Central takes third at ESD tennis tournament
HURON – Aberdeen Central played its best tennis of the season at the biggest moment of the year on Tuesday.
The Golden Eagles won a variety of big matches on the way to a third place finish at the Eastern South Dakota Conference tournament.
“Up and down our lineup, singles, doubles, everywhere, we just really played well,” said Central coach Trent Kurtz.
Yankton edged Mitchell for the team title, while Central led the rest of the pack on the way to a third-place finish.
“Top three at ESD is always kind of the first goal we talk about,” Kurtz of the team’s annual goals. “Today we accomplished that and played really well to do it. That was fun.”
As expected, the Eagles shined in doubles action where their top two teams finished runner-up.
Gabe Goetz and Ian Ahlberg were second at top flight doubles, winning a pair of key matches on the way to the final. The duo beat a Pierre squad that it had lost to earlier this season, then defeated a Mitchell team it had split with.
Mitchell Hofer and AJ Prehn took second at second flight doubles. The duo scored a big victory in the semifinals over Watertown in a match that featured deuce points the last four games of a 10-6 win.
Kurtz said his players showed a lot of mental toughness in winning key points throughout the day.
“When you’re playing tournament tennis, there’s going to be a lot of close matches, so you just get a lot more of those deuce points,” Kurtz said, “and our guys did a great job playing them today.”
Kurtz said one of the example of the resolve the Eagles showed on the day took place at flight four singles. After losing his first match, Prehn won a long match in a tiebreaker and soon found himself back on the court playing in the fifth place match with little rest.
Prehn fell behind 0-3 before finding another gear and winning the match 8-4.
Kurtz also praised the player of senior Gabe Goetz who finished third at flight one singles.
Hofer finished fourth at flight three singles, and Sekou Gogue caused quite a stir to start the day by leading the top player in flight five late in the match before eventually falling 10-8.
In the end, the Eagles got big efforts from all throughout their lineup on the way to a solid team finish.
“We had a great day,” Kurtz said. “We outscored our projection by quite a bit.”
Central closes out the regular season with a triangular at Watertown on Thursday along with Madison before competing the State AA tournament in Rapid City next week.
Team Points: Yankton 335, Mitchell 319, Aberdeen Central 160, Brandon Valley 134, Watertown 111, Harrisburg 102, Pierre 95, Huron 15, Brookings 4.5.
GABE GOETZ: def. Roger Puterbaugh, Huron, 10-1; lost Gage Becker, Yankton, 10-5; def. Alex Rallis, Harrisburg, 8-3. THIRD PLACE.
IAN AHLBERG: lost to Tyler Loecker, Mitchell, 10-4; lost to Ryan Schulte, Yankton, 8-2.
MITCHELL HOFER: def. Marcus Halling, Harrisburg, 10-4; lost to Zac Briggs, Yankton, 10-4; lost to Eli Woidyla, Brandon Valley, 8-6. FOURTH PLACE.
AJ PREHN: lost to Gibsen Eszlinger, Brandon Valley, 10-3; def. Justin Remmers, Watertown, 8-7 (7-5); def. Brayden Rausch, Harrisburg, 8-4. FIFTH PLACE.
SEKOU GOGUE: def. James Park, Brookings, 10-0; lost to Keaton List, Yankton, 10-8; def. Justin Ptak, Harrisburg, 8-5; lost to Henry Wright, Brandon Valley, 8-1.
JACK RIGGS: lost to Miles Krajewski, Yankton, 10-5; lost to Moo Gay, Huron, 8-3.
GABE GOETZ-IAN AHLBERG: def. Matthew Hanson-Blake Judson, Pierre, 10-8; def. Macon Larson-Tyler Loecker, Mitchell, 10-7; lost to Gage Becker-Zac Briggs, Yankton, 10-4. SECOND PLACE.
MITCHELL HOFER-AJ PREHN: def. Dah Christ Moo-Lauy Kue Say, Huron, 10-3; def. Evan Meester-Justin Remmers, Watertown, 10-6; Aidan Patrick-Drake Jerke, Mitchell, 10-7. SECOND PLACE.
SEKOU GOGUE-MICHAEL FROHLING: lost to Jack Vermeulen-Connor Thelen, Mitchell, 10-4; def. Lah Doh Soe-Hser Nay Wah, Huron, 8-7 (7-5); lost to Justin Ptak-Koleton Anderson, Harrisburg, 8-4. SIXTH PLACE.
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