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The Suburbanite
  • Manchester boys tennis holds serve at the start of a new season

  • Things are looking up for the Manchester High School boys tennis program.


    The Panthers they return five of their top seven players from last year's 7-9 team and will look to build on that experience and land on the positive side of the .500 mark this season.

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  • Things are looking up for the Manchester High School boys tennis program.
    The Panthers they return five of their top seven players from last year's 7-9 team and will look to build on that experience and land on the positive side of the .500 mark this season.
    Under the guidance of seventh-year head coach Vince Hercules (57-61), the Panthers are hoping to net a good campaign and are well on their way as they have complied a 6-1 mark so far in the young season.
    Manchester has defeated Claymont twice 5-0, 5-0, Alliance 4-1, Coventry 4-1, Akron Ellet 3-2 and Orrville 3-2, while falling to St. Thomas Aquinas 3-2.
    “I expect this to be a good season for us,” said Hercules.
    “While we lost two good tennis players (Josh Knoebel, Steven Clark) to graduation, the majority of the team remained intact.
    “Experience is one of our strengths. We have many juniors and seniors on the team this season, and that should benefit us. All of our starting line-up has played before, most of them two or three years at the high school level.”
    The Panthers’ starting line-up consists of junior Aaron Pohelia (first singles), senior Andrew Neff (second singles), senior Cody Collins (third singles), junior Collin Coben and senior Chris Lee (first doubles) and senior Michael Costa and junior Matt Wilson (second doubles).
    Hercules said senior Michael Sommers may also see some duty at second doubles as the season progresses.
    Pohelia, who advanced to singles quarterfinals at the Wooster Div. III sectionals a year ago, had a career 15-24 record entering the season, but has managed to turn things around so far this season and is 7-0 in the early going.
     
    More impressively, he has dropped just 15 total games in his seven victories en route to his unblemished record in singles competition.
    Other individual marks so far are Neff (3-4), Collins (5-2), Collin Coben-Lee (6-0), Collin Coben-Costa (1-0), Wilson-Sommers (1-0), Costa-Wilson (2-3) and Kyle Coben-Wilson (1-0).
    “Our team captains are Aaron (Pohelia) and Cody (Collins). I expect them to lead the team, but I also have high expectations for all the team members as they are all upperclassmen, who have been on the team for several season's,” Hercules said.
    Freshman Brian Coben, Kyle Coben, Ben Lippincott, and Davey Squires fill out the roster amd may have a chance to garner some varsity experience as the season wears on.
    Prior of the season, the team set several goals for itself collectively and as individuals.
    As a team, the goal is advancing further in the tournament, and on an individual level, the focus continues to be on improving individual records.
    “One goal for us is for Aaron (Pohelia) to make it to the district tournament this year,” Hercules said. “He was very close last year and he has a very legitimate shot at accomplishing this goal this year.
    Page 2 of 2 - “Many of the rest of the guys on the team have losing career records. A goal for them, especially now that they are all upperclassmen, is that they will improve their career marks to winning records. I believe that many, if not all, can do so.”
    Neff was 7-10 in his career entering the ledger, while Collins was 8-16, Coben 9-8, Lee 7-9, Costa 2-1, and Wilson 0-2.
    Manchester's schedule  has a few unfamiliar foes, including non-league opponents Norwayne, Akron Firestone, and Archbishop Hoban.
    The red and black will once again use Branhaven Swim and Tennis Club in North Canton as their home court.