MOUNTAIN HOUSE — The race for the Trans-Valley League coed tennis championship is heating up, and Ripon is a big reason why.
The Indians are on a tear following spring break, capturing their third straight win in a 5-4 stunner at Mountain House on Tuesday.
Ripon, now 3-3 in league, started its win streak with a 5-4 win over reigning champion Riverbank last week. Both victories avenged 7-2 losses. Mountain House (4-2), Riverbank and Hughson are locked in a three-way tie for first place, and Ripon still has to make up its first match with Escalon. Only three teams advance to the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs.
The Indians’ depth helped them overcome the Mustangs, as they won four of the five doubles matches. The mixed doubles team of Evan Gibson and Nimrit Hayer held off Karthik Akella and Tiffany Deng, 5-7, 6-3, 6-3. Mia Ponsiano and Shannon Johnson also won in three sets, defeating Saanri Chilokopat and Sriya Chilikuri 6-2, 4-6, 6-2 at No. 1 girls doubles.
Other doubles winners for Ripon were No. 1 boys Manuel Ponce/Nathaniel Salavatorelli (6-3, 7-5) and No. 2 boys (Logan Lan/Darius Rubiones (6-2, 6-2).
Lilliana Trevino picked up Ripon’s lone singles win, defeating Anya Nayyar in the No. 1 girls matchup. Abigail Pendleton dropped a competitive No. 2 girls singles match 6-2, 1-6, 2-6 to Katherine Smith.
Ripon’s top boys players, Philip Carlson (1-6, 0-6) and Sam Brown (2-6, 4-6), were swept.
The reigning Valley Oak League champion Buffaloes (7-3) are now fighting for their postseason chances after dropping a third match in their last four.
Solman Aniss waxed Angel Padilla 6-0, 6-0 to remain undefeated in VOL play, and No. 2 singles player Kurtis Ma also took care of business in a 6-1, 6-4 victory over Liam Peters. Oakdale, however, won four three-set matches, and the rest were competitive sweeps.
“We lost a tough one today,” Manteca coach Frank Fontana said. “We just can’t seem to pull out the close matches. We are almost there, but we just can’t seem to get over the hump when the pressure is at the highest level. Our lack of experience shows during these situations. I have confidence we can get there, and once we do we will be tough to beat.”
Kevin Lin and Nick Pio both lost 4-6, 4-6 at No. 3 and 6 singles, respectively. No. 4 DeAngelo Caldera (4-6, 6-3, 2-6), No. 5 Harshawn Singh (3-6, 6-3, 1-6), No. 1 doubles Niko Plares/Ryan Foo (2-6, 6-2, 5-7) and No. 2 doubles Ravpreet Grewal/Kayson Neduvakkattu (7-6 , 4-6, 4-6) were beaten in three.
Weston Ranch 8, Lathrop 1
STOCKTON — Veng Yang (6-2, 6-2), Chris Opillum (6-2, 6-3), Juan Pascual (6-1, 6-4), Alex Yang (6-1, 6-1) and Maxwell Sithiphong (6-3, 6-0) all won their singles matches for Weston Ranch.
Gabriel Briseno registered Lathrop’s lone win, fending off Matthew Mou 7-5, 7-5 at No. 6 singles.
Weston Ranch also won the only doubles match, as Wilson Tomasio and Issac Walter prevailed 7-6, 7-6 over Gurman Gill and Harsimar Oberai.
Ripon 243, Hilmar DQ
TURLOCK — Nico Ilardi bounced back from a triple bogey on the opening hole and finished 6-over-42 on the back nine of Turlock Country Club.
Hilmar forfeited the Trans-Valley League match for not fielding enough players. Additional scorers for Ripon (6-2) are Cade McCusker (46), Aidan Nilsson (47), Kenny Johnson (52) and Seth Whitley (56).