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Denfeld-Central rivalry makes for a great tennis game

Throughout the history of sports, throughout all the great matchups and games, big wins and big names, one thing has always proven to make a great game: rivalry. An air of rivalry can add tension to even the mildest of games. In this area, the lo...

Throughout the history of sports, throughout all the great matchups and games, big wins and big names, one thing has always proven to make a great game: rivalry. An air of rivalry can add tension to even the mildest of games. In this area, the longtime school rivalry to watch for belongs to Denfeld and Central.
The Trojans and Hunters have long been adversaries in most every sport, giving any matchup between the two an atmosphere of tension and an added incentive for victory. This carries on to the rink, basketball court, the field and, just this past Thursday, the tennis court.
Last year, the Trojan boys tennis team held victory high over the heads of the Hunters, but Denfeld did not forget it. Earlier this year, it came back to shut down Duluth Central 7-0. Now, with more practice under their belts, the two came head-to-head for another bout, at Central's new on-campus tennis courts Thursday.
"Well, we got them last year, so they got us this year. They probably have more depth as a team, so we'll just have to see where this one goes," Trojans Coach Adrian Norman said, although that early-season whipping that Central received from the Hunters can be attributed at least a little to 10 Trojans being absent from the game. As for the new fields, "It's really great having eight courts on campus."
What did some Trojan players have to say about the courts?
"It's too windy," senior player Joe Schneuer says plainly, but he's not the only one who thinks this.
"The wind carried a lot of balls where you weren't counting on them going. We need some trees or windscreens up, because they're like the newest, but worst, courts to play on," said senior Mark Hoffman.
Indeed, the wind was a factor in the game, and it was evident. Balls were taking weird curves and wild bounces left and right, and the players were struggling to keep on top of Mother Nature's blows. This seemed to be a problem for the game's top singles match, between Central junior Dan Leutgeb and Denfeld favorite Cory Eider.
The matchup had quite a few exciting exchanges between the two contenders, with Eider struggling with Leutgeb's outside shots, and Leutgeb trying to keep up with Eider's twisting serves. In the end, Eider put a finish to Leutgeb by beating him 6-1 and 6-0.
Central also lost in 2nd singles matchup, and 1st and 4th doubles. The Central singles wins went to Kyle Ager, who beat out Blake Conboy 7-5 and 6-1. In doubles, seniors Mark Hoffman and Ryan Gaalswyk beat out Hunters Mario Bejano and Adam Pederson 6-3 and 7-5. These wins were not enough to put Central over the top, however, and it lost to the Hunters 4-3.
"It's all in the heat of the game, man. It was a close one. One more match and we'd have had them. We'll get them next time for sure," said Central senior John Kropf, who lost his doubles match, along with his partner, Rodrigo Rueda.
This loss puts the Trojans record at 3-8, but they aren't done yet. "We will hopefully hit our peak just before playoffs, but we could've played better today," said Schneuer, "You always want to beat a Duluth team, and we have a better chance at beating Denfeld than East, so we were fighting to win."
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