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TENNIS: Third SJS title in reach for Manteca after thrashing of Golden Valley
Bulletin girls tennis 2019
Kaileah Johannson watches her drop shot score as Manteca doubles teammate Melissa Poncini looks on during their Sac-Joaquin Section Division III semifinal against Golden Valley on Wednesday. - photo by JONAMAR JACINTO/The Bulletin

Katie Kim got to watch her older sister help Manteca win a Sac-Joaquin Section championship last year.
Now a freshman, she and Ellie have an opportunity to get one together. They were part of a dominant effort in the Division III semifinals Wednesday, when the Buffaloes waxed Central California Conference co-champion Golden Valley, 9-0.
A winner of two section titles in the past three seasons, Manteca (21-1) will make its fourth straight final-round appearance next Tuesday at Oak Park Tennis Center in Stockton. The match is scheduled to start at 3 p.m.
“It’s really exciting,” Ellie Kim said. “After last season, we knew that Katie is coming and I’ve been ready for this. I just want to be able to win sections with my sister.”
In the way is No. 6 Vanden of Fairfield, the No. 2 team out of the Monticello Empire League. The Vikings opened the postseason with a 7-2 win over No. 3 Mira Loma, the 2018 runner-up in the division, and followed that with a 5-4 upset of No. 2 Christian Brothers.
“I don’t know our next opponent or how they play, I’m just going to give it my all,” Ellie said. “We’ve been working for this moment.”
Manteca barely broke a sweat in Wednesday’s hour-long match.
Katie and Ellie earned 6-0, 6-0 and 6-0, 6-1 wins over Micaela Garcia and Kerina Figueroa-Ocampo, respectively, from the top two spots of the singles ladder.
Sahiba Kaur (6-1, 6-0), Kerren Zou (6-0, 6-2), Yanki Ma (6-0, 6-0) and Kalissa Martin (6-2, 6-1) took care of business before rooting for their teammates in doubles play.
The Buffaloes’ No. 2 tandem of Isabella Huerta and Danielle Diaz won 6-0, 6-1, while Amorina Tse and Heather Pang cruised, 6-2, 6-0. Fourth-year varsity contributor Melissa Poncini and Kaileah Johannson closed the show by beating Susanna Schmidt and Kathleen Rey 6-0, 6-1 in the No. 1 doubles match.
Manteca also blanked Merced, the other CCC co-champion, on Monday.
“We hope that this momentum can carry into Tuesday and bring home another banner,” Manteca coach MaryAnn Tolbert said. “It’s not going to be 9-0, probably a 5-4. Hopefully the girls have the wherewithal to dig deep. Everything they did from the summer to things like winning (the California Classic) in Clovis leads to this one match.”