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Bulldogs remain in first-place tie in VOL
Ceres High School's varsity boys tennis team boosted its Valley Oak League title hopes with an impressive 5-0 win over visiting East Union on Friday.

The Bulldogs (11-1) remained in a first-place tie with Manteca in the conference standings. The much-improved Lancers dropped to 8-4 in league play.

"The whole team's really happy," said Luis Ochoa, Ceres High's top singles player. "We finally have a shot at winning the championship. If we lost, we would have finished second."

Nick Serratos and Manuel Cerrillo, the Bulldogs' No. 2 doubles team, secured the shutout victory.

Cerrillo and Serratos defeated Marcos Aleman and Arial Rossete, 4-6, 6-4, 6-4. The three-set marathon lasted two-and-a-half hours.

"They always play hard," Ceres High assistant coach Bryan Harden said. "I saw a little fire in their bellies today. That was the difference."

Nick and Manuel survived after building a comfortable 5-2 lead. Cerrillo accounted for the match-clinching point when his forehand handcuffed Rossete near the net.

"It feels really good," Manuel said. "I was trying to pressure him so he'd hit it out."

Raul Massie and Gurman Bains teamed up to beat Matt Eichsteadt and Chris Garcia 6-2, 7-5 in No. 1 doubles play. The Bulldogs grabbed an insurmountable 3-0 lead.

Ochoa handled Sean Hilscher 6-0, 6-0 in No. 1 singles play.

Liang defeated Ricky Peloso 6-4, 6-1 in No. 2 singles play.

Ceres High will complete the VOL regular season this week. The Bulldogs played at Sierra on Tuesday and will host Weston Ranch on Thursday.

Ceres High could make history by winning a share of the VOL title and advancing to the playoffs for the third time in four years.

"I'm happy for the team, but at the same time, I don't get pumped up like the other guys," said Liang, a third-year starter. "That's my personality."