MHS girls’ tennis wins Topeka quad

By Grant Guggisberg

After opening the season with a narrow loss to Topeka High last week, the Manhattan High girls’ tennis team got revenge on Tuesday.

Manhattan won the quad in Topeka with 10 points, beating Topeka High’s nine points, while finishing ahead of third-place Topeka West (4) and fourth-place Shawnee Heights (1).

“I was really pleased with the way the girls played,” Manhattan coach Joyce Allen said. “We haven’t won this meet in the last couple years, coming in second behind Topeka High, so it was nice to win it.”

Allen switched up her lineup again as she searches for the best possible combination for her team going forward. Cathy Lei played at No. 1 singles, with Kristin Fraley at No. 2 singles. Bianca Pedrozo and Caroline Sager teamed at No. 1 doubles, with Tracy Le and Pajsoua Lo representing the lone locked-in spot at No. 2 doubles.

“We switched things up,” Allen said. “I wanted to see Cathy play against (Whitney) Holloman from Topeka High. She said she played her this summer and beat her, so I wanted to give her the chance.”

Lei finished the day 3-0 in her debut in the top singles spot, defeating Holloman 8-5 in her closest match of the day.

Fraley also went 3-0, getting her tough match against Topeka West, but coming out on top 8-5.

Pedrozo and Sager went 2-1 on the day, falling to undefeated Topeka High pair Kim Buzbee and Katie Hurocy, 8-1.

Le and Lo finished 2-1, losing to Topeka High 8-6 in their final match of the day while defeating Topeka West 8-2 and winning 6-4 against Shawnee Heights, who had a player injury during the match that forced them to retire.

“My No. 2s — every week they’ve gotten better and better,” Allen said. “And honestly, they should have won that last match. They were up 6-3, and Topeka High came back. They have not been in the position of being up and being freaked out. So I was really proud of them and I thought they did a really good job.”

While the lineup is still in flux at this point, Allen said the time is coming when she’ll need to make a final decision where each girls will play the rest of the season.

“It’s too early in the season to get locked into anything,” Allen said. “But I think after next week, we’ll see how they do, but I’m looking to lock it in.

Allen said some coaches opt to change up lineups going into regionals, but those players typically come into the tournament unseeded, which leads to a tougher draw.

“We see the strangest stuff when we go to regionals,” she said. “Somebody might be playing singles or doubles all season long, and their coach decides it’s their best bet to put his singles players together and they go in with an 0-0 record and make it to state.”

Manhattan returns to action on Tuesday with its home quad, hosting Junction City, Washburn Rural and Marysville. The meet is scheduled to begin at 3:30 p.m. at City Park.

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