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East Union, Manteca notch big wins
East Union No. 1 singles tennis player Sean Hilscher returns a shot to Sierra No. 2 Adrian Prieto during a Valley Oak League match at Union Road Tennis Courts Tuesday. East Union prevailed 9-6 to improve to 2-0. - photo by JONAMAR JACINTO
Just two contests into the season, East Union’s boys tennis team has already matched its Valley Oak League win total from a year ago.

One day after beating defending champion Sonora via tiebreaker, the Lancers edged out crosstown rival Sierra 9-6 Tuesday at Union Road Tennis Courts.

“Sonora beat Sierra (last week), so I knew that after we beat Sonora we had a good opportunity to get another one,” East Union coach Ron Bylow said. “But you have to earn it. It was a very good match. I thought Sierra did an excellent job, and they are very well coached.”

East Union overcame the dominant play of Kevin Rausa, who coasted past previously undefeated Sean Hilscher (6-2) and Ricky Peloso (6-1) while defeating Steve Shepherd (1-6).

The big-hitting Hilscher and Peloso handily won their other sets as expected and combined to lose just a single game, but Shepherd’s 6-1 and 6-2 wins over Adrian Prieto and John-Alan Hewitt, respectively, were key.

Shepherd is trying to lock down EU’s No. 3 singles spot, and he made his case Tuesday.

“Steve did not play in our match against Sonora,” Bylow said. “We knew that we were probably not going to get a (team) point off their No. 1 singles because he’s that good, so we told our No. 3 to get us at least a point. The two he got made the difference.”

Another difference-maker was EU’s doubles tandem of Chris Garcia and Matt Eichsteadt, who missed Monday’s match with an illness.
They recorded pivotal points by grinding out a 11-10 (10-7 tiebreaker) win over Sierra’s Josh Weiland and Forrest Tolman in the battle of No. 1’s. The Garcia-Eichsteadt team capped its day with an easy 10-2 victory.

“We were tied up at that point, and we told our No. 1 doubles team that they had to pull it out for us and they did,” Bylow said. “It was back and forth all the way through and it could have gone either way. Having Matt back today was huge.”

Weiland and Tolman shut out Jordan Concepcion and Ariel Rosette. Sierra’s No. 2 of Oliver Wood and Greg Blockinger rounded out scoring for Sierra with a 10-8 victory.

East Union will look to make it three straight at Weston Ranch Thursday, while Sierra (0-2) takes on Central Valley in Ceres.

Manteca 8.5, Ceres 6.5
Manteca coach Frank Fontana said Ceres was going to be one of the teams to beat this year. Another one is Oakdale, which hosts Fontana’s Buffaloes (2-0) Thursday.

“We have a tough week,” he said.

So he was glad the team got the first one out of the way Tuesday. The victory hinged on No. 2 doubles Xavier Lopez and Marcus Munoz’s 11-10 (7-5) upset over Ceres’ No. 1 Raul Massie and Gurman Bains in the final set of the day. Lopez and Munoz failed to clinch it in regulation when they were ahead 9-6, and the tiebreaker was knotted at 5 before they won the final two points.

The match ended with barely enough daylight left.

“I was not expecting that victory,” Fontana admitted, “but they handled (the pressure) very well. It was only their second VOL match ever, and they showed the mental toughness that we needed them to have.”
Lopez and Munoz won their first match, 10-0. Max Angelo and Oral Nunis beat Ceres’ No. 2 10-5 but were edged out by Massie and Bains, 8-10.

Winning three out of the four doubles sets were huge for the Buffaloes. Alex Barragan picked up a key 7-6 win in the No. 2 singles match-up and beat Ceres’ No. 3 6-0. Alex McAdams (6-1) and Mark Leon (7-5) each contributed a win.

Ceres No. 1 Luis Ochoa, the defending VOL singles champion, yielded a single game in his three sets.

Oakdale 13, W. Ranch 2
OAKDALE — Satinger Singh picked up a big 6-3 win over Oakdale’s No. 1, Blake Dunn, and later defeated Daniel Dunning 6-4 for Weston Ranch’s only points.

The Cougars (0-2, 1-2 overall) were closer to beating Oakdale (3-0, 6-1) than the final score indicates. Singh dropped a 4-6 heartbreaker to No. 2 Robby Earle, who won another close one 7-5 against Chris Legaspi.

In doubles, No. 1 Kevin Yamayoshi and Jovincent Legaspi lost 9-11, and Itsui Yamayoshi and Serbinder Singh dropped an 8-10 decision.
— Jonamar Jacinto