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CHS boys, girls expect to see improvement
Ceres High School's varsity boys water polo program has the talent to compete for a playoff berth according to second-year head coach Tim Reyes.

"I do feel we have a team to contend with this year," he said. "We'll do better than we did last season."

Four of Ceres High's 10 players are returners, including seniors Raul Massie, Christian Moore and Bastiaan Weststeyn, and junior Kenny Carroll.

Juniors Nick Serratos, Mark Dollard and Kody Fliflet, and sophomores Dylan Hines, Stephen Jones and Zachary Zamaroni played for the frosh-soph boys team last season.

Junior Victor Cruz, a standout swimmer, transferred from Central Valley High School.

Cruz and Serratos suited up for the Modesto Stanislaus 16-and-under water polo club during the summertime. Massie played 18s.

"They got a lot of experience," Reyes said. "It was their choice."

Massie (5-9, 150) and Serratos (6-0, 175) will take turns defending the hole-set and playing lead driver.

"They both got a great knowledge of the game," Reyes said. "Nick's got great speed, length and strength. He can overpower a lot of people in the pool."

Cruz (5-11, 240) will play center (hole-set) on offense.

"His swimming ability and size are going to be key," Reyes said.

Carroll should have another solid season in goal for the Bulldogs.

"He can be a huge asset to our team," Reyes said.

The top three placers in the eight-team Modesto Metro Conference qualify for the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs. Oakdale, Downey and Modesto High participated last year. The Bulldogs placed sixth with a 4-9 record. Ceres High hasn't made an appearance in the postseason since 2005.

"We have the talent to make the playoffs," Serratos said.

Bulldog players dedicated time to running, swimming, sit-ups and weight training as part of their conditioning regimen.

"They also did 600-700 sit-ups and 300 push-ups a day," Reyes said. "I'm hoping all the hard work pays off."

Varsity Girls

Ceres High School's varsity girls water polo program has received solid play at the goalkeeper position over the years.

Kelly Yoder, a 2009 graduate, was named to the Modesto Metro Conference Second Team twice.

Amanda Arrollo (2003-04) earned MMC honorable-mention accolades during her final season with the Bulldogs.

"Amanda was crazy," head coach Lesley Willems said. "She had no fear. Kelly was built for it. I think Allison will do all right. She has some big shoes to fill."

Allison Ghimenti, a junior, gained valuable experience while playing for the Modesto-Stanislaus 16-and-under water polo club over the summer.

"She's improved a lot," Willems said.

The Bulldogs will also receive solid contributions from senior Priscilla Acosta and junior Courtney Frampton.

Acosta garnered honorable-mention recognition last season.

Frampton teamed up with Ghimenti in high school and at the club level.

Priscilla and Courtney will split time leading Ceres High's offensive attack and guarding the opposing team's center forward.

Other returners include seniors Salleen Narvaez, Cristina Carrillo, Kayla Gilmore and Mariah Martin, junior Courtney Craig, and sophomores Megan Braverman and Bella Carlyle.

Seniors Jonny Rodriguez and Cesley Killgore, juniors Rebecca Wright, Kristi Hopkins and Alex Butler, sophomore Espy Campos, and freshman Haley Fisicaro are new to the team.

"The girls that have been here have been helping out at practice," Willems said.

Ceres High has posted a combined record of 14-27 in the MMC the past three seasons.

The Bulldogs placed fifth (5-8) last year. Ceres fell short of the playoffs by just one victory in 2005 and 2004.

Willems attributed part of her team's struggles to having a smaller pool of players to choose from.

"It's tough getting people," she said. "I think that has to do with CV opening up. Boys and girls also don't like wearing speedos and bathing suits. They're self-conscious."