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Manteca tops Lathrop in VOL opener

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Manteca tops Lathrop in VOL opener

Manteca’s Spencer Jackson gets aggressive with this shot against Lathrop No. 5 Ben Hoang.


POSTED March 5, 2014 1:37 a.m.

Manteca High’s boys tennis team is looking to reclaim the throne in the Valley Oak League.

Tuesday’s 8-1 win over Lathrop was a nice way to start. Lathrop hosted what ended up being the season opener for both squads at the Manteca Regional Tennis Center. The VOL’s originally-scheduled openers were washed out last Friday, and any attempts to make them up were also postponed.

“It was overall a solid start to our season,” Manteca coach Frank Fontana said. “We haven’t been able to be on the courts since last Thursday, so there was some rust in the beginning of the matches.”

Returning standouts Yok-Jing Ma (6-2, 6-1) and Mike Lopez (6-0, 6-2) dominated the No. 1 and 2 matches, respectively. Gino Mercado edged out Lathrop’s Jared Palma 6-3, 4-6, 7-5 in the third singles match. Thomas Reza (6-1, 6-1) and Spencer Jackson (6-2, 6-1) also prevailed for the Buffaloes. Lathrop scored its lone point at the No. 6 spot, where Albert Hoang defeated Edvin Pepic, 6-4, 6-4.

Manteca rolled through the doubles contests with the Alex Vazquez-Kyle Thornburg (6-0, 6-1), Yok-Ehy Ma-Nolan Osborn (6-0, 6-2) and Yayha Shabbar-Christian Plares (6-1, 6-1) tandems doing the damage.

“I was really excited at how well our doubles played today,” Fontana said. “They don’t have much experience, and to see them perform so well is great for our team. Last year, doubles was a weakness for us against other teams.”

Manteca returns to action today at home against crosstown rival Sierra.

“The guys want to improve on last year’s third-place season, so this was a good start,” said Fontana, who led the Buffaloes to four VOL titles in his previous eight seasons. “The bar is high at our school. We will have to see what happens.”

Oakdale 5, Sierra 4

The Timberwolves nearly started their season on a high note at Oakdale but came up short on several closely-contested matches, including Keegan D’Souza’s 6-7 (4-7), 4-6 loss to Josh Niendorf in the battle of No. 1s. There were other tight ones that ended in two sets at No. 3 and 4 singles and No. 2 doubles.

Sierra’s No. 3 Mark Paule came out on top in the most exciting match of the day. He downed Daniel Lubeck 6-7 (6-8), 6-2, 7-6 (9-7) after grinding through two tiebreakers.

Adam Searle (6-2, 6-0) and Anthony Alcantar (6-2, 4-6, 7-5) also factored into the scoring for the Timberwolves. Twins Alex and Allen Len won 6-1, 7-5 at No. 1 doubles.

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