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CV boys hit hard by graduation, face rebuilding year
Central Valleys starting lineup will look drastically different this year. The Hawks lost seven starters to graduation, excluding junior Ruben Morales. Hell play No. 1 singles for the Hawks. - photo by DALE BUTLER/The Courier

Central Valley High School's varsity boys tennis program accomplished a first when it qualified for the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs during the 2013-14 school year.

The Hawks secured their second straight postseason berth last spring.

"It was a good run," Central Valley head coach Mike Rodriguez said. "Programs go through cycles. We finished ours. Now, we're starting over."

The Hawks are moving forward without eight of 12 starters from a season ago.

Alexis Villa (No. 2 singles), Edgar Castillo (No. 3 singles), Eric Morales (No. 4 singles), Brandyn Weis (No. 5 singles), Jorge Bustos (No. 6 singles), Nimrat Chahal (doubles), Julio Pena (doubles) and Navjot Kanda (doubles) were lost to graduation.

Luis Hernandez (No. 1 singles) moved back to Mexico.

Castillo earned first-team all-Western Athletic Conference honors his senior year.

Villla and Morales were both selected to the WAC Second Team.

Weis was an honorable-mention pick.

"We got some talent," said Rodriguez, 2015 WAC Coach of the Year. "But we lack experience. It's going to be an interesting year. We'll gauge where we're really at during the second round of league. It's going to take some time."

Central Valley returns seven players from the 2015 squad, including Ruben Morales (Jr.), Roman Ortiz (Jr.), Henry Garcia (Jr.), Jesus Cuevas (Jr.), Daniel Garrido (Jr.), Gurshan Chahal (Jr.) and Ralph Afortunado (Jr.).

Morales garnered second-team WAC accolades while contributing at No. 5 singles as a sophomore.

Ruben will start at No. 1 singles this season.

Manuel Lazcano (Jr.), Adrian Gomez (Fr.), Rogelio Perez (Fr.) and Juan Zaragoza (Fr.) are new to the team.

Lozcano transferred from Ceres High. He'll be eligible to play in April.

Manuel started at No. 3 doubles for the Bulldogs, who won the Sac-Joaquin Section Division-III crown, compiled a perfect 27-0 overall record and claimed their fourth consecutive WAC title in 2015.

"We're pretty athletic," Rodriguez said.

Central Valley's amassed a 19-6 record in WAC play since 2014. The Hawks won 10 of 12 matches en route to a second-place finish last year.

Ceres High has won 42 straight conference matches dating back to the 2012 season.

Central Valley has never beaten Ceres High in boys tennis. The Hawks have an all-time record of 0-18 versus the Bulldogs.

"They got some new people, too," Rodriguez said when asked if Central Valley would finally best Ceres High. "We'll see what happens."