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Reigning champs beat Buffs
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Central Catholic has once again established itself as the frontrunner in the Valley Oak League.

The good news for Manteca High’s young girls tennis team is that it has 13 more matches to make up ground. The reigning VOL and Sac-Joaquin Section Division III Raiders won 6-3, getting five of their points at Nos. 1-5 singles.

“It’s the first match of the year and we had no preseason, so I’m really proud of our girls,” Manteca coach MaryAnn Tolbert said. “I have freshman who had never played in a match before.

“At one point we were in a position to win 5-4 and Central is a talented team. They have players that have been playing a lot longer than any of my girls.”

Freshman Julia Tang beat Alyssa McPhee 6-2, 6-1 for the Buffaloes’ lone singles victory. Jessica Tang and Rav Dhillon held off Katie Minato and Lauren Aja 6-2, 7-5 at No. 1 doubles. In the final match of the day, Julianne Eavenson and Ivy Benson edged out Mary Lehman and Maya Armendariz, 4-6, 6-0, 10-8.

The all-freshman No. 2 duo of Makenna Condit and Navinna Mann lost 6-3, 4-6, 2-6. Sophomore Taylor Corona was also competitive at No. 5 singles, falling 6-1, 4-6, 2-6. Seven players in Manteca’s starting 12 are underclassmen. Amie Ardis, the VOL singles runner-up a year ago, defeated Manteca’s Elizabeth Tolbert in the No. 1 match.

“The possibilities (of winning) were there for us, so we just need to continue to work hard,” coach Tolbert said. “I think that we could give them a run when we go there. I’m not counting us out in league just yet. We’re just one match in.”