OAKDALE — The Valley Oak League boys tennis championship is now out of reach for Manteca after it was edged out by Oakdale on Tuesday, 5-4.
Both teams battled for a shot at the title, and Manteca (8-3, 8-4 overall) still has some say as it closes out the regular season Thursday at league-leading Central Catholic (10-1, 12-2). Oakdale (9-2) ends can gain a share of the crown with a Central Catholic loss and a win over Weston Ranch.
Regardless of this week’s results for the Buffaloes, there’s still much to play for in the near future. They’re back in the Sac-Joaquin Section team playoffs with their top-three finish in the VOL. They narrowly missed a postseason berth last year, ending a streak of 11 straight section appearances.
“We are in the playoffs, so these matches are just getting us ready,” Manteca coach Frank Fontana said.
Much like its previous two defeats in league this season, one each against Central Catholic and rival Sierra in a stunning upset, Manteca’s latest match came down to third-set matches. The Buffaloes won their first meeting with Oakdale, 6-3.
“Tough loss today,” Fontana said. “We could not get over the three-setter hump. We went 0-3 in third sets and then lost two other close doubles matches. We just need to find a way to win these close individual matches.”
Three seniors did their part to give Manteca a chance. From the top of the ladder, Solman Aniss took down Liam Peters 6-1, 6-4; Kurtis Ma swept Frankie Dutra 6-2, 6-1; and No. 4 Harshawn Singh defeated Mark Chavez, 6-1, 6-2. Kayson Neduvakkattu added a 6-3, 6-3 win over Jimmy Homer.
For Oakdale, No. 3 Caleb Poling came through with a 6-4, 1-6, 6-4 victory against Nick Pio, while No. 6 Zack Neilson raced past Julian Gosal, 6-3, 4-6, 6-1.
It was all Mustangs in doubles play. Hayden Hill and Aiden Rodrigues held off Manteca’s No. 3 pair of Spencer Ogden and Jordan Navales, 6-3, 5-7, 6-2.
At No. 1 doubles, Shivam Mystery and Teo Diaz avenged a previous three-set loss to Kevin Lin and Ryan Foo, 7-5, 6-3. No. 2 Chris Frye and Max Moore held on for a 7-5, 7-5 win over Ravpreet Grewal and Kiersten Melan.
Sierra 7, Kimball 2
The Timberwolves (5-6) continued their late-season improvement at Manteca High, toppling the VOL’s defending champion.
Kimball got wins at Nos. 1 and 2 singles, as Lance Lee beat Kyle Banks 6-2, 6-2 and Chance Mizuno outlasted Fabian Barba, 6-4, 7-5. The rest was easy work for Sierra, with Jason Machado (6-1, 6-1), Quentin Banks (6-0, 6-1), Jassan Gill (6-3, 6-1) and David Martin (6-0, 6-1) coming through for straight-sets wins.
Winning doubles matches were GeorgeMontross/Milton Yamomo (6-3, 6-1), Ben Perez/Justin Lacdao (6-4, 6-3) and Aaron Crawford/Nick Alonzo (6-1, 6-0).
Sierra hosts East Union back at Manteca High on Thursday.
Central Catholic 9, East Union 0
First-place Central Catholic made it a clean sweep at East Union but was tested in some spots.
At No. 2 doubles, the Lancers tandem of Jesse Batres and Japneet Gill came up short against Nick West and Danny Barraza, 5-7, 6-4, 5-7.
No. 2 singles player Steven Chan was also competitive, dropping a 3-6, 4-6 decision to Justin Traina.