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Ceres High, Central Valley varsity boys tennis programs expect to do well again
Alexis Villa and Central Valley hope to build on last seasons success. The Hawks qualified for the postseason for the first time.

Ceres High's varsity boys tennis team maintained its winning tradition last season by capturing its third consecutive Western Athletic Conference crown and qualifying for the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs for the fifth straight year.

Crosstown-rival Central Valley experienced a breakthrough campaign as it advanced to the postseason for the first time.

The Bulldogs and Hawks both expect to compete at a high level once again.

"Nothing's guaranteed," Central Valley head coach Mike Rodriguez said. "If we play like we're capable of, we should be right back in the playoffs."

"We've been fortunate enough to do well," Ceres High head coach Bryan Harden said. "We're always expected to win. That's not always easy to do."

The Bulldogs bring back 12 players from a year ago, including Julio Ochoa (Sr.), Nolan McCaig (So.), Chase Harden (Sr.), Rene Cortes (Sr.), Jose Ortega (Sr.), Bruno de la Torres (Jr.), Juan Jimenez (Sr.), Jorge Ruiz (Sr.), Julian Rodriguez (Sr.), Alex Torres (Jr.), Manuel Lozcano (So.) and Charles Lo (Jr.).

Jose Ortega (Sr.) is new to the team.

Ochoa, McCaig, Harden, Cortes, Ortega and de la Torre fill singles spots in Ceres High's lineup.

Jimenez, Phommalinh, Ruiz, Rodriguez, Torres, Lozcano and Lo will contribute at doubles.

McCaig brought home a second-place medal from the Sac-Joaquin Section Division-II Championships his freshman year. Nolan (30-1) lost just one match all year. He posted a perfect 13-0 record on his way to claiming the WAC singles crown.

McCaig and Ochoa were voted WAC co-MVPs.

Ochoa and Harden finished in second place at the Division-II doubles tournament. Julio and Chase took first while teaming up at the WAC finals.

"Our team is going to be really good this year," McCaig said. "We have the right mindset. We're confident. We're going to try our best."

Alexis Villa (Sr.), Edgar Castillo (Sr.), Eric Morales (Sr.), Ruben Morales (So.), Brandyn Weis (Sr.), Jorge Bustos (Sr.), Navjot Kanda (Sr.), Julio Pena (Sr.), Nimrat Chahal (Sr.), Jesus Cuevas (So.), Larry Garcia (Sr.), Roman Ortiz (So.), Daniel Garrido (So.) and Eduardo Gonzalez (Fr.) will all see playing time with Central Valley this season.

Villa, Castillo, Weis, Bustos, Kanda, Pena, Chahal, Cuevas, Ortiz, Eric Morales and Ruben Morales are returners.

Garcia, Garrido and Gonzalez are newcomers.

Alexis, Edgar, Eric, Eric, Ruben and Jorge play singles.

Kanda, Pena, Chahal, Cuevas, Garcia, Ortiz, Garrido and Gonzalez play doubles.

"The majority of our guys played last year," Rodriguez said. "We got a lot of experience. Getting back to the playoffs is a realistic goal. It will be a good achievement."

Ceres High compiled a 29-1 overall record, advanced to the semifinals of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division-II playoffs and won its third straight WAC title (12-0) in 2014.

The Bulldogs also extended their unbeaten streak in WAC play to 31 matches.

Central Valley qualified for the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs, posted a 9-6 overall record and finished third in the WAC standings (9-4).

"It's nice to know the hard work the kids have put in is paying off," coach Harden said. "We like to have fun. We don't worry about losing. We want to win everything. It's not going to be a cakewalk. Central Valley will be our biggest challenge. They have depth."

"They're definitely the team to beat," Rodriguez said. "They're always tough."