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Shorthanded Cougars edge Manteca
First-place battle with Oakdale next
Rosa Zou won in straight sets for Manteca High Thursday, but Weston Ranch claimed the rest of the singles matches to prevail, 5-4. - photo by JONAMAR JACINTO

Weston Ranch was without No. 3 singles player Samantha Navoa (sprained ankle) for a second straight match Thursday.

The Valley Oak League’s defending champion got away with it rather easily Tuesday in a win over Kimball. Coach Jason Furtado knew that wouldn’t be the case Thursday with third-place Manteca High visiting.

With the Buffaloes winning all three doubles matches, Weston Ranch’s No. 6 singles player, Nancy Nguyen, proved to be the difference in a 5-4 win that keeps the Cougars undefeated for their first-place showdown with Oakdale.

Nguyen dropped the first set to Jenny Hu 4-6 but came back to win, 6-0, 6-2.

“I knew that in order to win that our singles would have to take five out of six points, and thankfully that’s what they did,” Furtado said. “As a coach, it’s comforting to know that you have players who can step up when asked to.

“This was our second consecutive match without our No. 3 singles, and I’ve been impressed with the way my girls have responded to her absence.”

Rosa Zou accounted for Manteca’s lone singles point with a 6-1, 6-1 win over Cristina Poklay.

Weston Ranch (6-0) dominated the rest, with No. 1 Ly Hoang (6-1, 6-0), No. 2 Aarelle Albino (6-2, 6-2), No. 3 Chelsea Olitan (6-2, 6-2) and No. 5 Rainah Baet (6-0, 6-3) coming out on top.

Manteca (4-2, 5-2 overall) got a big win at No. 2 doubles to stay in contention. Liz Diaz and Ruth Habte squeaked out a 15-13 tiebreaker after splitting the first two sets (3-6, 6-2) against Cinda Moua and Delarine Barut.

Manteca’s top doubles team of Kaile Hunt and Mia Ramirez prevailed, 6-3, 6-4; as did No. 3 partners Aleeyah Cordoba and Noha Elabed, 6-1, 6-3.

East Union 8, Lathrop 1

Merchelle Alegado defeated Rebekah Jacobson in three sets (6-3, 2-6, 6-0) in the No. 1 singles match for the Spartans’ only win of the day.

East Union coasted in the rest of the matches and improved to 2-4.

Sierra 5, Sonora 4

It came down to the No. 2 doubles match for the visiting Timberwolves.

After falling via tiebreaker in the first set, 6-7 (6-8), Emma Hunter and Brenda Padilla dominated a 10-game pro set, 10-2.

While no match went to a third set, most were tightly contested. Also coming through with points for Sierra were undefeated top singles player Vannida Nguyen (6-4, 6-3), No. 2 Imahni Burks (6-4, 6-3), No. 4 Naomi Nunis (6-3, 6-2) and No. 6 Maddie Banks (6-1, 7-6 [7-4]).