The Manteca High girls tennis team is advancing in the postseason for the first time under ninth-year coach MaryAnn Tolbert after ousting visiting Central Valley of Ceres 5-4 in a Sac-Joaquin Section Division III first-round match Wednesday.
The Buffaloes have earned a rematch with Tri-County Conference champion River City, which defeated them 5-4 last year en route to a runner-up finish. The semifinals are next Monday. River City slammed Western Athletic Conference No. 3 seed El Capitan 9-0 in its opener.
Wednesday’s postseason win is also believed to be the program’s first in at least 25 years. Tolbert’s 2012 squad snapped 22-year Valley Oak League title drought.
“We stepped up today against a very similar team to ours and was proud that our players dug deep in several matches,” Tolbert said. “Couldn’t be more proud of their focus and attitudes.”
Manteca got the upper hand early by winning three of the top four singles matches. Koryn Menasco topped Jadah Jackson 6-2, 2-6, 6-3 in the No. 2 match, Katie Indertbitzin swept Bryana Lopez 6-3, 6-3 in what Tolbert called her “best match of the season,” and Taylor Corona cruised to a 6-1, 6-4 victory over Celeste Lepe.
The battle of 1s was the longest contest of the day. Manteca’s Lizzie Tolbert competed valiantly but succumbed to Teresa Diaz, 3-6, 6-4, 3-6. Central Valley took the No. 5 and 6 matches, as Chelsea Flores (6-2, 6-1) and Claudia Martinez (6-3, 7-5) beat Gladis Sandoval and Julia Tang, respectively.
The win was clinched by the doubles teams. Manteca’s top tandem of Rav Dhillon and Jessica Tang dispatched Amy Nguyen and Vanessa Monroy, 6-2, 6-3. Freshmen Makenna Condit and Navina Mann then took down Nicole Munoz and Trinity Avila, 7-5, 6-1. Julianne Eavenson and Ivy Benson have been dropped a close 6-3, 6-7 (2), 9-11 decision to Maria Rojas and Guadalupe Beccerra, but the Buffaloes already had their semifinal tickets punched.
“Makenna and Navinna showed great composure in coming behind in the first set to win in their first playoff experience, and it was crucial for the team’s success,” Tolbert said.
Lizzie Tolbert and Menasco, competing as doubles partners, are joining Sierra’s Claire Banks today in the SJS Division II Individual Tournament held in Roseville.