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A Winning Tradition
Ceres High School's varsity girls tennis team overachieved in 2010.

The Bulldogs managed to place third in the Western Athletic Conference and qualify for the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs for the fourth year in a row despite competing with a young and inexperienced lineup.

"I feel very fortunate to have finished as high as we did," head coach Bryan Harden said at the end of last season. "The girls worked hard."

Harden believes this year's team should be just as productive.

"I expect them to work hard, get better and have good attitudes out there," Bryan said. "We'll have fun. We'll compete. We're always going to battle for the playoffs."

Marifer Ochoa, Kaylee Donovan, Kaycee Creek, Kassandra Carrillo, Viridiana Arroyo and Christin Ornells will lead the way.

Ochoa won the Western Athletic Conference singles crown and shared the league's Most Valuable Player Award with Los Banos' Alexis Barcellos her freshman year. Marifer compiled a 15-1 record. Ochoa edged Barcellos 7-6 (7-4), 7-6 (7-4) for the conference title.

"Marifer was terrific," Harden said. "That can only help her confidence for this year."

Ochoa stayed busy during the offseason. She played No. 3 singles for the Modesto Fitness & Racquet Club's 15-and-under team.

Donovan (So.), Creek (Sr.), Carrillo (Sr.) and Arroyo (Sr.) earned second-team, all-league honors in 2010.

Kaylee and Kaycee posted identical records of 8-4 while starring at No. 2 and 4 singles, respectively.

Kassandra won four of six matches while teaming up with Ashton Frampton at No. 1 doubles. Carrillo also played singles part of the year. She posted a 4-2 record.

Arroyo and Myranda Price won 8 of 12 matches at No. 2 doubles.

Price, Kelly Gallagher (No. 3 singles) and Ashley Thiner (No. 5 singles) were lost to graduation.

The top three teams in the WAC qualify for playoffs.

Los Banos (12-0), Central Catholic (10-2) and Ceres High (8-4) advanced last season.

Central Valley (5-7) and Patterson tied for fourth place in conference play. Livingston (2-10) and Pacheco (0-12) took fifth and sixth, respectively.

Ceres High, Central Catholic and Los Banos should finish in the top half of the standings this year.

"Los Banos is going to be strong," Harden said. "I don't think they lose anybody. They're deep."

Central Valley will try to surpass last year's win total.

The Hawks won just two matches during their final season in the Valley Oak League in 2009. Central Valley had a combined record of 13-57 from 2005-09.

"We're headed in the right direction," said Mike Rodriguez, third-year head coach of the Hawks.

Central Valley returns seven players: Jasmine Martinez (Jr.), Crystal Guzman (Jr.), Julie Avila (Jr.), Dominique Germann (Jr.), Jennifer Quezada (Sr.), Viridiana Gomez (Jr.) and Gabriela Romo (Jr.).

Martinez split time at No. 1 and 2 singles as a sophomore.

"I expect her (Jasmine) to be competitive again," Rodriguez said. "Her conditioning is not going to be there initially because she's coming off a knee injury from soccer."

Central Valley lost multiple players to graduation, including Lizette Covarrubias, Victoria Ochoa, Elizabeth Amaya, Cinthia Ramos, Jessica Berndt, Kiara Bucio and Krystal Ramirez.

"We have a lot of new girls," Rodriguez said.