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Ceres tennis ends season with 13-3 overall record
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Pioneer bounced Ceres High from the Sac-Joaquin Section Division II girls team tennis tournament.

The Valley Oak League's second-seeded Bulldogs fell 7-2 to the undefeated Tri-County Conference champion Patriots in the first round on Monday, Nov. 13 in Woodland.

"That's a team we could have beat," Ceres High head coach Bryan Harden said. "Unfortunately, we came out on the losing end."

McKenzy Harden, Ceres' No. 1 singles player, and the Bulldogs' No. 2 doubles tandem of Rachel Stump and Kaycee Creek won their respective matches.

Harden, a junior and the two-time VOL singles champion, earned a hard-fought 6-2, 6-4 win over Estefania Toscano. Her opponent captured the TCC crown.

"She beat a very solid player," Bryan said. "It was a competitive match. They were battling."

Stump (junior) and Creek (freshman) didn't have any trouble against Chelsea Ortiz and Jordan Heller. They cruised to a 6-1, 6-2 victory.

"They played so well," Bryan said. "They were tough at the net. Their groundstrokes were good. They got their serves in. They did everything we worked on at practice."

Sophomore Venus Lopez lost 7-5, 6-2 to Christie Farrell at No. 2 singles.

Junior Angie Prak lost 6-2, 6-4 to Charmaine Tabilas at No. 3 singles.

Freshman Brenda Villavong lost 6-1, 6-3 to Jen Epperson at No. 4 singles.

Junior Karina Magana lost 6-4, 6-4 to Kendra Kyburz at No. 5 singles.

Senior Natalie Flores lost 6-2, 6-4 to Diana Serquin at No. 6 singles.

Sophomores Ryan Norton and Morgan Ogden lost 6-4, 7-5 to Taylor Whitley and Savannah Reiff at No. 1 doubles.

Junior Jessica Vega and freshman Kristen Ornells lost 6-4, 6-1 to Karissa Smith and Abbie Paez at No. 3 doubles.

Ceres High faced a clear disadvantage during its postseason match.

Pioneer competes in a league that uses the same format as section playoffs, which consists of six singles and three doubles contests.

The VOL's format includes five matches, including three singles and two doubles.

"It's definitely a tough thing for us to deal with every year," Bryan said. "We just have to do our best to adapt."

Ceres High had a memorable 2008 season. The Bulldogs went 13-3 overall and tied for first place in the VOL standings with Oakdale (12-2). The Mustangs were awarded the conference's top seed on a coin flip.

Ceres should contend for another league title and postseason berth in 2009 because it returns a wealth of talent.