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Manteca earns 1st playoff win since 2008
Manteca Highs Gino Mercado puts away an overhead smash as doubles partner Nick Lopez-Ellis looks on. - photo by JONAMAR JACINTO

Manteca High’s boys tennis team ended a four-year slide in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division-II playoffs with Monday’s commanding 8-1 victory over Western Athletic Conference No. 3 seed Livingston at Manteca Regional Tennis Center.

The Buffaloes are now 2-6 in the postseason since 2007. Their last playoff victory came in 2008, when they blasted Pioneer, 8-1.

“It was a nice, solid day — a good win. A win is a win in the playoffs, and we don’t have many of those,” Manteca coach Frank Fontana said. “We’re happy to advance and we’ll see what we can do. We’re definitely improving overall as a team, so maybe we can do something special tomorrow.”

Manteca heads to Sacramento today to take on Capital Athletic League champion Mira Loma, which was awarded a first-round bye. As CAL runners-up a year ago, the Matadors won two matches and reached the quarterfinal round where they fell to eventual section champion Del Oro, 7-2.

“We played them in 2008 and beat them 6-3 in the preseason,” Fontana said. “I know the coach and he runs a quality program. Win and advance, that’s the only objective now.”

Manteca, the third-place team out of the Valley Oak League, hardly broke sweat in Monday’s opener, clinching it before the doubles teams took the courts. Mike Lopez and Yok Jing Ma set the tone with routine win in the No. 1 and 2 singles matches. Lopez took down Jacob Mercado 6-1, 6-2, and Ma drubbed Edgar Mejia, 6-0, 6-1.

Alex Vazquez (6-2, 6-3), Puneet Sandhu (6-4, 6-2) and Spencer Jackson (6-2, 6-1) also came through with straight-set victories. Thomas Reza played in the only three-set match of the day, beating Livingston’s Salvador Cortez, 6-4, 3-6, 6-0.

Livingston’s lone point came from No. 1 doubles, as Juan Montanez and Rolando Chavez came back from an 0-5 deficit in the first set to down Angel Tejada and Andre Wiggins, 7-5, 6-3.

Nick Lopez-Ellis and Gino Mercado claimed the No. 2 match, 6-0, 6-4. Edvin Pepic and Yahya Shabbar dominated, 6-0, 6-0.