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Coaches reward waterpolo players
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The Ceres High varsity boys and girls water polo teams placed third and fourth, respectively, in the Modesto Metro Conference standings this year. The boys advanced to the playoffs. The girls just missed out.

Members of both programs celebrated their accomplishments at an award banquet in Turlock on Friday. About 70 people gathered at coach Sonja Raynes' mother's house.

Varsity boys winners were: Joey Rossi, Markus Richter, Miguel Castillo and Vince Wester.

Rossi won the Most Valuable Player award. The senior tallied a school-record 131 goals. He shattered his own mark of 125, which was set last year. Rossi also had a team-high 39 steals and 23 assists.

“I had to reward him,” Raynes said. “He brought a work ethic to the program that is undeniable. He was always the first one in the pool.”

Rossi and Markus Richter won the Team Captains award, voted on by players.

Richter was the Bulldogs' top defender. The senior guarded the hole set. He had 26 goals, 28 steals and eight assists.

“He was an unsung hero,” Raynes said. “He was taking abuse on defense.”

Castillo won the Most Improved award. The junior goalie was rewarded for making a huge sacrifice.

“He had a desire to play in the field at the beginning of the year,” Raynes said. “But he knew we had no trained goalies. That's a sign of a team guy.”

Castillo averaged six blocks per game. He totaled 170 saves.

“His reaction time and passing got better,” Raynes said.

Wester won the Coach's award. The sophomore was a defensive standout. He also scored 13 goals.

“He was rewarded for his positiveness and dedication,” Raynes said.

Three boys earned all-MMC honors, including Rossi, Castillo and Vitaly Polovin.

Rossi made the first team.

“He was nominated for MVP for the league,” Raynes.

Polovin garnered second-team, all-league honors. The junior tallied 42 goals, 14 steals and eight assists.

“He contributed a lot this year,” Raynes said.

“We're going to have to rely on him more next season.”

Castillo was an honorable-mention selection.

Varsity girls winners were: Lauren Griffin, Katie Griffith, Amber Allen and Tania Colon.

Griffin and Griffith shared the MVP award.

“They deserved it,” Ceres coach Lesley Willems said. “I feel we couldn't have gone as far as we did without either one of them. They played to each other's strengths.”

Allen won the Most Improved award. The junior played goalie.

“She was one of the hardest workers,” Willems said. “She always asked questions.”

Griffin won the Team Captains award.

“She was the strongest leader on the team,” Willems said. “She was the one the girls looked up to the most.”

Junior Tania Colon won the Coach's award. The first-year player attended every practice.

“She has a heart of gold,” Willems said. “I wish I had more girls like that.”

Ceres High JV girls coach Brian Kline presented personalized mugs to all seven of his players, including Kimberly Neri, Laura Goblirsch, Myranda Aguilera, Brittany Lusk, Sara Walters, Kelly Yoder and Jayme Westbrook. The Bulldogs compiled a 14-9 overall record and tied for second in the league standings at 7-3.

Goblirsch also won the Team Captains award. She tallied 31 goals and 11 assists. - By DALE BUTLER / Staff reporter of the Ceres (Calif.) Courier