Ceres High’s girls volleyball team had the talent but fell short of its expectations for the 2021 season.
Third-year head coach Kelly Heese thought the Bulldogs would vie for a top-three finish in the Western Athletic Conference standings and contend for a Sac-Joaquin Section playoff berth.
Ceres High showed flashes of competitiveness during the course of the season.
The Bulldogs just struggled to find consistency.
“It was a really difficult season,” Heese said. “They didn’t have the confidence in themselves that they should have had. That would have made a huge difference in the outcome of their season.”
Ceres High compiled a 2-11 record on its way to a last-place finish in the WAC standings.
The Bulldogs topped the Johansen Vikings and Grace Davis Spartans.
“I made it clear to everybody at the start of the season you have to work for your position,” Heese said. “There were a lot of changes that were made throughout the season.”
The Bulldogs won one of their final two matches of the season.
Ceres High rallied for a 3-2 (25-15, 17-25, 22-25, 25-18, 15-9) victory over visiting Grace Davis on Senior Night at Phil de la Porte Gymnasium on Oct. 20.
“Everything finally clicked,” Heese said. “It’s sad it took until the final game. Better late than never.”
Seniors Maryn Curry, Jamie Olvera, Kitiana Tuakalau and Priscilla Sequeira represented the Bulldogs for the last time.
They’ll be lost to graduation this June.
“The effort was there,” Heese said. “I’m going to miss them.”
Curry collected 26 assists, five kills, three digs and two aces in defeat.
Olvera had 26 digs.
Tuakalau tallied seven kills, four aces, three blocks and three digs.
Jada Harris had 14 kills and four blocks.
Abby Prado had 11 kills and nine digs.
Jazmyne Arendt had 11 digs, seven kills, four aces and two assists.
“They played together as a team,” Heese said.
Host Ceres High lost 3-0 to Mountain House on Oct. 18.
“We could have played better as a team,” Heese said.
Olvera led the Bulldogs with 15 digs.
Harris had eight kills and seven blocks.
Tuakalau added six kills, four blocks and two digs.
Ceres High played just a total of six matches in 2020.
Six contests were canceled due to COVID protocols.
The Bulldogs posted a 4-2 overall record and placed second in the WAC South standings (2-2).
“It takes a good, solid five years to build a program where you want it to be,” Heese said. “I want team players that are motivated. You have to put hard work in to receive rewards.”
Harris, Prado, Jazmyne Arendt, Dominique Arendt, Sehren Martinez and Ally Strehl could return to the team next fall.
“There’s a lot of room for growth,” Heese said.