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Manteca pair loses controversial semifinal, settles for 3rd in VOL
Manteca Highs Elizabeth Tolbert returns a volley as doubles partner Sealy McAdams looks on during the Valley Oak League Tournament third-place match Thursday at East Union. - photo by HIME ROMERO/The Bulletin

Sealy McAdams and Elizabeth Tolbert’s last two matches in Thursday’s Valley Oak League Doubles Tournament held at East Union had entirely different endings.

In the third-place contest, the Manteca tandem went out in style with McAdams’ demonstrative overhead winner, punctuating a 6-3, 6-3 victory over top-seeded Sierra duo Annie and Claire Banks. Meanwhile, the championship match — one the Manteca pair felt it should have competed in — between Central Catholic and Kimball teams raged on.

Kimball’s Kylie Moxley and Viel Salgarino denied the No. 2-seeded Buffaloes a berth to the Sac-Joaquin Section Division II Individual Tournament and a shot at the VOL doubles title with their hotly-contested 6-4, 1-6, 7-6 (8-6) win in the semifinals. The deciding tiebreaker ended in controversy. Tolbert whacked a backhand volley down the line on the final point, but the shot was called out by the Jaguars players.

“It was clearly on the line and it was called out,” McAdams said. “What’s done is done.”

The consolation prize was winning third place at the expense of a rival school, but with only the singles and doubles finalists advancing to the section tournament the match lacked some competitive luster.

“It’s my senior year so I was just looking to have fun and get redemption, I guess,” McAdams said. “It was nice to win the last match, especially against the No. 1-ranked team.”

After a first-round bye, McAdams and Tolbert knocked off Central Catholic’s Rosella Rangel and Marissa Lopez 8-6 to set up an all-Buffalo quarterfinal. On the other end of the court were teammates Katie Inderbitzin and Lejla Pepic, who competed well but dropped a 6-7 (3-7), 3-6 decision to McAdams/Tolbert.

Sierra’s Banks sisters started well. They outsted East Union’s Fabiola Magana and Jenna Zuniga 8-4 before cruising past Manteca’s Julia Saling and Fechi Nkwocha, 6-3, 6-0. Eventual champions Faith Masellis and Emma Withrow, the No. 4 seed representing Central Catholic, knocked the Bankses into the third-place match with a 6-4, 6-4 triumph.

Annie Banks, a senior and the elder of the two siblings, finished third in the VOL singles tournament on Tuesday. She and Claire competed as doubles partners for the first time.

“Of course I was disappointed with losing the last two, that definitely wasn’t what was planned,” Annie said. “But third place wouldn’t have gotten us to sections anyway. Obviously, it would have been better to go out with a win but that’s OK. It was really fun playing with my sister.”

It was a big week for Central Catholic, the VOL’s regular-season team champion. Three of the four total finalists were Raiders, as Payton Kelley and Amie Ardis met in the singles title match Thursday. Kelley prevailed, 4-6, 6-2, 6-0.The seventh-seeded Ardis upset No. 3 Annie Banks 7-6 (7-4), 7-5 in what was the most competitive singles match on Tuesday. Masellis/Withrow defeated Moxley/Salgarino, 6-3, 7-5 to seize the doubles crown.

The SJS Division II Individual Tournament takes place Nov. 6-7 at Roseville’s Johnson Ranch Racquet Club. The VOL’s top-three teams — Central Catholic, Manteca, Oakdale — are competing in the SJS Division III Team Tennis Tournament starting with the out-bracket match between Oakdale and the Tri-County Conference third-place team on Nov. 3 Manteca opens postseason play on the road against the TCC champion on Nov. 4.