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CHS among top four teams in D-III playoffs
Bulldogs lose to Buffaloes in semifinal tennis round
Chris Padilla defeated John Demery 6-3, 6-3 in No. 3 singles play during host Ceres Highs thrilling 5-4 victory over Inderkum in the quarterfinals of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division-III playoffs. - photo by DALE BUTLER/The Courier

The Ceres High varsity boys tennis team's run of excellence this spring came to an end in the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs last week.

The Bulldogs compiled a 1-1 record en route to a top-four finish in the Division-III bracket.

"We had a good mindset (going into the tournament)," said Nolan McCaig, top singles player for Ceres High for the past four seasons. ‘We all believed we would be able to make it to the finals. We just fell short."
The Western Athletic Conference champion Bulldogs lost 6-3 to Valley Oak League champion Manteca in the semifinals on May 8.

The Buffaloes avenged a 5-4 loss suffered in the Division-III finals in 2015.

Manteca claimed the 2017 section crown with a 7-2 win over River City on May 11.

"They have a lot of talented players," McCaig said. "They have a good coach. I'm proud of how we did against them. We tried our best."

Second-seeded Ceres High won three of six singles and dropped all three doubles matches on its way to losing to top-seeded Manteca.

Nolan McCaig defeated Solman Aniss 6-0, 6-1 in No. 1 singles play.

Jorge Campos defeated Yok Whai Ma 6-2, 4-6, 10-8 in No. 4 singles play.

Darren Polanes defeated DeAngelo Caldera 6-4, 6-4 in No. 6 singles play.

Christian Pimentel lost 6-2, 6-0 to Si Hao Tang in No. 2 singles play.

Chris Padilla lost 6-0, 6-2 to Yok Eyh Ma in No. 3 singles play.

Donnavin Koeurn lost 7-5, 4-6 to Joseph Poncini in No. 5 singles play.

Juan Hernandez and Will Rodriguez lost 6-0, 6-2 to Dhillon Patel and Kevin Lin in No. 1 doubles play.

Erik Haro and Tony Heras lost 6-0, 6-1 to Cameron Gonzales and Jake Tolbert in No. 2 doubles play.

Gurraj Purewal and Tarandeep Singh lost 6-4, 6-3 to Robert Foo and Niko Plares in No. 3 doubles play.

Ceres High edged Tri-County Conference runner-up Inderkum 5-4 in the quarterfinals on May 3 in Ceres.

"It was a big challenge," McCaig said. "They were really talented. They had a lot of good players. Our team wanted it more."

Hernandez and Rodriguez topped Danapreet Singh and Davion Au 6-2, 4-6, 6-3 in No. 1 doubles play to secure the team victory.

"It was a really fun and exciting match," McCaig said. "I'm not surprised they won. They were emotional. They left it all on the court."

Purewal and Singh topped Alex Duong and Ernesto Sandoval 7-5, 6-1 in No. 3 doubles play.

Haro and Heras lost 6-1, 6-2 to Angel Dham and Victor Jones in No. 2 doubles play.

McCaig topped Archie Ghasami 6-1, 6-0 in No. 1 singles play.

Padilla topped John Demery 6-3, 6-3 in No. 3 singles play.

Koeurn topped Eric Mendoza 6-2, 6-2 in No. 5 singles play.

Pimentel lost 6-4, 2-6, 7-6 (7-4) to Ariel Hernandez in No. 2 singles play.

Campos lost 6-2, 6-3 to Dayne Lagazo in No. 4 singles play.

Polanes lost 7-6 (7-5), 6-2 to Collin Cooper in No. 6 singles play.

Ceres High continued its winning tradition this season by qualifying for the playoffs for the eighth year in a row.

The Bulldogs also placed first in the Western Athletic Conference for the third time in four years.

"We had a great season," McCaig said. "I'm really proud of everybody. Winning WAC is a big accomplishment. That was one of our goals. It made us work hard and push ourselves past our limits. I've worked with so many different players from my freshman to senior year. It's going to be hard moving on. But it's time to pass the torch. Their future is really bright. They'll have a chance to be at the top of the conference without me."