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Manteca, Sierra players cap banner year at sections
The Sierra doubles tandem of Anna Cardenas, foreground, and Naomi Nunis won its first-round match in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division II Tournament on Thursday. - photo by JONAMAR JACINTO

The Valley Oak League’s top girls tennis players competed in their final matches during Thursday’s Sac-Joaquin Section Division II Tournament held at Johnson Ranch Racquet Club in Roseville.

Conference champion Manteca High and runner-up Sierra each sent a singles standout and a doubles team to the event, traditionally one in which local players are overmatched. That wasn’t necessarily the case Thursday.

Sierra’s all-junior tandem of Anna Cardenas and Naomi Nunis registered the only win among area representatives. They opened with a 6-4, 6-3 victory over Yuba City’s Sophie Poukish and Kendell Cheim before falling to No. 2 seeded Macie Mooney and Jessica Stunz, 6-2, 6-2.

“They gave it a good effort and played well,” said Sierra coach Vanessa Weeks.

Sierra senior Vannida Nguyen, a three-time VOL singles tournament finalist and 2012 titlist, fell to Rio American’s Jessica Crockett, 6-1, 6-1.

“She didn’t play her best but had a great VOL season to look back on,” Weeks said.

The Buffaloes of Manteca showed well despite one-and-done runs. League runner-up Rosa Zou played tough against McClatchy’s Sami Wang but was eliminated, 5-7, 3-6.

The VOL doubles championship duo of Noha Elabed and Wendy Lin lost in similar fashion, falling to Bella Vista’s fourth-seeded pair of Kaitlin Derry and Anneliese Dominguez, 5-7, 2-6. Elabed and Lin had a chance to take control of the first set tied 4-4 with a deuce point on the line.

“Both Rosa and our doubles had legitimate chances to win,” Manteca coach Frank Fontana said. “It goes back to us not seeing that kind of competition in league, and I think nerves were involved as well.

“Both (matches) were very winnable, but we were not blown off the court despite not playing our best. I couldn’t be more proud of the effort. They definitely laid the foundation for future tennis players at Manteca High.”