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Forester tennis seasons comes to a close

by Brooke Saylor

AT THE NET: Rodrigo Manzo, who earned all-conference honors for this Foresters this season, prepares to take an overhead stroke in a home match. (photo by Quinton Worthy)

AT THE NET: Rodrigo Manzo, who earned all-conference honors for this Foresters this season, prepares to take an overhead stroke in a home match. (photo by Quinton Worthy)

Both the men and women’s teams fell short of the 2016 NAIA National Tournament. Notwithstanding, each finished their seasons in the top three in the conference and with two individuals on the all-conference team.

The men finished 7-6 overall and 6-2 in conference play. Their performance sealed a third-place finish, an improvement from sixth place last season. This third place finish also secured a spot in the post season conference tournament. The Foresters were defeated in a tough 4-5 loss to Indiana Wesleyan University in the opening round. Rodrigo Manzo, Dawid Baranowski, the duo of Mariano Eehevarria and Ignacio Pancio and the tandem of Baranowski and Jacob Shelton each collected victories in the team loss.

At the conclusion of the season, Poncio and Manzo were each recognized with all-conference honors.

Manzo, a freshman from San Luis Potosi, Mexico, dominated the No. 2 seed by finishing 8-1 in individual conference play. Manzo was also part of the No. 2 doubles team and finished with a 5-4 conference record for doubles play with his partner Giovanni Martinez. Manzo’s main focus during offseason is fitness as he prepares for the upcoming spring season.

“I am looking to improve mentally and, more importantly, physically,” he said. “This offseason, I am going to spend working on fitness. I’m looking to become stronger and faster, which will help to improve my game for this spring.”

Poncho was named to the all-conference team for the second year in a row. He played the No. 1 seed all season and finished 6-4 in conference play. Poncho and partner Eehevarria, the Foresters’ No. 1 doubles team, finished 5-5 in conference play. Poncio’s main goal for next year is to become more consistent winning at the No. 1 singles spot.

“This offseason I am trying to become more consistent in a fitness routine so that by spring I will be stronger and faster,” he said. “Another thing I am looking to improve this offseason is doubles play because doubles matches are the key to winning.”

The Foresters’ spring season will consist of nine matches. Although they are the youngest team in the conference, Poncio said the Foresters have high hopes for next season, as they return the whole varsity starting lineup and are one of the favorites to win the conference tournament.

The women achieved their goal of finishing in the top-three of conference play, which they did for the second season in a row. The Foresters finished 6-2 in conference play and 8-3 overall. Junior Constanze Golz and senior Morgan Bemisderfer both received all-conference honors for the third year in a row.

Bemisderfer, who started at No. 3 singles before moving to No. 2 spot, finishedwith a 5-2 record in conference. She also went 5-2 in No. 1 doubles with partner Celine Rongos.

Golz finished 4-3 in conference play at the No. 1 seed and 5-2 conference record at the No. 2 doubles with partner Maria Lueken. In the offseason, the German native is hoping to improve her singles play and also become a better leader for her teammates.

“For the offseason, I try to stay in shape through some cardio or lift weights until our team starts to hit inside again and does conditioning,” she said. “For next season, I would personally like to have a better record.”

The women’s team will begin their spring season in February.

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