Manchester girls tennis coach pleased with season
|Shown is the Manchester High School girls tennis team.|
|Photo courtesy of Wayne Sanders II|
“I didn’t expect the girls to do that well, because we had such a small team. We usually have about 15 girls, and we only had eight this year. Plus, we graduated two of our best girls from last year because of graduation. But the girls really surprised me this year,” said Sanders.
Sanders said he was concerned when Manchester began the season with three losses.
“I thought, ‘Well, this is going the way I thought it would go.’ And then we won four matches in a row and I thought we were better than I expected,” he said. “We finished 8-8, despite a lot of bad luck. We only had our starting seven present for one of our first nine matches. I had girls playing in different positions and that put pressure on them.”
An early injury to senior McKenna Kapper was costly for the team, the coach said.
“In maybe our second match, she sprained her ankle so badly that she was out for three weeks,” Sanders said. “At third singles for only part of the season due to the injury, she contributed positively to the team results with her five wins and her dedication. McKenna also advanced to the second round of the sectional tournament.”
Sanders said the members of his senior class had big seasons for the team.
“My seniors were my second-, third- and fourth-best players,” he said. “They were definitely the strength of my team.”
Senior Taylor Young finished the season with 10 wins as a second singles player.
“She had the best record of anyone on the team,” Sanders said. “Taylor earned an award for 20 career victories, and her skills propelled her into the second round of the sectional tournament.”
Senior Emma Bonfiglio played first doubles for Manchester this season.
“Emma won half her matches, even though she played with several different partners in the course of the season — not an easy thing for a tennis player to do,” the coach said.
Bonfiglio was often partnered with junior Hannah Davis.
“Hannah pulled double duty by alternating between third singles and first doubles,” Sanders stated. “Even with her sacrifice for the team of playing out of her normal position, Hannah won half her matches and contributed to all of the team wins.”
According to Sanders, the best player on the team this season was a sophomore.
“Moving up from second singles last year to first singles this year was sophomore Ashley Burris,” he said. “I saw a lot of improvement this year. As the best player on the team, she has to play everybody else’s best players, and usually those girls are seniors. She was playing those seniors as a sophomore, and that’s a very difficult thing. I think she’ll be an even stronger player mentally next season for it. I think experience will help her concentration.”
Sanders said the second doubles team was “a mixture of experience and inexperience.”
“The experienced half was junior Kelly Daniels, who played in the same position on last year’s team. Her experience was sorely needed as she played half of the season at first doubles,” he said. “Her partner at second doubles, junior Lindsey Chesmar, new to the varsity team, shows great promise and advanced to the second round of the sectional tournament playing singles.”
Another key player this season for the Lady Panthers was junior Madeline Van Horn.
“Maddy played mostly at second doubles, but she also filled in at first doubles and even third singles when needed,” the coach said. “Her versatility and dedication to the team was greatly appreciated by her teammates and coach.”
On the whole, Sanders said he has “no complaints” with the way his team performed this year.
“I’m just proud of the girls and the way they played,” he said. “They were great.”
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