Ceres High's varsity boys water polo team fell behind 3-0 in the first period and never recovered in losing 9-6 to visiting Pacheco on Oct. 9.
"We beat ourselves," Bulldogs' head coach Bill Campbell said. "We didn't play very well."
Ceres High (7-6, 2-2) dropped into a tie for second place in the Western Athletic Conference standings with Los Banos.
The first-place Panthers (3-0) kept their perfect record intact against WAC competition.
The top two teams in the WAC qualify for the playoffs at the end of the regular season.
"There are too many variables to worry about," Campbell said. "We just have to win some games."
The Panthers edged the Bulldogs 12-10 on Sept. 27 in Los Banos.
Ceres High battled back after struggling in the opening seven minutes during the second meeting.
The Bulldogs and Panthers each scored six goals the rest of the match.
"It was pretty equal after that," Campbell said. "It was back and forth."
David Johnson led the Bulldogs in scoring with four goals.
Ethan Letras and Elliott Lewis both collected one goal.
Caleb Canella had a busy day at goalkeeper with a 20-save effort.
Ceres High and Pacheco will meet for the third and final time today in Los Banos.
The contest will get underway at 5 p.m.
"We haven't played to our potential against them yet," Campbell said.
Ceres High and Los Banos were supposed to face off last week in Ceres.
The match was resheduled due to poor air quality from California wildfires.
"All games were canceled on Wednesday because of the smoky conditions," Campbell said.
CHS girls dominate
Ceres High's second-place varsity girls water polo team was supposed to compete twice last week.
Wednesday's match against undefeated Los Banos was postponed due to unhealthy weather conditions.
"We were upset we didn't get to play," Bulldogs' head coach Stephen Dias said. "We were ready. We want to beat them and get momentum."
Ceres High lost 12-8 at Los Banos on Oct. 2.
The Tigers edged out the Bulldogs for the WAC title a season ago.
Los Banos (4-0) had a one-game lead over Ceres High (3-1) in the 2017 conference standings as of Monday morning. "We want to take first," Dias said. "It's within our grasp."
Host Ceres High improved to 3-1 in conference play after routing Pacheco 18-2 on Oct. 9.
Camryn Silva led the Bulldogs in scoring with five goals. Emily Campidonica and Savannah Zielke contributed four goals each.
Camryn Elness totaled five saves at goalkeeper.