Lincoln’s Ho, Orteza team up for PVL tennis title

By: Staff Report
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Lincoln High senior Jeremy Orteza and junior Jessica Ho, the top two tennis players for Lincoln’s coed varsity team, teamed up to win the mixed doubles championship at Friday’s Pioneer Valley League championships. Orteza and Ho were the No. 1 seed and they had a bye in the first round. They beat a Bear River team in the second round (6-2, 6-3) and topped a Mesa Verde duo in round two (6-0, 6-2). This victory ensured the Lincoln stars a spot in the Sac-Joaquin Section tournament but they wanted to claim the PVL title. The section tournament will be held Thursday and Friday in Stockton. Orteza and Ho faced Colfax’s Justin Witt and Carissa Millanes in the finals and won 6-2, 4-6, 6-3. Lincoln’s No. 2 team in mixed doubles, seniors PJ Elbakri and Christiana Orlove, got a first-round win over Mesa Verde but Colfax eliminated them in the next round. All of these PVL tournament matches were held at the Auburn Racquet Club. This is Ho’s second PVL championship while it’s the first for Orteza. Ho teamed up with Sarah Bietz to win the girls doubles championship last season. That pair also won a section championship last year. Ho has now advanced to sections three years in a row and she has also been All-PVL three years in a row. She was named the PVL’s MVP this season as well. Orteza was named All-League for the second straight year and he plans on playing tennis for UC Santa Cruz next year. Lincoln entered two teams in the boys doubles tournament (juniors Chris Ahrens and Daniel Milligan; junior Ruben Reyes and sophomore Brandon Waidmann) on Friday and both were eliminated in the first round. Lincoln had more success on the girls side on Friday. Seniors Jerusha Loya and Vivi Pelanteri cruised in the first round against Mesa Verde (6-0, 6-0) before falling to Bear River (6-2, 7-6). “This was a great showing for a team that had never competed together before,” Lincoln coach Tim Allen said. Lincoln’s other doubles team on the girls side, made up of senior Courtney Balonek and sophomore Kaitlin Fischer, reached the semifinals by beating Colfax (6-1, 6-3) and then Mesa Verde (6-3, 6-1). The Placer duo, the eventual champion, beat Lincoln 6-0, 6-2. The PVL singles tournament was held a day earlier on the same courts. Ho, the No. 1 seed, received a bye in the first round before falling to Bear River’s Lindsay Harter (6-3, 6-3) in the second round. Lincoln’s Jerusha Loya beat Whitney’s Gracie Martinelli (7-5, 6-1) in round one but lost to Colfax’s Laura Zajac (6-2, 6-1) in the second round. Zajac ended up beating Harter (6-2, 6-0) in the finals. Orteza was the No. 3 seed on the boys side and he defeated El Dorado’s Sean Raley (6-1, 6-0) in round one. Orteza was knocked out in round two by Placer’s Cameron McCallister (6-2, 6-1). Elbakri was defeated by Bear River’s Shawndar Johal (6-3, 5-7, 6-3) in the first round.