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Ceres girls want to duplicate boys' success in soccer
Central Valley and Ceres High have established and successful varsity boys soccer programs.

The Bulldogs have won one section title and qualified for the playoffs four times since 2008.

The Hawks have made two section finals game appearances, secured five postseason berths and claimed four league championships during their six-year history.

This spring, Central Valley's and Ceres High's girls teams will try to take a step in the right direction. The Hawks and Bulldogs have yet to establish winning traditions.

"We have some strong, young girls' teams working through our competitive system, so the future looks very bright for Central Valley and Ceres High," Hawks head coach Cyndi Meshach said.

"They got to work hard and believe in themselves," said Javier Mercado, first-year head coach of the Bulldogs. Mercado directed the JV girls soccer squad the past two seasons.

Ceres High's returns a host of talent from last year's team, including Brittany Valadez (Sr., D), Anissa Torres (Sr., SW), Laura Barajas (Jr., MF/F), Gisselle Madrigal (So., MF/F), Karina Manzo (Sr. MF), Ruby Alberto (Jr. MF) and Fabiana Soto (Jr., MF).

Valadez, Torres and Barajas are team captains.

Anissa was named to the Western Athletic Conference first team as a junior.

Barajas (four goals, one assist) and Madrigal (four goals, three assists) were honorable-mention picks.

Bulldog newcomers Dayana Delgado (Jr., GK), Jacqueline Gonzalez (So., F), Arcelia Hermosillo (So., MF), Katya Hernandez (So., Stopper), Susana Larranaga (So., MF) and Angelica Slater (Fr., D) will step in and contribute.

Delgado, Gonzalez, Hermosillo, Hernandez and Larranaga helped lead the JV Bulldogs to a third-place finish in the WAC (6-2-4) last year.

"Soccer's a team sport," Mercado said. "You're not going to win if you don't play together. I expect the same from every player, whether they play one minute or 80."

Central Valley's top returners are Kayla Meshach (Sr. MF), Andrea Rodriguez (Sr., MF), Jacqueline Vasquez (Jr., D) and Martha Gonzalez (So., D).

Catrina Castillo (Jr., D), Dayelle Cueto (Jr., F), Crystal Guzman (Jr. MF), Michelle Hernandez (Jr., F), Suzanne Saldate (Jr. MF), Vivian Valadez (Jr., MF), Viviana Nides (So., D) and Emely Amaya (Fr., MF) are new to the team.

Meshach, Vasquez and Gonzalez share team-captain duties.

Castillo, Hernandez, Valadez and Nides suited up for the JV Hawks' fifth-place team (3-8-1) a season ago.

The top three teams in the Western Athletic Conference advance to the postseason.

Central Catholic (8-1-1), Livingston (7-2-1) and Patterson (4-4-2) placed first, second and third, respectively, in 2011. Patterson edged out fourth-place Ceres High (3-5-2) for the league's final playoff berth.

Los Banos (3-7) and Central Valley (1-6-3) finished fifth and sixth in conference play.

The Bulldogs swept the crosstown series (3-0, 3-1).

"We're always going to play hard against each other," Mercado said.