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Dawgs avenge setback in volleyball
The Ceres High varsity volleyball team had plenty of motivation for its final game of the regular season.

The Bulldogs beat host and intra-city rival Central Valley 3-1 (25-11, 19-25, 25-15, 25-13) on Tuesday, Oct. 30.

The win served as redemption for Ceres High, which blew a two games to none deficit in losing 23-25, 19-15, 25-19, 25-19, 15-13 to the Hawks on Oct. 2 at Phil de la Porte Gymnasium.

"We played timid in the third, fourth and fifth games last time," Bulldogs coach Kassi Baker said. "Tonight, we played with confidence and went hard the whole entire time we were on the court."

"They were a better team this time," Central Valley coach Debb Causey said. "They were much more organized."

Jode Johnson had eight digs, five aces and three blocks to lead the sixth-place Bulldogs (4-10). Chelsea Lomeli tallied 23 assists and five aces. Kaylee Brown added 10 kills and three blocks.

"It's just good to come out on top this time," Johnson said. "It would have been a disgrace to lose again."

Crystal Gutierrez had six aces and four kills for last-place Central Valley (1-13). Julie Calderon, Kaela Causey and Natalie Melton contributed five assists, three digs and two blocks, respectively.

"I'm not disappointed with their performance," coach Causey said. "The girls fought hard. They didn't give up. They didn't revert back to bad habits. Both teams wanted it so bad."

Johnson and Brown dominated at the net on both offense and defense for Ceres High. Lomeli earned praise for her precise setting. Chelsea and Jode also served with high efficiency.

The Bulldogs held a slim 14-11 lead before pulling away in Game 1. With Johnson serving, Ceres High reeled off 11 straight points to secure the victory.

There were nine ties and 10 lead changes in Game 2, which Central Valley won thanks in large part to a 7-0 surge.

"They just wanted to make it tough on us and we came back," Johnson said.

The Bulldogs accounted for 20 of the final 30 points in Game 3, which featured four ties in the early going.

Central Valley jumped out to a 4-0 lead in Game 4. Ceres High responded with a 25-9 flurry.

"We just went flat and Ceres took advantage of it," coach Causey said.

"Our serves and spikes were on," Johnson added.

Players and coaches exchanged handshakes and hugs following the ultimate showdown. The two teams warmed up together during the JV contest.

"I'm glad the girls get along," coach Causey said. "It's nice when we can keep it that way."

"I don't see it as a rivalry yet because they're still so close," Baker said. "For the kids, I know it's a big thing."