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CHS girls water polo team striving for more success
Seniors Kassandra Armas (left) and Ninweh Gorges have been named co-captains of Ceres High’s varsity girls water polo program. Armas, Gorges and the Bulldogs plan to return to the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs for the third year in a row. - photo by Dale Butler

Ceres High’s varsity girls water polo team has accomplished a handful of firsts under head coach Stephen Dias’ guidance.

Expect to see continued success from the Bulldogs in 2018.

Ceres High has high expectations despite losing seven players to graduation, including Western Athletic Conference MVP Camryn Elness, and second-team all-league selections Emily Campidonica, Noelia De Leon and Savannah Zielke.

"They’re up for the challenge. They know they have to work hard and play as a team. It will be fun to see what they do.”
Coach Stephen Dias

“Every year is a new year,” Dias said. “Anytime you don’t make playoffs, it’s a letdown. To win league would be the ultimate. They’re up for the challenge. They know they have to work hard and play as a team. It will be fun to see what they do.”

The Bulldogs’ top returners are Camryn Silva (Sr.), Kassandra Armas (Sr.), Ninweh Gorges (Sr.) and Gisele Garcia (Sr.).

Ceres High’s top newcomers are Isabel Juarez (Sr.), Emily Wolff (Jr.), Katie Hensley (So.) and Elyse Cannella (Fr.).

Hanna Brown (Sr.), Yesenia Colunga (Sr.), Adriana Lopez (Sr.), Sabrina Taylor (Sr.) and Allison McAdams (So.) are also members of this year’s team.

Armas and Gorges have been named team captains.

“They made a huge effort to be there all summer long,” Dias said. “They showed some leadership skills. They know the game. They’re good encouragers. That’s what this team needs.”

Silva was selected to the WAC First Team for the second consecutive year last fall.

She led the Bulldogs in scoring with 81 goals.

“Camryn’s our top player,” Dias said. “If we finish first or second, she’ll be in the running for league MVP.”

Ceres High has a new goalkeeper in Juarez, who will start in place of Elness.

Isabel played the same position at the junior-varsity level in 2016.

“She wants to excel,” Dias said. “She’s got a lot to learn and knows it.”

Ceres High will compete in the revamped WAC in 2018, along with Los Banos, Pacheco, Patterson, Beyer, Johansen, Grace Davis and Mountain House.

Beyer, Johansen, Grace Davis and Mountain House joined the conference as part of the Sac-Joaquin Section’s league realignment plan.

Beyer, Johansen and Grace Davis relocated from the Modesto Metro Conference.

Mountain House is fielding its inaugural girls water polo team.

“The competition is going to be tougher from what I’m hearing,” Dias said. “It doesn’t mean my girls can rise to the occasion. We’re going to surprise some people.”

The Bulldogs compiled a 14-5 overall record, finished in second place in the WAC standings (7-2) for the second straight season, participated in the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs for the second consecutive year and defended their title at the McNair Tournament last fall.

For the second year in a row, Ceres High fell one victory shy of claiming its first-ever conference championship. Los Banos defended its WAC title.

Ceres High reached record heights under Dias’ guidance in 2016.

The Bulldogs posted a program-best 16-3 overall record, placed second in league play and advanced to the postseason.

Ceres High won its first 13 matches, a program-record for consecutive victories.

The Bulldogs also made history by claiming the McNair Tournament title for the first time.

Dias led Ceres High to its first-ever playoff appearance in 2012.