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Bulldog beats all challengers at net
For the second straight year, Ceres High varsity girls tennis player McKenzy Harden posted a perfect 32-0 record in Valley Oak League play.

"It felt good to do it again," the junior said.

Harden won all four of her matches at the singles championships last week at Manteca High School.

She defeated Oakdale's Carolyn Rowley 6-3, 6-3 on Thursday for the title.

McKenzy beat East Union's Kyrie Belme (8-1), Weston Ranch's Sina Thimm (8-2) and Sonora's Sammi Garman (6-1, 6-1) on her way to qualifying for the finals.

"She had a great year," father and coach Bryan Harden said. "That's a tribute to her focus. That's her strongest attribute."

McKenzy also played a vital role in leading the Bulldogs to a share of the VOL title during the regular season.

"The team stuff means more to her than the individual stuff," Bryan said.

"I'm glad I got to share that with them," McKenzy said.

Harden finished as the runner-up in the league tournament as a freshman.

She has a combined mark of 107-4 over the past three years. "To hear that, it's pretty cool," McKenzy said. "I don't keep track of my record."

CHS players perform well at VOL tourney

Venus Lopez played sparingly for Ceres High's varsity girls tennis team as a freshman last year.

She had a memorable sophomore campaign that included a third-place showing at the Valley Oak League singles championships this past week in Manteca.

"I knew she'd be able to compete," head coach Bryan Harden said. "But there's no way I could have envisioned that."

Lopez opened the tournament with victories over Oakdale's Elise Derby (8-4) and Central Valley's Jessica Rodriguez (8-5).

She lost to eventual runner-up Carolyn Rowley of Oakdale in the semifinals (6-3, 6-3).

Venus won her final match against Sonora's Sammi Garman (6-3, 6-3) to conclude the VOL season with an impressive 28-4 record.

Bulldog teammate Angie Prak won one of her two singles matches.

The junior received a first-round bye, then defeated Central Valley's Jyoti Kanda (8-6). She lost to Rowley (8-0) in the third round.

Ceres High's tandems of Ryan Norton and Morgan Ogden, Rachel Stump and Angie Prak, and Natalie Flores and Kaycee Creek participated in Thursday's VOL doubles tourney.

Norton and Ogden placed in the top eight with a 2-1 record.

They beat Central Valley's Jyoti Kanda and Alex Serna (8-4), and Sierra's Kayla Erion and Maryann Baker (8-6).

Ryan and Morgan lost to Sonora's Ashley Snyder and Christina Kelleher (8-1).

"They're continuing to evolve," Harden said while talking about his sophomore duo. "They could be very dominating in the future."

Stump and Prak beat Manteca's Chelsea Twohy and Hillary Coleman (8-4) before losing to Oakdale's Iris Quiroga and Elise Derby (8-2).

Flores and Creek were eliminated by Central Valley's Jessica Rodriguez and Anna Polovin (8-1).