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Bulldogs plan to build on their tradition of excellence
Ceres Highs varsity girls tennis program returns a host of talent from last years team, including singles player Vivian Moreno (pictured). Moreno helped lead the Bulldogs to a third-place finish in the Western Athletic Conference standings (8-7) and eighth Sac-Joaquin Section playoff appearance in 10 seasons in 2016. - photo by DALE BUTLER/The Courier

Ceres High's varsity girls tennis program has participated in the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs eight out of the past 10 years.

The Bulldogs will look to continue their run of consistency under first-year head coach Vince Vega's guidance this fall.

Vega replaced 90-year-old Jack Lackey, who guided Ceres High to a third-place finish in the Western Athletic Conference and an appearance in the Division-III postseason tournament during his lone season at the helm.

Lackey stepped down because he missed his regular routine of playing tennis twice a week, working out at the gym and doing Tai Chi with his wife.

"They were having a hard time finding a coach," said Vega, who teaches Spanish at the school. "I played tennis back in the day for fun. I'm very familiar with the rules. I want the girls to do their best and remember they're representing the school. The most important thing in sports is showing sportsmanship."

The Bulldogs welcome back a dozen players from last year's team, including starters Shania Evans (Jr.), Vivian Moreno (Jr.), Camille Vega (Jr.), Harmen Bahia (Sr.), Ariel Coria (Sr.), Kayla Sierras (Sr.), Morgan Bejaran (Jr.) and Tania Garfias (So.).

Other returnees include Gurman Bahia (So.), Monica Esparza (So.), Christel Ontiveros (So.) and Vanessa Salas (So.).

Andria Esho (No. 1 singles), Dominique Koeurn (No. 2 singles), Azia Brewster (No. 3 singles) and Sarah Cuevas (No. 1 doubles) were lost to graduation.

"We're looking forward to competing," Vince Vega said. "We have very strong players. I want them to excel every time. I want them to improve their skills. That's my expectation for them."

Evans and Moreno will play No. 1 and 2 singles, respectively, this year.

Shania compiled a near-perfect 14-1 record at No. 6 singles as a sophomore.

Vivian started at No. 4 singles a season ago.

"They're our top two players," coach Vega said. "They have very good skills."
Ceres High posted an 8-7 record on its way to a third-place finish in the Western Athletic Conference in 2016.

Los Banos (15-0) claimed the WAC title.

Patterson (10-5), Central Valley (7-8), Pacheco (4-11) and Livingston (1-14) placed second, fourth, fifth and sixth, respectively.

Ceres High edged out crosstown-rival Central Valley 5-4 on the last day of the regular season to capture the conference's third and final playoff berth.

The Bulldogs lost the previous two meetings by identical 5-4 scores.

Ceres High improved its all-time record against Central Valley to 16-7.

"We have experience," coach Vega said. "Our goal is to get to the playoffs. We'll just have to wait and see what happens."

Vega has two volunteer assistant coaches in former Ceres High boys tennis standout David Brazil and current Bulldogs player Tony Heras.

"I'm very thankful I have helpers," Vince said.