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Ziakas grabs clutch win in Mantecas first victory
EU No. 1 tandem Shalane Jackson (left) and Klasey Kachalkin share a laugh during their match with Manteca’s Rochele Perez and Analy Cervantes. - photo by BRANDON PETERSEN
After a heartbreaking loss to Weston Ranch a week ago, the Manteca High tennis team came out Tuesday at home intent on turning its fortunes.

Thanks to two clutch victories — a Lexi Ziakas 6-4 win over Olivia Tanguileg, and Analy Cervantes and Rochele Perez’ 10-4 win over Ciara Jones and Kimberly Paulson — Manteca earned their first win of the year, 8.5-6.5, over East Union.

Not only was the win Manteca’s first of 2009, it was also the Buffaloes first Valley Oak League victory in three seasons.

“The seniors that are playing this year have been with me since they were sophomores,” Manteca head coach Mary Ann Tolbert said. “They have always played hard, but have always come up a little short.

“They are a wonderful group of girls, and I am so proud of them for the win they were able to get today.”

With the near miss at Weston Ranch, and now the first win of the year, it appears as though the Buffaloes are on the right track.

East Union’s No. 1 Meagan McCleary upended Ziakas 6-2, but Ziakas was able to rebound to beat the Lancers No. 2 Shanae Haroldson, 6-3.

Manteca No. 2 Jasmine Sandhu, a sophomore, was phenomenal in the win, sweeping her way to 6-1, 6-1 and 6-2 wins, while No. 3 Hilary Coleman wasn’t too bad herself, turning in a pair of wins, 6-3 and 6-3, before falling to McCleary, 4-6.

“We are very excited about Jasmine,” Tolbert said. “She is improving every match.”

East Union’s super duo of Shalane Jackson and Klasey Kachalkin were not to be denied, however, as the tandem swept 10-2, 10-0, to further their reputation as one of the league’s up-and-coming best.

Manteca’s No. 2 duo, Amy Kaur and Maria Svadora fell to Jones and Paulson, 4-10.

“We may not win league or win every match, but we are going to surprise a few teams this year,” Tolbert said.  

Manteca travels to Tracy to take on first-year Kimball this afternoon.

Ceres 8.5, Sierra 6.5
It was another close loss for Arabella Whitlock’s crew Tuesday at East Union High, but the T’Wolves didn’t go without a few highlights.

Jena Anderson and Stephanie Vanni continued their dominance, breezing through the Bulldogs doubles with a pair of 10-0 drubbings.

“I’m really excited about Stephanie and Jena,” Whitlock said. “We found the team at the end of last year, we thought they would be strong and they have been.  Hopefully they can go undefeated this season, that’s the goal.”

Ann McFerran picked up a 6-2 win in singles play, and Vannida Nguyen won a match, 6-4.

Kayla Erion and Kelly Fuentes impressed as well, winning 10-7, before dropping a close one, 7-10.

Sierra heads to Central Valley Thursday.

— Brandon Petersen