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EU opens season with win over defending champs
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The East Union High tennis team’s delayed start to the Valley Oak League season ended up being worth the wait.

The Lancers knocked off defending champion Sonora, which graduated much of his top players, 8-7 at home Monday.

The match actually ended in a 7.5-7.5 draw, but the home team prevailed via tiebreaker by winning more games (72-66).

“Last year we won two matches in league, and to get a win on our first match is a good momentum builder for us,” East Union coach Ron Bylow said.

East Union had a chance to score the victory without the tiebreaker. Its makeshift No. 1 doubles team of Steve Shepherd and Chris Garcia engaged in a heated battle with Sonora’s No. 2 tandem of Ben Bates and Austin Poe.

The Lancer duo was up 10-9 but ended up losing 10-11 (5-7 tiebreaker).

Garcia’s regular partner, Matt Eichsteadt, with whom he teamed with all last season, was out to sickness. Garcia and Shepherd dropped a one-sided 1-10 match to Ricky Howard and Daniel Bayuk but found their groove in their second contest.

“Chris and Steve never played together before,” Bylow said. “It took them a match to get a feel for each other, and they came out and performed much better in the second match.”

East Union got most of its points from its top two singles players, Sean Hilscher and Ricky Peloso. Hilscher coasted to 6-3, 6-1, 6-0 wins, while Peloso prevailed 6-4, 6-3, 6-0.

“I knew we would be pretty close because of our singles play,” Bylow said. “Sean and Ricky played great and were very steady.”

No. 3 singles player Marcos Aleman lost all of his sets, but with the team tiebreaker in effect his tightly-contested 5-7 loss to Sonora No. 2 Floyd Jaggy provided a boost.

The No. 2 doubles team of Jordan Conception and Ariel Rosette scored the rest of East Union’s points with a 10-5 win.

East Union will next face rival Sierra today at the Union Road Courts.

Manteca 5, Hughson 1

HUGHSON — Manteca (5-2), fresh off its title-winning effort in its own Buffalo Cup, stretched its non-league winning streak but lost its goalkeeper.

Sophomore Jimi Guibor picked up two first-half saves but went to the hospital at halftime after breaking a pinkie. Brittany Costa filled in nicely in the second half, recording three saves while not allowing a goal.

“It’s never good to lose your goalie like that, and she’s been playing so well,” Manteca coach Justin Coenenberg said. “Last I heard she was not going to have a cast on it, so hopefully we can get her back sooner than later.”

Airenne Curry and Jessica Reeder made sure the loss of their keeper wouldn’t play a factor in the outcome. Curry blasted in three goals, and Reeder contributed three assists.

Rileigh Mankin and freshman Sammie Morris each chipped in a goal.

Manteca has a tough week ahead with Cosumnes Oaks and Lincoln visiting the next two days.

Lodi 3, Sierra 1

Gini Kelsey accounted for all of the visiting Flames’ goals in the first half. Stephanie Vanni punched in Sierra’s lone goal in the 76th minute off a feed from Kenisha Gathron.

Sierra goalie Moriah Fallon stopped a penalty kick for the second straight match, but Kelsey’s first-half barrage was too much for the Timberwolves to overcome.

Sierra will close the first of three home-and-away rounds in the Champions Cup, which consists mostly of teams from the Division-I San Joaquin Athletic Association and Tri-City Athletic League, at Lodi Wednesday.

“In the second half we played better at certain moments but not really enough to completely turn it around,” Sierra coach Manuel Pires. “Lodi just really took it to us. We have to learn from this game and be more ready to play them again Wednesday.”

Waterford 2, W. Ranch 0
Livingston 5, W. Ranch 2

CERES — The Cougars (1-4) made up the remainder of last week’s Ceres Tournament action Monday and were unable to come away with a win despite decent pitching performances.

Serena Hernandez tossed a complete-game two-hitter against Waterford, giving up both knocks in the fifth for a run. Waterford scratched across another run in the fourth off an error.

Weston Ranch was held to three hits but left eight runners stranded.

Miranda Holmes took her turn in the pitcher’s circle against Livingston and gave up just three hits. She and Nicole Washington were 2 for 2 from the plate. Washington belted in both of the Cougars’ runs with a double in the first inning.

Weston Ranch continues non-league play at home against Edison today.

— Jonamar Jacinto