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Section qualifiers ousted on first day

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POSTED May 9, 2014 12:35 a.m.

The Manteca, Ripon and Ripon Christian tennis teams sent its top players to Sac-Joaquin Section tournaments Thursday, but none of them are returning for today’s semifinal round.

It was a short stay in Roseville for the three Buffaloes who made the trip from Manteca.

Valley Oak League doubles champions Mike Lopez and Alex Vazquez received a brutal first-round draw in the SJS Division II Tournament and were eliminated by Rio American’s Jack Lonergan and Kadyn Silva, 0-6, 0-6 at Johnson Ranch Racquet Club.

Lonergan and Silva are the top-seeded tandem and runaway favorites to garner the title.

“There was a 1-in-13 chance that our guys were going to draw the No. 1 seed, and sure enough they drew them,” Manteca coach Frank Fontana said. “They could have played with every other team out there, they just so happened to play the best team in the tournament in the first round.”

“I’d be surprised if (Longergan and Silva) do not win it all. There is that big of a skill gap between them and the rest of the field.

Fontana’s top player, Yok-Jing Ma, was able to scratch out a 6-0, 7-5 win over Vanden’s Patrick Bazo but ran into one of Northern California’s top 14-year-olds in the second round. Ma was downed by Ceres freshman Nolan McCaig, 2-6, 0-6.

“(McCaig) is a very good player and Yok didn’t have his game all day,” Fontana said. “He’s been struggling because he’s sick and he wasn’t able to play and move as well as he normally does. His last three matches were probably the worst he played all year.”

Manteca continues the team tournament next Monday when it heads to Rio Americano, the section’s defending Division II champ.

“We got a little preview for Monday and we got to see their top four players today,” Fontana said. “We’re going to have a tough match.”

Ripon and Ripon Christian sent large contingents to Oak Park in Stockton, where the Division III coed tournament was held.

The Ripon duo of Jeremy Parks and Nathan Machado, who claimed the Trans-Valley League boys super doubles title, knocked off Ripon Christian’s Jake Van Vuren and Josh Donoho before getting blanked by a talented Cosumnes Oaks pair.

TVL singles titlist Bryce Coutrakis was defeated by eventual semifinalist Andrew Leonard of Bear River. Ripon’s brother-sister combo of Ian and Maddison Flanders grinded out a three-set win over a Forest Lake Christian team, but they forced to retire because of injury in the middle of their second set in their next match. The all-Flanders team dropped a first-set tiebreaker and led 3-2 in the second before Ian went down with a wrist injury.

“Last year we didn’t make the playoffs (as a team) and didn’t have any section qualifiers, so this was a good experience for us,” second-year Ripon coach Robert Mayfield said. “We’re going to see high-level tennis again against Placer next Monday. Regardless of what happens, it’ll be a fun and good experience to help us prepare for next year.”

Ripon Christian nearly had the entire starting roster from its Southern League championship squad qualify for the individual tournament. Singles players Kyle Van Vuren and Makenna Koslosky each came away with a victory. Also competing Thursday were Derrick Witt, Lauren Herbert and girls doubles partners Mariah Alger and Amber Lingley.

The Knights are hosting River City in the quarterfinal round of the Division III team tournament next Monday.

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