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CHS, CV complete first volleyball season
Trenton Blanton suited up for Ceres High Schools inaugural varsity boys volleyball team this spring. The Bulldogs placed fourth in the Western Athletic Conference standings with an 8-6 record. - photo by DALE BUTLER/The Courier

Ceres High's and Central Valley's inaugural varsity boys volleyball teams placed fourth and seventh, respectively, in the Western Athletic Conference standings this spring.

The Bulldogs compiled an 8-6 record while finishing behind Stoneridge Christian (13-1), Patterson (12-2) and El Capitan (10-4).

The Hawks (2-12) finished ahead of last-place Los Banos (1-13).

Pacheco (7-7) and Livingston (3-9) took fifth and sixth, respectively.

"Our team did very well," Bulldogs head coach Darlene Tobler said. "We improved tremendously and became the team I always knew we were. It took some time and experience to get there."

Ceres High lost 3-2 (25-11, 23-25, 25-21, 24-26, 15-11) and 3-1 (25-22, 18-25, 25-23, 25-22) to WAC champion/Sac-Joaquin Section playoff qualifier Stoneridge Christian.

Ceres High split with postseason-participant El Capitan.

The Bulldogs defeated the Gauchos 3-0 (25-22, 25-23, 25-18) on April 18 at Phil de la Porte Gymnasium.

Junior Austin Crain led the way with 19 digs, two kills and two aces.

Senior Juan Palafox had 17 digs, four kills, one block and one ace.

Junior Wyatt Ogden had 12 assists, six digs, three blocks, three aces and two digs.

Sophomore Cristian Garcia had seven kils, five blocks, three digs and three assists

Ceres High also beat Livingston, Central Valley and Los Banos twice, and Pacheco once.

The Bulldogs earned bragging rights against the crosstown Hawks.

Ceres High bested host Central Valley 3-0 (26-24, 25-12, 25-21) on May 2.

Palafox had 16 digs, four kills, two assists and one block.

Junior Chris Lubinsky had 14 digs, two assists, one kill and one block.

Crain had 12 digs, four kills and one ace.

Ogden had nine digs, five assists, three kills and two blocks.

Garcia had six kills, four blocks, two assists and one ace.

Host Ceres High edged Central Valley 3-2 (25-11, 23-25, 25-21, 24-26, 15-11) on April 7 at Phil de la Porte Gymnasium.

Ogden had 26 assists, seven digs and three kills.

Palafox added 22 digs, nine kills, five aces, three assists and one block.

Garcia had 16 kills, six aces, two blocks, one dig and one assist.

Austin Crain had 15 digs, six kills and one assist.

Junior Jordan McGrath had nine kills, four blocks and one dig.

The Bulldogs amassed a 10-6 overall record.

Ceres High topped Big Valley Christian twice in non-conference play.

The Bulldogs reeled off five straight wins against WAC competition, beating Central Valley, Livingston, Pacheco, El Capitan and Los Banos.

"They exceeded my expectations," Tobler said. "It took half the season for us to start clicking and catch up to the other teams. They improved tremendously."

Ceres High's roster featured 11 players: Crain, Palafox, Ogden, Lubinsky, McGrath, Cristian Garcia, Brandon Garcia, Trenton Blanton, Eric Espinosa, Scott Osborn and Martin Tafolla.

Palafox, Blanton, Osborn, Tafolla and Brandon Garcia will be lost to graduation.

"We're sad it's over," Tobler said. "I'm proud of them. I'm really excited about where our team can go. We have a ton of potential. It's encouraging."

Central Valley beat Livingston and Los Banos.