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CHS, CV field first-ever boys volleyball teams for spring
Bulldogs, Hawks maintain high expectations
A handful of football players joined Ceres Highs inaugural boys volleyball team, including standout quarterback Chris Lubinsky (pictured). - photo by DALE BUTLER/The Courier

Darlene Tobler and Kelly Heese will coach Ceres High's and Central Valley's first-ever varsity boys volleyball teams this spring.

The Hawks' girls squad experienced a major turnaround under Heese's guidance from 2013-15.

The Bulldogs' girls program improved drastically under Tobler's direction this past season.

"It's really exciting to coach the boys, too," Tobler said. "I'm very honored. We're starting from the ground up with fundamentals. I have a variety of athletes to work with. They're catching on quickly."

"I really enjoy having her (Tobler) as a coach," Ceres High junior Chris Lubinsky said. "She's made it enjoyable and teaches us at the same time. She's a good coach."

"Coach (Heese) is very helpful," Central Valley junior Robert Perez said. "She doesn't focus on just one player. She wants the whole team to work together and succeed. She wants to make something out of this."

The Hawks' nine-person roster features: Perez, Cristian Guerrero (Sr.), Luis Madrigal (Sr.), Rafael Sanchez (Sr.), Lino Uti (Sr.), Miguel Viayra (Sr.), Adrian Calvo (Jr.), Jacob Guerrero (Jr.) and Brandon Ulloa (Jr.).

Perez's main sport is soccer. He teamed up with Calvo, Madrigal, Cristian Guerrero and Jacob Guerrero this past fall.

"I'll have the same competitive mindset for volleyball," Robert said. "At first, I thought you just showed up and played. There are a lot of rules to follow. I want to win. I hate losing. We have a pretty good team. We don't have a lot of height. But we're very athletic. If we play as a team, we'll go far."

Ceres High's roster consists of 11 players: Lubinsky, Trenton Blanton (Sr.), Brandon Garcia (Sr.), Scott Osborn (Sr.), Juan Palafox (Sr.), Martin Tafolla (Sr.), Austin Crain (Jr.), Eric Espinosa (Jr.), Jordan McGrath (Jr.), Wyatt Ogden (Jr.) and Cristian Garcia (So.).

Lubinsky, Blanton, Osborn, Palafox, Crain, Espinosa and Ogden played football together.

"I'm excited," Lubinsky said. "We got a good group of guys. We all enjoy the game. It's cool being part of the first team. We want it to be a memorable season. We'll do whatever we can to impact the game. We want to leave our mark."

Ceres High, Central Valley, Patterson, Livingston, Los Banos, Pacheco, El Capitan and Stone Ridge Christian make up the Western Athletic Conference.

The top three teams qualify for the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs.

"It's a pretty complex sport," Tobler said. "There's a lot to learn and they're retaining it pretty well. I'm really thrilled to see how serious they're taking it. They want to do the best they can. They have the drive to win. They're very competitive. They just have to put what they learn into action. The biggest part of volleyball is trusting your teammates."

"We're pretty athletic," Lubinsky said. "I don't see why we can't make playoffs. If we figure everything out, we'll have a pretty good chance at competing for the league title. It's going to be fun. I'm excited."

"I think we can go far," Ogden said.

"We have to grind every day to get better," Crain said.