Julia Pata, a third-year standout on Ceres High's varsity girls water polo team, commands a double team whenever she's in the pool.
"Bumps," Julia said. "Bruises. I don't know how many times I've had scratches on my face."
Pata scored one goal during Ceres High's 8-4 loss to visiting Los Banos on Oct. 6.
"It's been a rough road not making shots," said Pata, who was selected to the Western Athletic Conference Second Team her junior year. "I just got to keep shooting. I have to do my best for my team."
The Bulldogs dropped to 1-2 in the Western Athletic Conference standings.
Ceres High's Katie Allen, Annie Connors and Kaitlyn Foster all had one goal against the Tigers (2-1).
The Bulldogs trailed 6-2 at intermission.
Each team scored twice in the second half.
Ceres High played shorthanded during parts of the contest due to five kickouts.
Los Banos received just two kickouts for physical play.
"We played really hard," Pata said. "That's the best we've ever done against Los Banos. We got better in the second half."
Pata and Ceres High have lost five games in a row to Los Banos since 2013.
"Today's match was a lot more competitive," she said. "We played very well. We just need to work on our communication and passing a lot. I think we're going to be pretty good this year."
In desperate need of a spark on offense, the Bulldogs are considering changing their style of play.
Ceres High players have been working on counterattacks at practice.
"We're not ready to put it into a game yet," Pata said. "It's a work in progress."
Pata also talked about the possibility of qualifying for the postseason.
Ceres High last participated in the playoffs in 2012.
The Bulldogs posted a 1-7 record on their way to a last-place finish in the 2014 WAC standings.
"If we play together, we'll have a chance," Pata said.