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All-conference honors foe Ceres High water polo
CHS players earn high praise from WAC coaches
Ceres High varsity girls water polo standout Julia Pata was selected to the Western Athletic Conference First Team. Pata led the Bulldogs to a third-place finish in the WAC standings. - photo by DALE BUTLER/The Courier

Ceres High School's varsity girls water polo program showed a lot of improvement during the 2015 Western Athletic Conference season.

The Bulldogs compiled a 3-5 record on their way to a third-place finish in the WAC standings.

Ceres High tripled its win total from a year ago.

Bulldog teammates Julia Pata, Camryn Elness, Annie Connors, Kaitlyn Foster and Ashley Schmidt were recognized for their outstanding play in a vote by the conference's head coaches on Nov. 1 in Merced.

"They met my expectations," Ceres High head coach Stephen Dias said. "I'm very proud of them."

Pata was selected to the WAC First Team.

"Julia's a big threat in the water," Dias said. "She's fast. Not too many people can keep up with her. She has a strong shot. She hit the weight room over the summer. When I saw her, I was amazed. You could tell there was a physical difference. She has the potential to be MVP next year."

Elness earned second-team, all-WAC recognition while starring at goalkeeper.

"She showed no fear," Dias said. "That's a strong trait of a good goalie. I don't regret moving her up from JV. She worked hard this year."

Connors, Foster and Schmidt were honorable-mention selections.

Pata (Jr.), Elness (So.), Connors (Sr.), Foster (Jr.) and Schmidt (Sr.) helped lead the Bulldogs past Pacheco twice (19-8, 7-4) and Livingston once (9-7).

Pata totaled 14 goals despite being hounded by multiple defenders.

Schmidt had six goals.

Connors and Fosters chipped in with five goals apiece.

Elness tallied 36 blocks.

Ceres High's varsity boys water polo team had six players earn recognition during the Western Athletic Conference year-end coaches' meeting.

"They deserved it," Bulldogs head coach Tracy Bull said.

Senior Tim Campbell was selected to the WAC First Team.

Campbell scored a team-leading 31 goals.

"It was a no-brainer," Bull said. "He shoots the ball harder than anybody I've ever seen in high school. His release is so quick. People see him as one dimensional. He's actually a pretty good defender."

Senior Bobby Baranski and junior Logan Kier both garnered second-team all-conference honors.

Baranski ranked third on the team in scoring with 16 goals.

Kier, Ceres High's hole-set defender, had five goals on offense.

Tristan Freitas-Scott (Jr.), Xavier Camarillo (Jr.) and Blake Borba (Sr.) were honorable-mention picks.

"They worked hard," Bull said while praising Baranski, Kier, Freitas-Scott, Camarillo and Borba.

Freitas (17 goals) was the Bulldogs' second-leading scorer.

Camarillo (three goals) also contributed.

Borba totaled 109 saves at goalie.

The Bulldogs posted a 4-4 record while finishing third overall in the WAC standings.

Livingston defeated Ceres High 9-5 and earned the conference's second and final postseason berth.

The Bulldogs had their streak of consecutive playoff appearances snapped at three seasons.

"We had everything to play for and laid an egg," Bull said. "They outcoached and outplayed us. No excuses. We didn't deserve to get in."