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CHS girls start season with positives
Under the guidance of first-year head coach Dominic Figueroa, Ceres High School's varsity girls soccer team opened the 2010 preseason with a 1-1 draw with 2009 Sac-Joaquin Section Division VI semifinalist and Southern League champion Mariposa Monday night at Bulldog Stadium.

"I told them don't be satisfied," Figueroa said. "There are some things we did out here we'd get punished for if we played (Valley Oak League rival) Sierra. We got to play smarter."

Karina Manzo accounted for Ceres High's lone goal. Katie Herrera assisted. Third-year goalkeeper Nichole Fitch made five saves.

Malon Lasater scored for the Grizzlies (1-1-2).

Lasater gave Mariposa a 1-0 lead when she converted a direct free kick from a tricky angle in the ninth minute.

Manzo evened the score in the 22nd minute after collecting a pass from Herrera.

The Bulldogs and Grizzlies battled to a draw in the first half.

In the closing minutes of the game, Fitch made a diving stop on a close-range shot and defender Anissa Torres cleared the rebound.

"I think we did pretty good for our first game," Fitch said. "The second half, we came out a lot stronger. But there's a lot of things we need to work on. We just need to communicate more. We're going to have a good season this year."

Ceres High challenged Mariposa, a team with a more experience. The Grizzlies' starting lineup featured nine returning starters.

"At times, we looked really good," Figueroa said. "The girls are still trying to get used to the way I want them to play. They're definitely open-minded and willing to understand. I do expect a lot more from this group."