Lady Squires grab sectional crown

The Manchester Lady Squires tennis team shows off the sectional trophy it won. Photo by Eric Christiansen

By Eric Christiansen

It took longer than expected, but finally, the Manchester girls tennis team defended its sectional title with a 4-1 win over host Peru Monday night.

“This is an amazing accomplishment to win back-to-back sectionals,” Manchester coach Joel Eichenauer said. “These young ladies worked hard in the off season and each day at practice.”

Manchester and Peru faced off in the regular season with the Squires squeaking out a 3-2 win. Despite the 4-1 score Monday, the match as just as close.

Manchester’s first point came from the number two doubles team of Kendra Auler and Lydia Little who cruised to a 6-0 first set before finishing off their opponents 6-4 in the second.

Leiah Brandenburg made it 2-0 with a strong 6-2, 6-2 showing at number three singles.

The number one doubles team of Bethany Collett and Lauren Metzger clinched the team championship with a 6-4, 6-2 win, starting the celebration.

Manchester went up 4-0 after Karly Eichenauer reversed her regular season result against Peru’s number one player Anna Boyer with a 6-4, 6-4 win.

Meanwhile, Kelsey Eichenauer was in a long battle against Claire Boyer in the final match of the night.

Boyer raced out to a 6-1 lead before Eichenauer tied things up with a 6-2 second set win.

Boyer went up 3-0 in the third before Eichenauer battled back to force a tie-break at 6-6. Boyer pulled out the tie-break 7-2 to give Peru its only point.

“It was a great win and great to be surrounded by family, friends, and community supporters who helped these student-athletes to succeed,” Coach Eichenauer said.

Manchester traveled to Culver Academies Tuesday night to face state-ranked Plymouth in the first round of regional. Results were not available at press time. Please see the News-Journal’s Facebook page for results.

Round 1 vs. Wabash
The Squires opened the Peru Sectional facing off against fellow co-conference champion Wabash.

The Apaches were short-handed in their singles line-up, and Manchester took advantage with a 4-1 win.

The Squires swept the singles matches in straight set and split the doubles matches with Wabash.

Kelsey Eichenauer got Manchester on the board with a 6-1, 6-0 win at two singles over Katy Brown.

Brandenburg made it 2-0 with a 6-1, 6-2 win over Brooke Irgan at three singles.

At two doubles, Auler and Little clinched the team win over Alicyn Sheets and Kaitlyn Hashbarger 6-4, 6-3.

At number one singles, seniors Karly Eichenauer for Manchester and Katie Ford for Wabash faced off for a re-match of their regular season contest that saw Ford get the win.

Wednesday night was a different story as Eichenauer raced out to a 5-2 lead and pulled out the first set 6-4. In the second set, Eichenauer jumped out to a 3-0 lead and fought through a 6-3 win.

At one doubles, Collett and Metzger battled but fell in a 3-setter against Alexis Hartley and Jaycee Parrett 7-6 (6), 1-6, 6-3.

“Overall, this was a well-played team match,” Manchester coach Joel Eichenauer said. “We came out with positive energy and moved well on a windy night.”

Round 2 vs. Maconaquah
It took three days to get it done, but the Squires advanced to the sectional championship match with a 5-0 win over Maconaquah.

The match started on Thursday, but was paused on Thursday. Friday was rained out, and they just got the match finished before rain hit again on Saturday morning, forcing the championship match to Monday.

Manchester didn’t lose a set in the match, but not every match was easy.

Karly Eichenauer had an easy go of it with a 6-3, 6-0 win at one singles, and Kelsey Eichenauer was 6-1, 6-1 at two singles.

Brandenburg had a tough first set, but pulled it out 7-5 before crusing in the second set 6-0.

Collett and Metzger battled to a 6-3, 7-5 win at one doubles, and Auler and Little nearly matched that score with a 6-2, 7-5 win at two doubles.

Regional loss
The Squires faced an uphill battle in their opening regional match against state-ranked Plymouth, ending their season with a 5-0 loss to the Pilgrims at Culver Academies.

Plymouth acted quickly in three positions to clinch the match early.

Collett and Metzger dropped a 6-0, 6-1 decision at one doubles, while Auler and Little lost 6-1, 6-0 at two doubles, and Leiah Brandenburg lost 6-1, 6-1 at three singles.

Karly Eichenauer lost her first match of the state tournament, falling 6-2, 6-2 at one singles.

At two singles, in the longest match of the night, Kelsey Eichenauer took it to three sets before losing 3-6, 7-6 (4), 6-0.

Manchester finished the season with a 13-4 record, winning a share of the Three Rivers Conference title and a sectional championship.

Posted on 2017 May 30