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Central Valley edges out Ceres High in girls tennis, earns crosstown bragging rights
Hawks improve all-time record versus Dawgs to 2-15
Ceres Highs Justine Vega defeated Central Valleys Evelyn Andrade in three sets, 6-4, 2-6, 6-4, in No. 5 singles play. - photo by DALE BUTLER/The Courier

Central Valley High School's varsity girls tennis team accomplished a first last season when it beat Ceres High for the first time in program history.

The 5-4 win snapped a seven-year, 15-match losing streak versus the crosstown Bulldogs.

The Hawks beat the Bulldogs for the second straight time, 5-4 on Sept. 23 at Ceres High.

"Everybody gets caught up in the Central Valley-Ceres High rivalry," Hawks head coach Mike Rodriguez said. "It doesn't matter who we beat as long as we win. Every match is the same. You don't get extra wins for beating a crosstown rival."

Central Valley improved to 3-0 in the Western Athletic Conference.

The Bulldogs dropped to 3-2 in the WAC standings.

"We're sitting in a good spot in league right now," Rodriguez said.

The Central Valley-Ceres High contest lasted close to four hours as six of the nine matches went three sets.

Central Valley appeared headed for an easy victory before Ceres High rallied.

"I was getting a little nervous," Rodriguez said. "They battled back and got it close. I knew the majority of the matches would be close. I've been looking at their scores. We should be playing this hard against every team."

Central Valley's Celest Lepe outlasted Bianca DeAnda, 6-3, 2-6, 7-6 (7), in No. 4 singles play. DeAnda battled back from a 5-2 deficit in the third set. The victory gave the Hawks a 4-2 lead.

Ceres High's Juliana Rosas and Stephanie Garcia defeated Central Valley's Chelsea Flores and Vanessa Monroy 6-3, 6-4 in No. 1 doubles play.

Ahead 4-3, Central Valley's Princess Pe secured the team victory.

Pe defeated Ceres High's Jolyce Vega 2-6, 7-6 (8), 7-5 in No. 6 singles play.

"This was her first singles match ever," said Rodriguez, who was forced to modify his lineup after No. 3 singles player Naomi Torres could not compete because of a foot injury. "She was nervous. She's good enough to play singles. She's a good athlete."

Emely Amaya defeated Ceres High's Angelica Slater 6-0, 6-0 in No. 1 singles play.

Jadah Jackson defeated Gabriella Blandino 6-3, 7-5 in No. 2 singles play.

Teresa Diaz defeated Janet Jimenez 4-6, 6-0, 6-4 in No. 3 singles play.

Ceres High's Justine Vega defeated Evelyn Andrade 6-4, 2-6, 6-4 in No. 5 singles play.

Andria Esho and Dominique Koeurn defeated Samantha Sotomayor and Amy Nguyen 6-1, 7-6 (5) in No. 2 doubles play.

Chelsea Heras and Jalani Blankenship defeated Maria Rojas and Sorrayar Sounthala 6-7 (5), 6-1, 6-1 in No. 3 doubles play.

"The girls worked hard," Rodriguez said. "They deserved to get a win."