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Ceres High School's varsity boys tennis team participated in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division II playoffs and finished runner-up in the Valley Oak League standings in 2007 and 2008.

The Bulldogs missed out on the postseason in 2009 following a third-place showing in conference play (8-6).

Seniors Luis Ochoa, Wilson Liang, Harman Bains and Raul Massie will try to lead Ceres High to record heights this year.

"We have a bigger goal than playoffs," Bulldogs head coach Brian de la Porte said. "We want to win a league championship."

Ceres High, which has a battle-tested lineup, returns four of seven starters.

Ochoa, the reigning VOL singles champion, won 26 of 30 matches last year. The third-year starter has a career record of 56-10. He finished 30-6 as a freshman.

"I don't even know if he's going to be challenged by anyone in our league," de la Porte said. "Barring injury, he'll win every match in the VOL with ease. He works hard. He's got some talent. He truly loves tennis."

Liang will fill the No. 2 singles slot for the second consecutive year.

He's improved drastically thanks in large part to a busy offseason.

Wilson even slimmed down.

"Hopefully, we meet in the VOL finals," Ochoa said. "He's gotten a lot better."

Bains will play No. 3 singles for the third straight season.

Massie and Gurman Bains (Fr.) will team up at No. 1 doubles.

The Bulldogs' No. 2 doubles team features two first-year players: Nick Serratos (Jr.) and Victor Cruz (Jr.).

The top three teams in the VOL qualify for playoffs.

Sonora, Manteca and Oakdale advanced last year.

Ceres High, Manteca, Sonora and Oakdale are expected to contend this season. East Union, Weston Ranch, Sierra, Central Valley and Lathrop will try play spoiler.

"A lot of the coaches think we're the favorites," said de la Porte, who's led the Bulldogs to 32 wins and two postseason berths in three seasons.

The Bulldogs believe they are primed for a major turnaround in 2010.

Ceres High could experience unprecedented success.

"We definitely have a chance," de la Porte said. "This is the best team we've had since I've been here."