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Manteca earns third title in four years

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Manteca earns third title in four years

Manteca High's No. 1 singles player Alex Barragan sends a shot back to Sierra's Kevin Rausa in Thursday's Valley Oak League finale at Union Road Tennis Courts.


POSTED April 30, 2010 2:46 a.m.

Manteca High’s boys tennis team took some big graduation hits over the last two years.

But the 2010 squad proved Thursday that the winning tradition built by coach Frank Fontana and the standout players of years past them hasn’t left.

The new breed of Buffaloes secured a share of the Valley Oak League championship, the program’s third in four seasons, in the regular-season finale Thursday at Union Road Tennis Courts by dispatching rival Sierra, 3-2.

Ceres split its two matches with Manteca this season, and both end the year with 13-1 records. Manteca also clinched its fourth straight Sac-Joaquin Section Team Tournament appearance.

“After we graduated some of our top players, I think a lot of people didn’t think we were going to win it this year, and I definitely had my own doubts,” Fontana said. “But the players rose to the occasion. We talked all year about playing as a team, and they were rewarded for their hard work.”

Sierra (5-8) still has a match to make up with Oakdale, but that may not go through with the VOL singles and doubles tournaments looming next week.

Kevin Rausa, the city’s top player and a favorite to earn one of three berths to the SJS Individual Tournament, continued his superb play this season and defeated Alex Barragan, 6-2, 6-1, in the No. 1 singles match.

Rausa’s only two losses of the regular season came against Ceres’ Luis Ochoa, the league’s defending singles champion.

 “Kevin has grown in the last few years,” Sierra coach Arabella Whitlock said. “He’s come a long way and I’m really proud of him. I’m really excited to see how he does in the VOL (tournament) next week.”

Also winning for Sierra Thursday was Forest Tolman at No. 2 singles. He came back to defeat Alex McAdams 4-6, 6-0, 6-3 in the day’s most competitive match.

The rest was all Manteca.

No. 3 singles player Marc Leon, one of Manteca’s two seniors, took down Josh Weiland, 7-5, 6-1.

Manteca won the doubles matches in straight sets as well. Oral Nunis and Max Angelo got by Adrian Prieto and Oliver Wood 6-2, 6-2; and Xavier Lopez and Marcus Munoz dispatched Greg Blockinger and John Allen Hewitt, 6-0, 7-5.

“I was really impressed with our doubles,” Fontana said. At the start of the year I was not sure what we were capable of as far as doubles go, but all year they’ve been rock solid. And Marc Leon doesn’t get much credit, but he’s been a stalwart at No. 3. He gets his job done and you guys like that.”

The VOL Singles Tournament is next Tuesday at Central Valley, and the final match will be played during the Doubles Tournament Thursday, May 6.

— Jonamar Jacinto
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