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Aniss, Morales go 2-0 on Day 1, advance to semis
Yassen Aniss and playing partner Arnie Moraleswent 2-0 Thursday at the Sac-Joaquin Section Division II doubles tournament. - photo by Bulletin file photo
ROSEVILLE — Apparently, the Valley Oak League isn’t the section whipping post any longer.

Proving that those south of Sacramento can play a little tennis too, Manteca High’s Arnie Morales and Yassen Aniss, the unseeded VOL champion, went 2-0 Thursday at Johnson Ranch Racquet Club, earning a spot in today’s Sac-Joaquin Section Division II doubles tournament semifinals.

First up Thursday was a 6-2, 6-1 win over Solano County Athletic Conference champions Josh Ruben and Hyung Phouasalit of Benicia.

Morales and Aniss didn’t hit their stride until the third set of a quarterfinal match against Capital Athletic Conference champions and No. 2 seed Derek Thatcher and Cameron Archie of Bella Vista.

Thatcher and Archie took the first set 7-5, and were a point away from taking a 5-2 advantage in the second set before Aniss and Morales kicked it into gear.

“That was the turning point,” Manteca head coach Frank Fontana said. “They steamrolled from there.”

Manteca’s top duo went on to claim the next three games, and a 6-3 second set win, before claiming the win with a 6-4 third set.

“If they play (today) the way they played in the third set (Thursday), they could very well end up in the finals,” Fontana said.

Up first for Morales and Aniss will be a semifinal match with Pioneer’s No. 3 seed, Allen Toscano and Oscar Figueroa.

Aniss is abundantly familiar with Toscano, having beaten him in the SJS D-II team playoffs Tuesday in Woodland.

“The VOL has been getting more respect the last three years,” Fontana said. “Now they know that we have some players.”

If Manteca does reach the finals this afternoon, they will likely take on No. 1 Oak Ridge, but could also face No. 4 Del Oro, or Sonora’s unseeded tandem of Eric Segerstrom and Luke Bergen.

Aniss and Morales defeated Segerstrom and Bergen in straight sets to claim the VOL championship.

Play starts at 11 a.m. today in Roseville.
— Brandon Petersen