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Girls soccer coach has high hopes
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When Randy Cerny took over head coaching duties for the Ceres High varsity girls soccer team four years ago, he talked about the importance of competing year-round.

"You're going to see a much better brand of soccer at Ceres High School as a result of it," Cerny said.

Ceres failed to win a single game during Cerny's first year at the helm in 2002. In 2003, the Bulldogs snapped a 113-game losing streak in conference play and finished the year with a 5-17-2 record. Last season, Ceres went 8-14-2 overall.

"Every year, we keep improving," Cerny said.

"This year, I think we're going to surprise some teams. We'll be competitive."

Cerny assembled his team on Feb. 7. Approximately 12 players return from last year, including six seniors, Lucero Villasenor, Brittany Randle, Natali Martinez, Amy Kaur, Lupe Villasenor and Cynthia Brambila, two juniors, Yessenia Medina and Missy Breck, and four sophomores, Myrna Cadenas, Janeli Arreygue, Susane Lathsavong and Rachel Cordona.

"I'm pretty excited about our offense," Cerny said. "We're going to have all kinds of speed at halfback."

Lucero Villasenor (forward), Randle (defender), Martinez (defender), Cortes (forward/halfback), Medina (goalie), Cadenas (halfback) and Arreygue (midfielder) started last season.

Lucero was a second-team, all-league selection. She had a team-high 12 goals and four assists.

Randle was an honorable-mention selection.

She'll be relegated to the bench the entire season as she battles leukemia.

"It's going to be a tremendous loss," Cerny said.

"Her being on the sidelines could be an inspiration for them to play harder."

Martinez will be moved from fullback to sweeper in an attempt to fill Randle's void.

Cadenas has developed into a complete player. Cerny said she could earn all-league honors this year.

"She has improved so much," he said. "Last year, she had the speed. Now she has the speed and moves."

Ceres' top newcomers are freshmen Cynthia Gonzalez (defender) Caitlin Cerny (forward) and Kristen Garcia (forward), juniors Dominika Bonner (halfback) and Myda Guerrero (fullback), and seniors Tahnee Welch (fullback) and Angelica Legatos (goalie).

Gonzalez and Caitlin played for the under-14 Ceres Youth Soccer Organization's Earthquakes II team during the offseason.

The duo helped lead Ceres to a top-16 finish in Northern California.

"Cynthia's ahead of her game," Randy said. "She doesn't play like a freshman. She plays like a senior. She's been playing a lot of traveling ball her entire life."

Garcia was one of the top players on the under-14 Ceres Earthquakes I team.

The Bulldogs will be competing in a new league this season. Ceres and the five Modesto high schools, Beyer, Davis, Downey, Johansen and Modesto, formed the Modesto Metro Conference.

The top two teams make the playoffs.

"We're going to give it our best shot," Cerny said.

Ceres will play each team in league three times.

Ceres' toughest opponents will be Johansen, Beyer and Davis.

The Bulldogs defeated Davis for the first time in school history last year.

Ceres has never beaten Johansen or Beyer, the MMC's elite teams.

"I think this is the year we are going to change that," Cerny said. "I think we have a serious chance of taking at least a game from each of them. That's our goal."

Ceres will play all of its home games at a new soccer complex, which is located at Ceres River Bluff Regional Park.

"It's a much safer field," Cerny said.

The Bulldogs used to play at Walter White School. - By DALE BUTLER / Staff Reporter of The Ceres (Calif.) Courier