Sierra gave Manteca its toughest challenge in Valley Oak League play on Thursday, but the result was the same as the last.
The Buffaloes rolled to an 8-1 victory that extends their lead atop the standings. Now 10-0, Manteca (12-1 overall), is two wins away from securing at least a share of its second straight VOL crown. Their remaining opponents have all lost 9-0 in previous meetings with the Buffaloes.
“Sierra improved tremendously from the first match to this match,” Manteca coach MaryAnn Tolbert said. “Makenna (Condit) was saying that it was the best match she’s played this year and that it felt good to be able to hit with somebody that was strong. It was the best thing we could have asked for today to get a preview for the playoffs.”
Condit was among Manteca’s winners, defeating Melanie Nguyen, 6-2, 6-4. It was overall a marathon of a match at Manteca Regional Tennis Center, lasting close to four hours. The lengthy battles up and down the ladder is an indication of how competitive it was.
“The score does not reflect it, but the reality is that every match was close except for No. 1 doubles,” Sierra coach Ed Melfort said. “Credit to Manteca, they were the better team and are very well coached, and it shows experience really helps. I have a lot of freshmen and sophomores playing crucial spots in the lineup.”
Sierra freshman Ellie Kim took Manteca senior Taylor Corona, the Buffaloes’ top player on last year’s Sac-Joaquin Section Division III championship team, to three sets before falling, 6-2, 7-5, 10-4.
The second-place Timberwolves (8-2) got their only point from sophomore standout Kaitlyn Rausa, who topped Julia Tang 7-5, 6-2 at No. 1 singles to remain unbeaten in league.
“Julia played a wonderful match today,” Tolbert said. “I love that those two can go at each other and battle like that. Kaitlyn is a great player, and she really brings out the best in Julia.”
Stephanie Mercardo provided Manteca with the clinching point after injuring an ankle early in the No. 6 singles matchup with Sydney Hyunh. Her 4-1 lead in the opening set turned into a 4-5 deficit, and she came back to prevail, 7-5, 6-0.
“I did not think she was going to finish the match up,” Tolbert said. “Sure enough, she went out there and worked so hard to win that first set and just put it away in the second set. I know she was in a lot of pain, but she toughed it out because she knew at that time we needed it.”
In other singles matches, Koryn Menasco downed Nadia Petrovic 6-2, 6-2, and Sahiba Kaur held off Natlie Rootsaert, 6-2, 7-6 (3).
The No. 1 doubles match didn’t last as long as the rest, as Rav Dhillon and Navinna Mann soared to a 6-0, 6-2 sweep. Juliane Eavenson and Kaileah Johannson won, 6-2, 6-2. Manteca’s No. 3 tandem of Noeli Mercado and Melissa Poncini outlasted Alyssa Patterson and Jasmine Sebastian, 7-4, 8-6.
Manteca will take next week off and next heads to Kimball on Oct. 16. Sierra hosts Weston Ranch next Tuesday.
Oakdale 6, East Union 3
The Lancers won all three doubles matches.
Hailey Gosney and Nadia Cardona squeaked out a 4-6, 6-4, 7-6 victory over Shannon Yang and Cailie Raiden. Nicole Bueno and Carmen Tantaros swept at No. 2 doubles, 6-3, 6-3. At No. 3 doubles, twin sisters Julia and Gianna Telles knocked off Megann Pierson and Allison Koelmons, 7-5, 6-4.