Depth helped Manteca High’s boys tennis team go undefeated for a Valley Oak League title this season.
That depth was again showcased this week in the VOL Tournament.
On Friday, Oral Nunis needed three sets to down freshman teammate Michael Lopez in the final round of the singles bracket, while Jacob Webb and Yok-Jing Ma coasted through five rounds of action for the doubles title.
“What a great day,” Manteca coach Frank Fontana said. “You can’t ask for much more than that in one day of tennis. It’s a nice way to cap an outstanding (league) season.”
The singles tournament began Tuesday at Kimball High of Tracy, where Nunis and Lopez secured their spots in the championship round. Lopez staggered the elder Nunis, a four-year player and the team’s captain, with a stunning 6-0 result in the first set.
Nunis battled to take extend the match in the second, winning 7-6 before prevailing 6-2 in the third.
“I’m not going to lie, I played kind of scared,” Nunis said. “It’s hard playing against a teammate. I felt like I was expected to win that, but after a while I just relaxed and played my game.
“It was kind of hard playing against a teammate for the title,” he added. “Either way, I knew the singles title was coming to Manteca. It feels good to be the champion. Michael has time to get his.”
Webb and Ma endured far less stress — if any — en route to their title run. The duo of underclassmen came in with confidence despite having to face the top two singles players from other squads. Webb, a sophomore, was slotted at No. 3 singles during the regular season, and his freshman partner was the No. 4.
“I thought we had a fair chance,” Webb said. “We both played well today, very well at the net and very aggressive. We just put everything together.”
After a first-round bye, the Buffalo tandem defeated Weston Ranch’s Carl Legaspi and Sukhman Singh, 8-2. They then tangled with the Kimball pair of Beau Lawrence and Marco Tello and won, 6-1, 6-2.
In the semifinals, Webb and Ma defeated Oakdale’s Paul Perrone and Jared Firstbrook, 6-1, 6-2, setting up a final-round showdown with Sonora’s Josh Smith and Andrew Klatt.
Smith went undefeated in VOL team dual matches and was the No. 1-seeded player for the singles tournament. He was upset by Lopez in the opening round.
Smith would again come away empty handed on Friday, as Ma and Webb cruised to a 6-1, 6-4 victory.
“I thought going into it that we had the team that should win the tournament, and anything less would have been a disappointment — I said that to them afterwards,” Fontana said. “The way they executed and dominated their opponents showed that they were the team to beat. There was never a moment of true stress.”
The Buffaloes have a busy week coming up.
First is the Sac-Joaquin Section Division II Team Tennis Tournament that begins next Monday. Weston Ranch, the No. 2 squad out of the VOL, hosts Christian Brothers in the first round. Manteca gets a free pass to the second round and faces the River Valley-Rocklin winner on Tuesday.
Thursday is the first day of the SJS Individual Tennis Tournament, which takes place at the Johnson Ranch Racquet Club in Roseville. The finalists of the VOL’s singles and doubles tournaments qualify.
“To have four out of the six guys in league come out of one team is pretty impressive,” Fontana said.