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The Suburbanite
  • Manchester boys tennis team going through growing pains

  • It has been a season of growing pains for first-year tennis coach Steve Strasser and the Manchester tennis. The combination of youth and inexperience on the roster hasn’t equated to many wins on the court for the Panthers.

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  • It has been a season of growing pains for first-year tennis coach Steve Strasser and the Manchester tennis. The combination of youth and inexperience on the roster hasn’t equated to many wins on the court for the Panthers.
    Still,  the team has been able to hold its own against much tougher competition despite facing squads with more experience and depth. Inconsistency has been the operative word for the Panthers through 10 matches.
    "We have had an up and down year,”  Strasser said. “We have been competitive in nearly every match, but just haven’t been able to pull out as many team wins as we would have hoped for. With a young team, we are playing two freshman and two sophomores, that is to be expected.”
    Manchester’s victories this season were have come against Garfield and Claymont (twice) by identical 4-1 counts, accounting for the positive side of their 3-7 record.
    On the other side of the spectrum, they have lost decisions to Hoban,  Firestone, Field, Norton, Alliance, St. Thomas Aqunias and Akron St.Vincent-St. Mary. Three of those defeats have been by a score of 3-2, proving that the margin between victory and defeat has been slim for the Panthers.
    The teams regular season is scheduled to come to a close on Monday at Tallmadge. There won’t be any time to relax or refocus after ending the regular season, as sectional tournament play begins Tuesday in Wooster.
    Senior Aaron Pohelia (first singles) has been the team’s best player through 10 matches with a 6-4 record, while the first doubles team that has consisted mainly of Brian Coben and Daniel Mundy has posted a matching 6-4 mark. Colin Coben, Kyle Coben, and Matt Wilson have also seen action at first doubles.
    “Aaron (Pohelia) has played a tough schedule at first singles. Three loses have all come against players, who were seeded in sectionals, in either singles or doubles,” Strasser added. “He played his best match against Norton, and hopefully he can carry that momentum forward into the sectionals.”
    Despite their struggles over the course of the season, Strasser is also happy with the way the underclassmen on his roster have competed and battled.
     “I have really liked the way the younger players have competed, especially Brian (Coben), and Daniel (Mundy) at first doubles,” the first-year coach added. “That is a tough spot for them. Dan is a freshman, and Brian is a sophomore, who did not have any varsity experience coming into the year. So for them to step up and play as well as they have has been nice.”
      In his first season on the sidelines, Strasser has really enjoyed his chance to lead the team and help a young group grow and progress. “The experience has been great so far,” he said. “The players have been exactly what you would hope for as a coach. They have been coachable, and have improved all season.”

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