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Top team takes out Manteca
Ripon Christian, Ripon eliminated in Division III
Ripon Christian No. 2 doubles player Brianna Jewell fires a backhand return. - photo by JONAMAR JACINTO

The Manteca High boys and Ripon coed tennis teams both ran into Sac-Joaquin Section powerhouses, while Ripon Christian dropped a heartbreaker in Monday’s quarterfinal matches.

In the all-boys Division II bracket, Manteca was toppled by Sacramento-based powerhouse Rio Americano, 7-2. 

The Raiders are the section’s most decorated program with 11 SJS titles and eight of them coming in Division II. The Capital Athletic League champions head to Ceres in the semifinal round today.

Despite the wide margin, Manteca coach Frank Fontana was pleased with how is players handled themselves Monday. 

“Looking at it at a grand scale, it could have been a 5-4 loss or even a 5-4 win,” Fontana said. “I’m just proud of how we competed against a team that was supposed to blow us off the court; my guys didn’t give up. They’re definitely more experienced tennis-wise and with more upperclassmen. We lost to a really good team.”

Senior Alex Vazquez defeated Bryan Vu 6-2, 6-3 in the No. 6 singles match. Manteca’s other point came from the No. 3 doubles team of Kyle Thornburg and Si Hao Tang, who downed Ajay Patel and Max Feng, 6-3, 4-6, 10-5.

Yok-Jing Ma and Mike Lopez narrowly dropped their matches. Ma lost to Jack Longergan 4-6, 4-6 in the duel of No. 1s. Lopez was edged by Kadyn Silva 2-6, 6-2, 7-6 in the No. 2 contest.

“Yok was in an extremely competitive match against a quality kid and it could have gone either way,” Fontana said. “Mike also competed well. He went up against a player who was about 6-foot-3 and just smashing serves, but Mike made him work. That was the longest match of the day.”

Fontana also lauded senior Thomas Reza in the fifth singles match. Though Reza dropped a 2-6, 0-6 decision to Danny Franz, Fontana said each game was tightly contested.

“Most of the games came down to no-ad points and the other guy, being the more experienced and battle-tested player, was able to come up with the big points,” Fontana said.

The Buffaloes hope to make a deeper run next year with 10 of their 12 starters returning and juniors Ma and Lopez leading the charge for the reigning Valley Oak League co-champions.

“I can’t say enough about the team and how far it has come from February to today,” Fontana said. “I’m definitely excited for next year.”


River City 5, Ripon Christian 4

The Knights claimed all four singles matches but couldn’t come up with the clinching point in some well-contested doubles showdowns Monday at the Ripon Community Center tennis courts.

Kyle Van Vuren (6-3, 6-0) and Lauren Herbert (6-4, 6-3) won in straight sets in the No. 1 boys and girls singles matches. Derrick Witt grinded out a 6-3, 4-6, 6-3 victory over River City’s Ben Gerelkhum in the No. 2 boys match, while Makenna Koslosky came back to dispatch Nicole Melido 0-6, 6-1, 10-7.

Ripon Christian had opportunities to secure its ticket to the semifinals but dropped a tough three-set match in boys doubles action. The mixed doubles contest was also competitive, with River City’s tandem taking the first set in a tiebreaker before completing the sweep.


Placer 9, Ripon 0

Ripon traveled to Auburn to face the three-time defending Division III champion, which hosts River City on Wednesday.

No. 1 girls singles player Savannah Bickle was outlasted by Placer’s Clare McInerney in a three-set encounter. Trans-Valley League boys champion Bryce Coutrakis was defeated by Brendon Axelbaum, 3-6, 6-7 (2). 

Ripon’s top girls doubles team of Shannon Wesley and Hailey-Rae Rose also competed well in a 3-6, 3-6 loss.