Ceres High's varsity girls water polo team participated in the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs for just the second time in school history this past week.
The 12th-seeded Bulldogs lost 21-4 to the No. 5 Buhach Colony Thunder during their Division-II matchup Wednesday evening in Atwater.
"I didn't expect us to win," said Julia Pata, a four-year standout with Ceres High. "It would have been an upset. I just wanted us to play to the best of our ability. We made a lot of sloppy passes and they were able to counter us every time. We didn't have enough speed. We couldn't keep up with them. I don't know what else we could have done."
The Thunder improved to 20-8 on the year.
Buhach Colony placed second in the Central California Conference with a 10-2 mark.
The Bulldogs compiled a program-best 16-3 overall record this season.
Ceres High placed second in the Western Athletic Conference (7-2).
Jordan Pata, Julia's older sister, helped lead the Bulldogs to their first-ever playoff appearance in 2012.
"This is the best team I've been a part of," Julia said. "I couldn't have wished for a better season. We did amazing things in the water."
Pata, Kaitlyn Foster, Camryn Silva and Emily Campidonica all scored one goal against Buhach Colony.
Camryn Elness totaled 10 saves.
The contest was staged under the lights at Buhach Colony.
"It was so different," Pata said. "We're used to playing in the sun. We had to adjust to the way they're used to playing. It wasn't a huge factor in our loss. They were very skilled. We were outplayed."
The Bulldogs won their first 13 matches of the 2016 season.
Ceres High posted a perfect 4-0 record on its way to capturing the title at the Fourth Annual McNair Tournament.
The Bulldogs nearly made history, falling one victory shy of claiming their first league championship.
Los Banos edged Ceres High 8-7 for the WAC crown.
"To be completely honest, I was expecting a lot less," Pata said. "They (my teammates and coach) gave me the best senior season I could have asked for. We went from the very bottom to almost the top of league. We played so well together. It was an amazing experience being a part of that."