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Seniors looking to guide Manchester boys tennis team

4/4/2013 - South Side Leader
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By Sean Patrick

NEW FRANKLIN — Last season, the Manchester High School boys tennis team finished 9-10 and new head coach Steve Strasser said improving on that record is just one of his goals this season.

“We want to get over the .500 mark this year for a team record,” he said. “Also, we are looking to use this year to gain a lot of experience. We only have three upperclassmen, so it should be a year in which the underclassmen are a big factor and show a lot of growth throughout the season. If we can be better at the end of the year than we are at the beginning and mid-point, then I will feel we are meeting our goals. Individually, Aaron Pohelia will be a four-year varsity player, and I look for him to have a strong season and hopefully make some noise at districts as a singles player.”

Pohelia is one of a trio of seniors on the team.

“He is the one part of the team that is really set. He is going to play first singles and is coming off a strong offseason, where he played very well in some of the tournaments he entered,” Strasser stated. “He has a big, strong game, and as long as he keeps the unforced errors down, he will compete with anyone he faces. He has the game to play with anyone on our schedule and should give us a strong start in most matches.”

The other seniors on this year’s team are second-year varsity player Matt Wilson and third-year varsity player Collin Coben.

“Matt is a great kid to work with, and he works really hard. He is a player who can play either singles or doubles and will be a consistent and steadying player for the team,” the coach said. “Collin’s ground strokes are consistent, and he is a strong player coming to the net. He played doubles last year, but he has the type of game to be able to play singles as well. He will either fill the second singles position or be the leader of our first doubles team.”

Strasser, who spent the previous two seasons as an assistant at Ellet, said Manchester’s seniors have been “great” at helping the team’s underclassmen and “creating a good, positive team environment.”

“We have three seniors, but behind them it is all sophomores and freshmen, and none of them have any varsity experience,” he said. “I have been really impressed by the attitudes of the kids. They really pull for each other and try to help each other out. The veteran players are always willing to give a tip or encouragement to some of the players who have not played before. It has really made my first year very enjoyable and the transition to a new program very easy.”

According to Strasser, the team’s underclassmen have “been improving each practice.”

“They have been great to coach — very coachable and nice kids,” he said. “They are an athletic group and just need to play more and get a little more consistent. Kyle and Brian Coben, Collin’s twin brothers, move around the court really well and will be a part of the varsity team. We will have two varsity spots filled by freshmen, and I like what I have seen from Daniel Mundy and Joe Daniels so far. Joe’s strength is his ability to cover the court and volley. Daniel has done a great job of being coachable, and his forehand is really developing. Another freshman, Logan Mospens, may also get into the mix for some varsity time if he continues to improve.”

Manchester’s regular season is scheduled to begin today, April 5, at 4 p.m. at Claymont High School.

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