I started having people cheer me on and I just felt like I could do it and I got into it and I won.”

Once Gonsor entered the tiebreaker, she attempted to stay patient on her way to the 8-6 win.

“I just said one point at a time in my head,” Gonsor said. “Just breathe, relax, you can do it.”

Golden Eagles coach John Vogel said he was pleased with how the team performed despite dropping two out of three doubles matches.

“I’m pleased after singles. We picked up our level of play, because starting with doubles we just looked out of sorts,” Vogel said.

Despite St. Thomas More being a Class A school, Vogel said his team needed to be prepared for tough matches.

“They’re always a tough team, and I told the girls to get ready for that,” Vogel said. “We always think they’re smaller schools, but it doesn’t matter the size of the school, it’s just the fight in the girl.”

Central’s Avery Tennant played a tightly contested battle with Cavaliers’ player Shriya Gangineni before winning the match 6-3, 7-5. Tennant gave credit to her opponent.

“She had a really good forehand (and) a lot of good cross-court shots that you can’t really do anything about,” Tennant said.

Aberdeen Central’s Avery Tennant reaches to return a volley during a doubles match Monday against St. Thomas More at the Holgate Middle School tennis courts. Photo by John Davis taken 9/11/2023

Tennant said the match will prepare her for upcoming matches on Friday and Saturday.

“I think it’s going to help me play against tougher opponents, because this felt really good,” Tennant said. “It gave me good experience playing them.”

The Golden Eagles will now turn their attention to Friday’s home matches against Rapid City Central and Rapid City Stevens.

“It’s going to be tough. Stevens is so tough,” Vogel said. “It’s up-and-down. Stevens is one of the better teams and Central’s struggling to hold onto a program, so hopefully it goes OK.”

Vogel also encourages tennis fans to check out the Elliot Extravaganza in Aberdeen on Saturday.

“That’s always fun,” Vogel said. “Everyone should come out. We get a lot of tennis in town on Saturday.”

Aberdeen Central 6, St. Thomas More 3


Athena Franciliso, STM, def. Julia Knie, 6-2, 6-2.

Avery Tennant, AC, def. Shriya Gangineni, 6-3, 7-5.

Laney Gonsor, AC, def. Amity Strand, 3-6, 7-6 (8-6).

Livia Douglas, AC, def. Madison Schmahl, via default.

Reese Comstock, AC, def. Evie Reinicke, 6-4, 6-1.

Riley O’Keefe, AC, def. Mylee Sebbo, 6-0, 6-0.


Franciliso-Gangineni, STM, def. Knie-Tennant, 7-6 (7-3), 6-3.

Strand-Schmahl, STM, def. Gonsor-Douglas, 6-0, 7-6 (7-4).

Comstock-Olivia Geier, AC, def. Reinicke-Sebbo, 6-1, 6-3.

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