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Sierra serves up revenge

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Sierra serves up revenge

Sierra’s No. 1 singles player Raymond Bailon sends a backhand over the net during a league matchup against host East Union on Thursday.

JOHN-JOEL GRIFFITHS/The Bulletin


POSTED April 5, 2013 2:19 a.m.

The Sierra High boys tennis team has earned the right to rest.

Rivalry week was a grind.

The Timberwolves won their second match in as many days, this one a 5-4 decision at East Union under cloudy skies.

Sierra began the week with a shutout loss to Manteca, but rebounded with victories over fellow Manteca Unified schools Lathrop and East Union.

Thursday’s triumph wasn’t without suspense, though.

The match went down to the last pairing, a standoff at the No. 3 doubles court.

Jonathan Weatherby and Enrique Salgado held off Derek Souza and Jesus Leon, winning in straight sets to secure the decisive point. Their match featured a first set tiebreaker.

“I thought we played competitive. Our third doubles team was a doubles team that hadn’t played much together, so we had to mix things up a little bit,” East Union coach Ron Bylow said. “Had they played a little more things might have been different.

“But that’s no excuse. Sierra beat us.”

The difference was in doubles play. Sierra and East Union split the singles competition, each earning three points.

The Lancers’ top singles players Luke Macias and Mitchell Liwanag posted identical 6-1, 7-5 victories, and No. 4 Kevin Flores won a nip-and-tuck contest  6-4, 7-6 to give the Lancers early momentum.

However, Jose Fausto, Chris Rodriguez and Luis Gonzalez drew Sierra even, putting the fate of this Valley Oak League tussle on the pairs.

The Timberwolves separated themselves – by the slimmest of margins – taking two of the three doubles matches.

Raul Duenas and Marco Mata accounted for East Union’s only doubles point, dispatching Josh Simpalco and Allen Len 6-3, 6-4.

Sierra’s Jonelle Alcantara and Laic Beugre set the mood for the final faceoff, tying the team score at 4-all with a 6-3, 6-2 victory.

Weatherby and Salgado were up to the task, pulling away from East Union’s new-look unit 7-6, 6-3.

“It never did get to a third set,” Bylow said, “but it was touch and go for a little bit.”

Bylow thought his team, as young and inexperienced as they are, would squeak out a victory.

Instead, East Union (3-7) absorbed its seventh loss in conference duals.

“I thought with the singles wins, all we needed to do was pick up two points (in doubles),” he said. “I was hoping we could pick up a couple more, but it didn’t end up working out for us today. I’m proud of the guys; they played hard.

“The kids are improving. Hopefully, some of these tough losses will help us keep improving.”

Sierra finds itself in the same position, a program in transition under head coach Vanessa Weeks.

And it appears the Timberwolves have learned from their mistakes and missteps early in the season. Thursday’s victory atoned for a 5-4 loss to East Union in their first meeting.

“My hats off to Sierra. They were just a little bit better than us,” Bylow said. “The better team definitely won.”

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