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Kimball tops Buffs in 1st-place battle

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POSTED March 26, 2014 1:18 a.m.

Defending champion Kimball proved to be the team to beat once again in the Valley Oak League on Tuesday, but the gap between the Jaguars and the rest of the field doesn’t appear to be as wide as it was in 2013.

They visited Manteca in a battle between the league’s remaining unbeaten teams and squeaked out a 5-4 win.

 “We’re hoping to get them the second time around,” Manteca coach Frank Fontana said. “They just need to realize they need to get better. We’ve done pretty well against other teams in league but haven’t had to face a lot of adversity in matches. Now that we’ve lost there should be more motivation to practice even harder if we want to beat them.”

The two best players on the court decided the team outcome, as reigning singles champion Garrett Chun bested Manteca’s Yok-Jing Ma 6-4, 6-4. It was a well-contested duel in which Ma lost three no-ad points in the second set.

Manteca’s Mike Lopez defeated Mark Dalupan 1-6, 6-3, 11-9 in the No. 2 singles match. Lopez was the runner-up to Chun in last year’s league tournament. The Buffaloes also won the No. 6 singles match, with Alex Vazquez prevailing against Joshua Linsangan, 6-4, 6-1.

Fontana hoped that his team’s depth would be the difference in doubles, but he lost a starter to ineligibility this week.

Ndan Osborn and Yok-Eyh Ma took care of business in a 6-0, 6-3 rout at No. 1 doubles, while Manteca’s third pair of Kyle Thornburg and Si Hao Tang pulled out a 6-1, 7-5 victory. The Buffaloes were swept 1-6, 2-6 in the No. 2 match, however.

“I think in some matches nerves did play a part,” Fontana said. “The changing of people in their positions I think had an impact in doubles; we had to move someone from third doubles up and we had a new player fill in.

“The expectations were maybe too high to start the match because we started terribly in every match. As things progressed we started playing better.”

It doesn’t get any easier for Manteca (5-1), which plays host to Sonora next Monday. Sonora also dropped a 5-4 decision to Kimball, winning the No. 6 singles match and all three at doubles.

“That’s a big match if we want to stay in contention,” Fontana said. “I feel like we can beat Kimball. They’re not that much better they were better today in five matches. Hopefully next time we can be better than them next time in at least five matches.”

East Union 6, Lathrop 3

The Lancers improved to 3-2 in the VOL but were well tested by visiting Lathrop.

Two three-set finishes helped decide it for East Union. Kyle Niendorf came from behind to knock off Lathrop’s Jared Palma 5-7, 6-4, 6-4 in No. 4 singles. Mario Zuniga and Raul Duenas did the same at No. 3 doubles, winning 3-6, 6-1, 6-3.

Five matches in all went to a third set, with Lathrop claiming the rest. Kevin Alvarez (6-2, 4-6, 6-3) and Ben Hoang (7-6 [7-4], 6-2, 6-2) won at No. 5 and 6 singles, respectively, while the No. 1 tandem of Ben Hoang and Nick Cruz grinded out a 0-6, 6-4, 6-3 victory.

East Union claimed points at No. 1-3 singles with Luke Macias (6-3, 6-3), Kevin Flores (6-3, 6-1) and Andrew Rossete (6-3, 6-3) sweeping. Christian Rodriguez and Jake Kramer took the No. 2 doubles match, 6-3, 6-1.

Oakdale 5,
Weston Ranch 4

In Oakdale, the visiting Cougars came up short in their bid to win their first league match of the season. It came down to the final contest of the day. The No. 1 doubles team of Michael Cervantes and Nick Salvador forced a third set but fell, 4-6.

Weston Ranch prevailed in three singles contests. Chai Saepharn defeated Josh Niendorf 6-1, 6-1 in the showdown of No. 1s. Roen Malihan coasted to a 6-3, 6-1 victory, and Issa Areja edged out Tyler Leadem, 7-6, 5-7, 6-4. The No. 2 doubles team of Jaspinder Grewall and Kent Balacy held off Shane Baxter and Robert Bagley, 6-2, 5-7, 6-3.

Trans-Valley League

Ripon 8, Hughson 1

The improved Indians (2-0) routed host Hughson to surpass last season’s TVL win total. Their only lsos was a three-set decision at No. 2 girls singles.

Otherwise, the match belonged to Ripon. Singles winners were Jeremy Parks (6-0, 6-4), Nathan Machado (6-0, 6-0) and Savannah Bickle (6-0, 6-4).

In doubles, Bryce Coutrakis-Ian Flanders (6-0, 6-1), Will Hollingsworth-Isaiah Sanchez (6-4, 6-0), Shannon Wesley-Maddison Flanders (6-0, 6-0), Alyssa Demara-Teresa Martinez (6-0, 6-1) and Davis Armstrong-Hailey Rose (6-1, 6-0) all made quick work of their opponents.

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