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Buffaloes season ends with close loss to Pioneer
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WOODLAND — In a rematch of last season’s Sac-Joaquin Section Division II first round, Pioneer of Woodland exacted a little revenge on the Manteca Buffaloes Tuesday, claiming a 5-4 victory.

The loss means that Manteca’s team season has come to a close, but two players, Yassen Aniss and Arnie Morales, will move on to the section individual doubles tournament Thursday at the Johnson Ranch Racquet Club in Roseville.

Aniss led the Buffaloes Tuesday with a 7-6, 3-6, 6-0 win in the No. 1 match.
No. 6 Oral Nunis (6-3, 6-2), and No. 5 Alex Barragan (6-2, 6-1) also picked up wins on the singles docket.

In doubles play, Xavier Lopez and Brandon Sullivan won, 6-2, 6-1, for the Buffaloes’ fourth point.

“The ball just didn’t bounce our way today,” Manteca head coach Frank Fontana said. “But we have nine of the 12 back next season, and if they put in the offseason work, who knows how far they can go.”

Manteca just missed a win in the No. 3 doubles match, as Joseph Brandi and Josh Mariscal, playing in their first match ever, fell 4-6, 7-6, 10-12 in a tiebreaker.

No. 1 doubles duo Kyle Morton and Max Angelo also came up just short, falling 1-6, 7-6, 6-8 in a tiebreaker.

“It was an extremely close match from start to finish,” Fontana said. “I couldn’t ask for more. Pioneer (9 seniors) definitely had the experience factor on their side, and they were able to pull out a couple of tiebreakers.”

Marc Leon (4-6, 0-6), Alex McAdams (4-6, 6-2, 2-6) and Morales (4-6, 6-2, 1-6) all fell in the singles play.

“Our format (VOL plays three singles and two doubles) hurt us once again,” Fontana said. “Arnie played doubles all season, and now he has to step in and play singles. But there are a lot of positives to take out of it. The three seniors played tough. Kyle was sick but still was able to gut it out.”

Manteca qualified for the playoffs for the third consecutive season after finishing runner-up to Sonora in the VOL regular season.

Aniss, Morales and Morton are Manteca’s three graduating seniors.
— Brandon Petersen