Frank Fontana encourages his Manteca High boys tennis players to embrace pressure, and on Tuesday they responded with a 7-2 win over visiting Weston Ranch to secure sole possession of the Valley Oak League championship.
The Buffaloes (13-0, 16-4 overall) cap the regular season Thursday against Sonora at home.
“Pressure is a privilege,” Fontana said. “The fact that you get to play in a match that means something, you have to rise to the occasion. We definitely did.”
The league championship is Manteca’s fourth in Fontana’s seven years as head coach, and the Buffaloes clinched an outright share in dominating fashion against the second-place Cougars. They claimed five of the six singles matches to guarantee victory early, while two of the three doubles pairs contributed wins.
“We played awesome today with the league title on the line,” Fontana said. “To play our best tennis in a pressure situation is what we’ve talked about all year. We executed perfectly.
“Our first five singles guys collectively had probably one of the best days they’ve had all year.
Oral Nunis coasted past Carl Legaspi at No. 1 singles, 6-0, 6-1. Michael Lopez prevailed in the No. 2 match 6-0, 6-3, while Yok-Jing Ma (6-0, 6-2) and Chris Kloska (6-1, 6-4) were just as impressive at 4 and 5.
The big match in Fontana’s eyes was the No. 3 matchup between Jacob Webb and Weston Ranch’s Kevin Yamayoshi. Webb came through, 7-6 (8-6), 7-5.
“That was a big swing match,” Fontana said. “The last time they played it was a close match. Kevin Yamayoshi is a good player, and I thought if we could win that match I’d feel pretty good about how we’d do as a team.”
Weston Ranch’s Ray Lagoc defeated Jorge Sierra at No. 6 singles, 7-6 (7-5), 3-6, 6-3. The Cougars also scored at No. 2 doubles with Arjun Singh and Ion Ibiso coming out on top, 6-4, 3-6, 10-8.
For Manteca, Alex Vazquez and Sam Dhaliwal won 6-4, 7-6 (7-1); and Izham Reger and Puneet Sandhu were victorious, 6-4, 6-2.
“We switched our doubles teams up for the last few matches and I think we found the right combinations that work,” Fontana said.
Tuesday’s win was especially special for Nunis, one of five seniors on the regular lineup and the only player to be a part of Manteca’s last championship run in 2010.
“It’s nice to be able to go out with a championship,” he said. “Now we just want to go undefeated. I also want to beat (Sonora’s) Josh Smith, that’s my inspiration for our next match. He’s undefeated and we had a close match last time.”
East Union 8, Lathrop 1
Ivan Alegado came up with Lathrop’s lone point with a 6-2, 6-3 win at Manteca Regional Tennis Center.
East Union’s Jean Francois Moortgat won the most competitive match, edging Roosevelt Theodele 6-4, 5-7, 10-8 at No. 2 singles.
Also winning for the Lancers were: No. 3 singles Tyler Bertao (7-6, 6-1), No. 4 singles Arturo Leon (forfeit), No. 5 singles Raymund Martinez (6-0, 6-0), No. 6 singles Josh Kolkmann (6-1, 6-1), No. 1 doubles Alex Del Real and Wayne Cheung (6-2, 6-3), No. 2 doubles Chris Herrera and Chris Marlow (6-1, 6-0) and No. 3 doubles Augi Mendoza and Pedro Garcia (forfeit).