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Manchester caps off perfect TRC season with victory

RETURN: Manchester’s Kelsey Eichenauer returns a shot during the Squires’ match against Southwood on Monday.

BY JACOB RUDE - sports@wabashplaindealer.com

Manchester’s girls’ tennis team flexed its depth on Monday night, something that has helped guide them to a third-consecutive Three Rivers Conference (TRC) title.

With regular Eva Bazzoni missing action due to an injury at No. 1 doubles, the Squires plugged in junior Anna Osborne and saw the junior join Kendra Auler to earn a 7-6 (9-7), 3-6, 6-2 win as part of a dominating performance from Manchester on the road against Southwood in the final TRC match of the season.

The Squires earned a 5-0 win on Monday, just two days before sectional play, to finish the regular season with a perfect 8-0 record in conference play and a 10-4 mark overall.

For Manchester, Monday was one more stepping stone in a season with goals yet to accomplish.

“Our team is looking forward to going after our third-consecutive sectional title,” head coach Joel Eichenauer said. “I really feel our team depth has been an advantage all season long.

“Our singles players are playing some really good tennis right now. Kelsey (Eichenauer) finished with the strong match against Southwood and Halle Briner and Lydia Little have been dominating at two and three singles.”

In singles action on Monday, Eichenauer grabbed a 7-6 (8-6), 6-1 win over Southwood’s Drue Gentry. Halle Briner and Lydia Little made much quicker work of their opponents with Briner downing Lorynn Hunt 6-1, 6-0 at No. 2 singles and Little earning a 6-1, 6-2 win over Allison Steele at No. 3 singles.

In doubles play, along with Auler and Osborne’s win over Emily Gwillim and Kyrstin Gouveia, the Squire duo of Rebekah Pyle and Lauren Metzger won 6-0, 6-2 at No. 2 singles against Courtney Andrick and Haleigh Snyder.

“Kendra Auler and Lauren Metzger are seniors who anchor each doubles team,” Eichenauer said. “Auler pairs nicely with freshman Eva Bazzoni to use athleticism and strong serves to gain an advantage. Rebekah Pyle is a young player that has come on nicely the last three-fourths of the season who will provide an extra punch for us at two doubles.

“And Anna Osborne has filled in nicely in several varsity doubles matches and we also have Erika Kendall who started the year playing some doubles for us in our back pocket in case we need someone to fill-in.”

As the Squires put the finishing touches on the win on Monday, the sectional draw was revealed as the Squires look for a third-straight title.

Manchester will match up with Peru in the opening round on Wednesday with the winner to meet Wabash in the semi-final. The Squires downed Peru 4-1 one week ago and will look to do the same tonight.

“We’ll be ready for Peru and match up nicely against every sectional opponent in the draw,” Eichenauer said.

The match is set for a 5:15 p.m. start.