MERCED — Coming off back-to-back Valley Oak League losses in regular-season play, Manteca opened the Sac-Joaquin Section Division VI team tennis playoffs Monday with a resounding 6-3 victory over Merced.
“It was one of our better matches this season,” Manteca coach Frank Fontana said. It also marked the the return to the postseason for the Buffaloes (9-5), who narrowly missed a berth in 2018 after 11 straight appearances.
Seeded fifth, Manteca had its way with the Central California Conference’s runner-up team. The No. 4 Bears were no match for the Buffaloes’ experienced singles ladder anchored at the top by seniors Solman Aniss and Kurtis Ma.
Aniss shut out Jesus Nunez 6-0, 6-0, while Ma vanquished Jaymes Meister, 6-1, 6-1. No. 4 player Harshawn Singh got the better of Brian Garcia 6-4, 6-2 after a rough start. Nick Pio swept Fernando Hernandez 6-1, 6-0, and Kayson Neduvakkattu cruised past Victor Leon, 6-1, 6-1.
Merced’s lone singles win came from No. 3 David Check, who warded off Ryan Foo, 6-3, 6-4.
Manteca’s Kevin Lin and Ravpreet Grewal took the No. 1 doubles match 6-0, 5-7, 6-1 against Daniel Chen and Brendan Chambers. The third doubles team of Spencer Ogden and Julian Gosal fell short against MaxZimmerman and Omar Moreno, 3-6, 6-4, 8-10. Kiersten Melan and Jordan Navales lost to Alexander Nzirmasan and Jacob Butler, 4-6, 1-6.
“Our singles played really well,” Fontana said. “It was an outstanding performance by those guys. We need another effort like this in Friday’s section semifinals. Every match is going to be tough and we need to stay focused for the entire match.”
Fontana anticipates a trip to top-seeded Mountain House on Friday. The Mustangs’ first-round match against No. 8 West Campus was not posted as of press time.