Gallery: Panthers top Tigers
Published 8:24 pm Monday, May 5, 2014
Solid play at the net led to wins for Albert Lea’s No. 2 and 3 doubles teams Monday at home against Rochester Century.
“The net is the great equalizer,” said Albert Lea coach Tom Dyrdal. “You don’t need to sit back and trade groundstrokes with guys who are more experienced groundstrokers. You can get up there and play aggressively at the net (instead).”
Garrett Matz and Foster Otten kept their record unblemished as Albert Lea’s No. 2 doubles team by winning 6-3 and 6-2. The duo can be identified by their matching green and white baseball caps.
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“The Sauce King hats haven’t let us down yet,” Matz said. “We’re 5-0 with them.”
Otten began the season at No. 3 singles before joining Matz at No. 2 doubles. Ever since they teamed up at New Prague on April 11, they’ve donned the hats.
Matz and Otten are also teammates on the ice in the winter. Matz is Albert Lea’s starting goalie, and Otten is a winger.
Last season, Century finished second in the Big Nine Conference standings. This year, the Panthers are undefeated in the conference with one match left against Rochester Mayo.
“They’re right behind Mayo, so they’re supposed to be No. 2 in our conference,” Otten said. “They’re pretty good, so we’re happy with beating them.”
Dyrdal said Century has an excellent team.
“The Century singles players are so tough, I think they’ll give Mayo a run for their money,” he said.
Albert Lea’s other win was at No. 3 doubles. Matt Carlson and Andy Woitas won 6-2 and 6-3.
“They played under control and kept the ball in play,” Dyrdal said.
Albert Lea also showed solid effort in losses. Carter Dahl and Collin Jahnke took their opponents to a third set at No. 1 doubles, and Cole Keyeski was on the brink of forcing a third set at No. 2 singles.
Dahl and Jahnke lost 4-6, 6-4 and 0-6.
“They had another exciting match, and they showed they can compete with one of the best doubles teams in the conference,” Dyrdal said.
Keyeski fell 0-6 and 4-6.
“In singles, we were looking for good effort, and Cole Keyeski had a really good second set,” Dyrdal said. “He mixed it up really well and got up to the net.”
In junior varsity action, Albert Lea defeated Century 8-4.
Albert Lea is 4-4 on the season, and three of those losses were by one point.
Next, the Tigers will play at Mankato East at 4:15 p.m. and at Mankato West at 6 p.m. Both matches are today.
Statistics are in the Scoreboard: May 5 post.