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CHS girls win crosstown battle, secure conference's final playoff berth
Ceres High's and Central Valley's varsity girls tennis teams battled for more than bragging rights.

The host Bulldogs eliminated the Hawks from playoff contention and secured the Western Athletic Conference's final berth with a 6-3 victory over their crosstown rivals on Oct. 16.

Ceres High placed third in the WAC standings with a 7-5 record.

Central Valley took fourth in conference play (6-6).

"There was a lot of pressure," Hawks senior doubles player Deja Jackson said. "We wanted to be the first Central Valley tennis team to do it (qualify for playoffs). It's sad we didn't make it."

The Bulldogs improved their all-time record versus the Hawks to 14-0.

Ceres High also qualified for the postseason for the sixth year in a row.

"It's my senior year," Bulldogs No. 6 singles player Kim Ochoa said. "I'm really happy we get to go to playoffs. I knew my team would pull through. We get along so well."

Central Valley tripled its win total from a season ago.

The Hawks collected just two victories in 2011.

"I'm so proud of how we played this year," Jackson said. "The biggest thing I wanted was to see us improve as a whole. We did that. All the hard work paid off."

Ceres High won five of six singles and one of three doubles matches versus Central Valley last week.

Marifer Ochoa defeated Crystal Guzman 6-1, 6-2 in No. 1 singles play.

Kaylee Donovan defeated Elizabeth Mejia 6-0, 6-1 in No. 2 singles play.

Kiran Kainth defeated Julie Avila 6-2, 6-1 in No. 4 singles play.

Lizzy Magana defeated Emely Amaya 6-4, 6-4 in No. 5 singles play.

Kim Ochoa defeated Ana Arellano 7-6 (7-5), 7-6 (7-4) in No. 6 singles play.\

Bianca Deanda and Angelica Slater defeated Karla Delgado and Gabriela Romo 6-4, 6-4 in No. 3 doubles play.

Justine Vega and Jolyce Vega lost 6-0, 6-0 to Deja Jackson and Ali Martinez in No. 1 doubles play.

Gabby Blandino and Laura Cahill lost 6-4, 3-6, 10-7 to Virdiana Gomez and Marcela Sanchez in No. 2 doubles play.

Manpreet Bahia lost 6-4, 2-6, 6-4 to Jasmine Martinez in No. 3 singles play.

Kim Ochoa's hard-fought victory gave the Bulldogs an insurmountable 6-2 lead.

Kim overcame a 3-0 deficit in the second set.

Ochoa beat Arellano 6-1, 6-2 earlier this season.

"She really came prepared to play," Kim said. "I kept a positive, mental attitude."

Vying for its first-ever playoff berth, Central Valley just fell short of its goal.

The Hawks lose 10 of their 12 players to graduation.

"It's a little disappointing but the girls played really hard," Central Valley head coach Mike Rodriguez said. "We had a good year. We set a new bar for tennis. This is the best team we've had."