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Bulldogs edge Hawks 6-3 in boys tennis
Chris Padilla helped lead Ceres Highs varsity boys tennis team to a third-place finish in the Western Athletic Conference standings this season. Padilla lost 6-2, 6-2 to Central Valleys Henry Garcia in No. 3 singles play on April 19. The host Bulldogs won the Western Athletic Conference meeting, 6-3. - photo by DALE BUTLER/The Courier

Eliminated from Western Athletic Conference title contention five days earlier, Ceres High School's varsity boys tennis team didn't want to see another one of its streaks come to an end.

"After losing to Patterson, I didn't know how the kids would respond," Bulldogs head coach Brandon Moring said.

Winners of four consecutive WAC crowns, Ceres High kept its perfect record versus crosstown-rival Central Valley intact with a hard-fought 6-3 home victory on April 19.

"It was a tough match," Moring said. "It could have gone either way."

The Bulldogs improved their all-time record against the Hawks to 20-0.

"The first time we played Central Valley this season, we were a different team," Moring said. "We were undefeated at the time and more confident. The effort was really good today. That's all you can ask for."

"There were a lot of competitive matches," Hawks head coach Mike Rodriguez said. "We'll have a shot at ending the streak next year. We'll see what happens."

Ceres High swept all three doubles matches during its rematch with Central Valley.

The Bulldogs' No. 1 doubles tandem of Charles Lo and Juan Hernandez defeated Daniel Garrido and Ivan Jimenez in straight sets, 6-2, 6-1.

Ozzie Carrillo and Adrian Covarrubias defeated Ralph Afortunado and Max Sanchez 6-4, 7-6 (7-4) in No. 2 doubles play. Carrillo and Covarrubias narrowly won the second-set tiebreaker.

Aiden Moore and Will Rodriguez rallied for a three-set (2-6, 6-2, 7-5) victory over Javier Palafox and Adrian Gomez in No. 3 doubles play.

Ceres High and Central Valley both won three singles matches.

Bulldog Nolan McCaig defeated Hawk Ruben Morales 6-0, 6-0 in No. 1 singles play.

Donnavin Koeurn defeated Jesus Cuevas 6-4, 6-3 in No. 5 singles play.

Jorge Campos defeated Roman Ortiz 6-0, 6-2 in No. 6 singles play.

Christian Pimentel lost 6-2, 6-7, 6-2 to Manuel Lazcano in No. 2 singles play.

Chris Padilla lost 6-2, 6-2 to Henry Garcia in No. 3 singles play.

Bruno de la Torre lost 6-3, 0-6, 7-6 to Juan Zaragoza in No. 4 singles play.

Lazcano was a late addition to Central Valley's team.

Manuel helped lead Ceres High to its first-ever Sac-Joaquin Section title, fourth straight WAC crown and sixth straight postseason berth while contributing at doubles last spring.

"He's been looking forward to playing them all year," Mike Rodriguez said. "It's his former team. He was ready. He won the first set pretty easily. He found his rhythm again in the third set."

"It wasn't a focus," Moring said while talking about seeing a former Bulldog representing the Hawks. "He's just another player from another team we tried to beat. He's a good kid. I still wish he played for Ceres High."

The Bulldogs (10-4, 8-4) secured the WAC's third and final playoff berth this season.
The Hawks (4-8) placed fifth in the conference standings.

"I think it's a step in the right direction," coach Rodriguez said. "With everyone coming back next year, we'll be experienced."

"I'm proud of my guys," Moring said. "They worked hard this year."