By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Dawgs win share of VOL title, qualify for playoffs
Ceres High's varsity girls tennis team shut out crosstown rival Central Valley 5-0 on the road last Thursday to claim a share of the Valley Oak League title and one of the conference's two playoff berths.

The victory eliminated second-place Sonora from postseason consideration.

"I didn't sense any nervousness," Bulldogs head coach Bryan Harden said when asked about the mood of his players leading up to the must-win contest. "But there was some urgency. They knew we had to have that match. They took care of business. I can't be any more prouder of the girls."

Ceres High and Oakdale finished atop the VOL regular season standings with identical 12-2 records. The Hawks tied for fifth place with East Union and Weston Ranch at 4-10.

The VOL singles and doubles tournaments will be held this week in Manteca.

"The biggest thing we did as a team is we continued to improve as the season went on," Harden said. "We also finished strong. That's what you want to see as a coach."

Ceres High took all three singles and both doubles matches from the Hawks.

"I tip my hat to Central Valley," Harden said. "They kept fighting. They didn't lay down for us."

McKenzy Harden improved to 28-0 on the year with a 6-1, 6-1 triumph over Anna Polovin at No. 1 singles.

Venus Lopez edged Jessica Rodriguez in three sets, 7-5, 2-6, 6-4, at No. 2 singles.

Angie Prak defeated Jyoti Kanda 6-1, 6-0 at No. 3 singles to avenge an earlier season loss.

Ryan Norton and Morgan Ogden teamed up to beat April Hernandez and Alex Serna 6-2, 6-2 at No. 1 doubles.

Natalie Flores and Kaycee Creek handled Rocio Espinoza and Mickayla Belcher 6-0, 6-1 at No. 2 doubles.

Ceres High managed to tie for first in league with Oakdale this year despite returning three of seven starters from 2007, including McKenzy, Angie and Natalie.

"We went from second to first," Bryan said. "The kids worked hard. They deserve to be where they are. Hopefully, we're not done."

Ceres High will flip a coin with Oakdale to determine the VOL's No. 1 and 2 seeds for the Sac-Joaquin Section Division II Playoffs. First-round matches will be played on Nov. 10.