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Lancers Inoue, Karim take VOL doubles title
TEN--VOL Doubles Tourney pic 1
East Union teammates Natalie Karim, above photo, and Fuko Inoue - photo by Photo by WAYNE THALLANDER

Fuko Inoue and Natalie Karim took advantage of forfeitures Saturday during the Valley Oak League Doubles Tournament at Manteca High and became the first East Union tandem to win a title since 2011.

Seeded sixth for the tournament, Inoue and Karim reached the title round by upsetting No. 2 Taylor Corona and Koryn Menasco — the top two players of team champion Manteca — 5-7, 6-4, 7-6 (2). Top-seeded Claire Banks and Nadia Petrovic of Sierra ousted the Manteca pair of Julia Tang and Gladis Sandoval 7-6 (5), 6-4 in the other semifinal but went on to forfeit in the finals.

Ashley Duenas and Klassey Kachalkin are the last East Union players to win a VOL Tournament crown, doing so in 2011 as doubles partners. 

The four finalists from the league’s singles and doubles tourneys qualify for the Sac-Joaquin Section Division II Individual Tournament scheduled for Thursday at Friday at Johnson Ranch Racquet Club in Roseville. Joining the local doubles teams there will be Sierra freshman Kaitlyn Rausa, who lost to Oakdale’s Tay Talamentes 2-6, 1-6 in the singles final on Saturday. The first four rounds were played last Wednesday.

For Sierra’s Banks, it’s her second consecutive runner-up finish after she placed second in the singles tournament in 2015. She and Petrovic, a freshman, shut out Weston Ranch’s Jaskirat Kaur and Alyssa Ryan 8-0 after a first-round bye, then toppled Manteca’s Rav Dhillon and Navina Mann, 6-1, 6-2. No. 8 Dhillon and Mann were the lone true doubles players to be seeded. They went undefeated for the Buffaloes in the regular season.

Inoue and Karim were given a pass to start when Sierra’s Krista Harris and Alejandra Pacheco forfeited the second-round match.  The two Lancers then defeated Kimball’s Maddy Dabandan and Tiffany Dequit — a non-seeded pair who benefitted from the No. 3 tandem of Carley Newbill and Danika Brown from Oakdale — 6-2, 6-3. 

It was an all-Buffaloes third-place match, as Corona and Menasco beat Tang and Sandoval, 6-2, 6-3. Semifinalists from both tournaments made the all-league team.