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Morales, Aniss crowned VOL doubles champs

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Morales, Aniss crowned VOL doubles champs

Manteca High partners Arnie Morales, left, and Yassen Aniss have their game faces on as they begin their first match in the Valley Oak League Doubles Tournament at East Union Thursday.

HIME ROMERO/The Bulletin

POSTED May 8, 2009 2:03 a.m.
Arnie Morales and Yassen Aniss combined forces on the doubles court for the first time this season Thursday at East Union High and the result was magic, as the duo took down Sonora’s Eric Segerstrom and Luke Bergen, 6-4, 7-5, in the Valley Oak League doubles championship match.

The doubles title was the second of Aniss’ career, and the first for Morales, who had never picked up a tennis racket prior to three years ago.

“It was a big jump for me. Last year I wasn’t even on varsity,” Morales said. “Now I’m a VOL Tournament champion, so it feels good.”

Aniss and Morales experienced their toughest competition in the semifinals when they faced teammates Alex Barragan and Alex McAdams and won a marathon, 6-4, 6-7, 10-7.

Morales and Barragan had played every match up to Thursday together.

“It was really tough playing them,” Morales said. “They’re your friends and teammates, but you have to play them hard. On the court, they’re not teammates anymore, but it was tough.”

When Aniss and Morales met Segerstrom and Bergen in the final, the Buffaloes were not to be denied.

“I told everyone, ‘I’m not graduating senior year without making sections and winning this tournament,” Aniss said. “We knew that if we weren’t pumped up (in the final), we weren’t going to play well. We won the first set and that gave us a lot of confidence.

“We realized that if it went to a third set it was going to be very intense, so we had to take it in the second.”

Said Manteca head coach Frank Fontana: “It was a great way to end it for Yassen – a perfect cap to his career. For Arnie, someone who hadn’t played tennis prior his sophomore year, and was a role player on the team last year, to end it as a champion just shows you that hard work does pay off.”

Sierra High’s Doug Marks and Kevin Rausa finished third overall after downing an exhausted Barragan and McAdams in the consolation championship.

“It feels good, but I wanted first,” Marks said with a chuckle. “We had a bye, we had a good bracket. It’s good playing with Kevin, I love that kid, he’s a really strong server and his forehand is really good.”

The match was Marks’ final at Sierra High, but Rausa will return as the T’Wolves’ No. 1 a year from now and will be a league favorite to contend for the singles championship.

Aniss and Morales are now headed to the Sac-Joaquin Section Division II doubles championships Thursday at Johnson Ranch Racket Club in Roseville.

As a team, Manteca is headed to the D-II playoffs Tuesday in Woodland where it will meet Pioneer.

Ceres’ Luis Ochoa defeated Sonora’s Vicente Mosso in straight sets Thursday to claim the VOL singles championship.
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