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Hawks tennis team will rely on veterans
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Central Valley High School's varsity girls tennis team will be vying for a top four finish in the Valley Oak League.

The Hawks are coming off a respectable 6-8 campaign (fifth place). Central Valley won just one of 14 conference matches in 2006.

"We should actually do way better this year," senior April Hernandez said.

Added veteran Anna Polovin: "We're more experienced."

The Hawks return five of seven starters from last season, including Hernandez, Polovin (senior), Jessica Gutierrez (senior), Carissa Garcia (senior) and Jessica Rodriguez (junior).

Hernandez, Polovin, Gutierrez and Garcia are fourth-year players. Rodriguez joined the team as a freshman.

Jyoti Kanda (junior) also rejoined the team. She was a reserve player in 2007.

Central Valley's roster also includes 13 first-year players: Tiffany Dart (senior), Rocio Espinoza (senior), Ashley Laranjo (senior), Elizabeth Agustin (junior), Katherine Avila (junior), Shawntay Keene (junior), Ashley Orozco (junior), Alexandra Serna (junior), Mickayla Belcher (sophomore), Jessenia Gonzales (sophomore), Maricela Villasenor (sophomore), Elizabeth Yepez (sophomore) and Leiana Martinez (freshman).

The addition of first-year Lathrop High School brings the total of teams in the VOL to nine.

Sonora, Ceres High Oakdale, East Union, Central Valley, Sierra, Weston Ranch and Manteca placed first, second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth, respectively, a season ago.

The Hawks will play a total of 16 conference matches.

"We're going to be more competitive," Gutierrez said.

Central Valley has had three different head coaches in its four-year history. Roland Calagos directed the Hawks in 2005 and 2006.

Todd Russell stepped down following the 2007 season.

"It would be nice to have more consistency," Hernandez said.

Varsity softball coach Veronica Giddens replaced Russell, who moved back to his hometown of Reno. She'll be assisted by boys tennis players Jiro Godinez and Paul Sidhu.

"I don't know anything about tennis, but I know how to run a team," said Giddens, who volunteered after being recruited by athletic director Michelle Parrish.