By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Ceres High improves its all-time record versus Central Valley to 15-0
Bulldogs extend unbeaten streak in conference play
Nolan McCaig helped lead Ceres Highs varsity boys tennis team to its 25th straight conference victory last week. The Bulldogs won eight of nine matches versus the crosstown Hawks on March 18. - photo by DALE BUTLER/The Courier

Ceres High's and Central Valley's varsity boys tennis teams had perfect records in Western Athletic Conference play prior to facing off on March 18.

The Bulldogs extended two streaks without two-time WAC-singles champion Julio Ochoa, who was sidelined with shoulder and elbow soreness.

Ceres High prevailed 8-1 at home and improved its all-time record versus the crosstown Hawks to 15-0.

The Bulldogs (15-0, 6-0) have won 25 straight WAC matches dating back to the 2012 season.

"Honestly, I don't get nervous before matches because I've been doing this for so long," Ceres High head coach Bryan Harden said. "But you just never know. Central Valley's a lot stronger this year."

"I hope it never ends," Bulldogs No. 3 singles player Chase Harden said while talking about Ceres High's dominance against Central Valley. "A lot of it has to do with coaching. We're also lucky enough to have the players we have."

"Our program's on the upswing," Central Valley head coach Mike Rodriguez said. "Our confidence level is pretty good right now. Our main focus is getting to the playoffs. We're in a good spot. We control our own destiny."

The first-place Bulldogs won five of six singles and all three doubles matches versus the second-place Hawks (4-1) last week.

Harden defeated Edgar Castillo 6-0, 6-1 in No. 3 singles play.

Freshman Nolan McCaig defeated Central Valley's Alexis Zigala 6-1, 6-0 in No. 1 singles play.

Alick Liang defeated Alexis Villa 6-1, 6-1 in No. 2 singles play.

Rene Cortes defeated Eric Morales 6-0, 6-3 in No. 4 singles play.

Jordan Mey defeated Brandyn Weis 6-4, 6-0 in No. 5 singles play.

Juan Jimenez and Shane Kumar defeated Ruben Morales and Nimrit Chahal 6-2, 6-2 in No. 1 doubles play.

Heath Adrian and Dennis Phommalinh defeated Jorge Bustos and Navjot Kanda 6-3, 6-4 in No. 2 doubles play.

Julian Rodriguez and Waleed Majeed defeated Jesus Cuevas and Osvaldo Sanchez 4-6, 6-1, 7-6 (8-6) in No. 3 doubles play.

Jorge Ruiz lost 7-6 (7-2), 7-6 (7-5) to Central Valley's Gerardo Rivas in No. 6 singles play.

"We were feeling pretty confident," Chase Harden said. "We weren't too worried. We thought the match would be more competitive because we're crosstown rivals. We're glad to come out on top. It feels really good."

"They were pretty competitive, especially in the doubles," Bryan Harden added. "They battled."

Ceres High snapped Central Valley's four-match unbeaten streak.

"I'm not surprised," Rodriguez said. "They're at another level compared to all the other teams in the WAC. They're consistent and deep. Give them credit."

The Bulldogs continued their run of perfection against the Hawks.

Ceres High and Central Valley clashed for the first time in 2007.

"The streak will end," Rodriguez said. "Eventually, those guys got to graduate and start fresh."

Ceres High enjoyed its most successful season to date in 2013.

The Bulldogs compiled an impressive 30-2 overall record, brought home a second-place trophy from the Sac-Joaquin Section Division-II Tournament, captured their second consecutive WAC championship (12-0) and qualified for the playoffs for the fourth year in a row.

"It's motivating us," said Chase Harden, whose team fell one victory shy of capturing a section title this past season. "We were so close. We really want to get it this year. I'm pretty confident we'll be able to stay focused."