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Weston Ranch prevails in battle for second place
Cougars claim first-ever victory over Manteca in 10th season
Suhkman Singh of Weston Ranch blasts a backhand return to visiting Mantecas Yok-Jing Ma during the highly-competitive No. 2 singles match - photo by JONAMAR JACINTO

WESTON RANCH — It took nine-plus years for Weston Ranch to notch its first win over Manteca, one of the Valley Oak League’s perennial powers over that stretch.

Manteca’s mastery of the Cougars ended Tuesday, as Weston Ranch captured sole possession of second place with its 7-2 victory. Weston Ranch opened in 2004-05 and played its first varsity season with freshmen and sophomores that spring.

“It was due,” Manteca coach Frank Fontana said.

His team did put up a fight, an indication that it will be a battle between the VOL’s top three teams — including unbeaten Kimball — for two Sac-Joaquin Section Division II team tournament berths. Manteca hosts Kimball on Thursday looking to avenge an 8-1 defeat.

Three of Tuesday’s singles matches went to third sets, and two doubles contests were also competitive.

“Today was a grueling match as I expected,” Weston Ranch coach Jason Furtado said. “Even though the final score was 7-2, there were many times during the match I thought it could have been the exact opposite. This is a big win for us as we continue to improve. Manteca is going to be much tougher the second time around so we need to work even harder than before.”

Manteca (5-2) won at No. 1 and No. 4 singles. Returning VOL Singles Tournament finalist Mike Lopez improved to 6-1 in league with his 6-1, 6-2 win over Kevin Yamayoshi. Fellow Buffalo Alex Vazquez battled back to beat Ray Lagoc 3-6, 6-1, 7-5.

Weston Ranch No. 2 Suhkman Singh held off Yok-Jing Ma 6-4, 5-7, 6-4 in the day’s most tightly-contested match. The No. 5 meeting was claimed by Cougar Chai Saepharn, who dispatched Thomas Reza 6-2, 3-6, 7-5.

Another swing match involved the top doubles teams. Andre Albino and Adrian Andrade of Weston Ranch prevailed 6-3, 7-6 (7-5) over Angel Tejada and Andre Wiggins. The No. 3 showdown was claimed by Jesse Nisperos and Andrew Gonser 6-3, 6-3.

No. 3 Carl Legaspi, No. 6 Josh Gonzales and No. 2 doubles partners Ion Ibiso and Tejpaul Baniwal all won by mirroring 6-0, 6-2 scores.

“It took us a while to get started, and once we got going we played well,” Fontana said. “It was just too late. Going into it we knew we were going to face a tough team that is disciplined and well coached. They won four out of the five matches that were close so they deserved to win.”


Trans-Valley League

Ripon 5, Hughson 4

In Ripon, the No. 1 girls doubles tandem of Teresa Martinez and Hailey Rae Rose won the most competitive match 6-3, 6-3 to help the team squeak out the one-point victory.

Boys singles players Jeremy Parks and Nathan Machado both posted 6-3, 6-2 wins. Maddison Flanders triumphed in the No. 2 girls singles contest 6-2, 6-0. At mixed doubles, Bryce Coutrakis and Savannah Bickle came through 6-2, 6-1.