By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Bulldogs edge out Tigers for final playoff berth
Ceres High varsity boys water polo coach Tim Reyes thought about it for a split second after his team secured the Valley Foothill League's third and final playoff berth last Wednesday.

Nick Serratos and his Bulldog teammates decided not to throw their leader into their school's swimming pool during the post-game celebration.

"If we beat (undefeated) Oakdale or (second-place) Sonora, they would have done it," Reyes said.

Ceres High pulled away for a 10-6 win over Los Banos on the final day of the VFL season.

The Bulldogs (6-4) finished two games ahead of the fourth-place Tigers (4-6).

"If we would have lost, it would have went to a coin toss for playoffs," said Serratos, a third-year varsity player. "It feels great to finally get there. The last year a Ceres team made it to playoffs was in 2005."

"I experienced playoffs three years in a row as a player," said Reyes, a former standout goalkeeper for the Bulldogs. "These guys have been hungry for it. To finally get there is a huge relief. Our new goal is to go further in sections."

Bulldog goalie Kenny Carroll tallied 18 blocks against the Tigers.

He also scored the go-ahead goal on a length-of-the-pool shot with 1 second left in the second period. Carroll had a career-high 29 saves the previous week versus Sonora.

"He's the best goalkeeper in our area," Reyes said. "He has a huge future ahead of him."

Serratos was unstoppable on offense. He poured in a game-high five goals.

Victor Cruz had two goals.

Jason Stanhope and Dylan Hines both contributed one goal.

The Bulldogs outscored the Tigers 6-2 during the closing 14 minutes.

The final 10-plus minutes were played in the dark.

"We were nervous in the beginning," Serratos said. "We settled down after halftime. Everybody stepped up today."

Added Reyes: "We started executing the way we're supposed to on offense. The guys knew what was at stake."

Ceres High edged Los Banos 11-9 earlier this season.

The Bulldogs are returning to playoffs following a four-year absence.