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Squires blank Apaches to open TRC play

RETURN: Manchester’s Eva Bazzoni returns a shot during her match at No. 3 singles against Wabash on Thursday.

BY JACOB RUDE - sports@wabashplaindealer.com

With uncommonly warm weather surrounding them, the Manchester girls’ tennis team begin its trek to what has become a common position atop at the Three Rivers Conference on Thursday.

The Squires kicked off the conference campaign on the road against county rival Wabash and did so in convincing fashion, winning 5-0 on the night.

“Tonight, we struggled at times at several positions, but that just gives us some focal points to work on in upcoming practices,” head coach Joel Eichenauer said. “It’s all about improving from March to May.”

Manchester was expectedly dominant in the win, taking four of the five points in straight sets. Manchester’s Kelsey Eichenauer kicked off the match with a 6-0, 6-1 victory over Brooke Irgang at No. 1 singles while Manchester’s Halle Briner was equally impressive with a 6-1, 6-1 win over Wabash’s Bella Carrillo at No. 2 singles.

“I thought Kelsey played much better tonight in regards to taking her time to construct points and get in tune within the rhythms of the match,” Eichenauer said. “She relaxed and was content to wait for moments to hit winners. Halle pulled out her power game at times but mixed in some grind it out points also. She got off to a comfortable lead and was able to practice several strategies for future matchplay.”

Eva Bazzoni wrapped up the win for the Squires shortly thereafter, taking home her match at No. 3 singles over Isabelle France 6-3, 6-0.

“I like the way Eva countered her opponent’s successful shots,” Eichenauer said. “That showed her tennis intelligence and high skill level to change to a more successful approach.”

At No. 1 singles, the Squire team of Anna Osborne and Halie Wampler won 7-5, 6-4 over Haley Miller and Camille Kugler, turning all eyes to the No. 2 doubles match-up.

As the only duel to go three sets, Wabash’s team of Annie Cole and Evelynn Gray took the first set 6-4 before Manchester’s duo of Alexa Donathan and Roma Kaur bounced back with a 6-4 win over their own to force the decisive set.

Donathan and Kaur completed their comeback with a 6-4 win in the third set to secure the fifth and final point of the night.

“This match gave us a glimpse of where we need to get better but also what worked,” Eichenauer said. “Learning to play in matches like our good practices is key.”

The Squires move to 2-0 on the season and 1-0 in conference play while Wabash falls to 0-1 on the year. Manchester, though, will have its work cut off for it on Saturday at the Warsaw Invitational with a field comprised of No. 3 Munster, No. 9 Homestead and No. 17 Penn amongst others,

The Squires will be back in action next week at Maconaquah on Tuesday.