Lincoln’s Ho, Orteza reach Division III semifinals in tennis

By: Russ Edmondson The News Messenger
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Lincoln High sophomore Jeremy Orteza and freshman teammate Jessica Ho reached the semifinals at the Sac-Joaquin Section, Division III tennis championships in Stockton Friday before their season came to a close. The pair, Lincoln’s top two players this season, played mixed doubles and beat Capital Christian and Argonaut in straight sets as the tourney opened May 8. Orteza and Ho came back the next day and were defeated in the section semifinals by a Riverbend duo, 6-3, 6-3. Like the Lincoln pair, Riverbend’s team consisted of the top two players from its school. “There were very, very few freshmen and sophomores at the tournament at all so to have them go all the way to the semifinals was impressive,” Lincoln coach Tim Allen said. “I don’t think (Riverbend) was that much better, it was just that Jeremy and Jessica had one of those matches. “They just didn’t have their best match and it’s going to happen occasionally. It’s just too bad it happened in the semifinals.” Orteza and Ho hadn’t played doubles together before the Pioneer Valley League championships a week earlier. “It’s amazing to me that they played as well as they did with their backs against the wall,” said Allen, referring to the duo’s play at the PVL tournament and in Stockton. Both Orteza and Ho were voted all-league by the PVL coaches this year (top eight boys and top eight girls are all-league). Each of the six leagues that participated in this tournament brought 10 players total, split among singles, doubles and mixed doubles play. The PVL dominated the tournament as nine of its players reached the semifinals. Placer, the PVL champion, won most of the championships as well. “When you look around, the PVL is by the far the most competitive league (in DIII),” Allen said. “The next closest league to the PVL brought just two or three players to the second day. Our youth is going to help us in the next few years and it’s kind of good to have a team like (Placer) in our league.”