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CV boys tennis squad closing in on first playoff berth
Central Valleys Edgar Castillo beat Central Catholics Sam Nicholson 6-0, 6-4 in No. 3 singles play last week in Ceres. - photo by DALE BUTLER/The Courier

Central Valley High School's varsity boys tennis team has never qualified for the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs.

The Hawks struggled to a 2-10 record Western Athletic Conference play last season.

This year's team has enjoyed a major turnaround.

"It's definitely nice to be on the winning side," Central Valley head coach Mike Rodriguez said. "We need to stay focused. We're only halfway through the year. The second half of league is usually tougher."

The second-place Hawks improved to 5-1 in the WAC after collecting a 7-2 win against Central Catholic on Monday, March 21 in Ceres.

The Raiders dropped to 3-2 in the league standings.

"I knew we'd be fighting for a playoff spot," Rodriguez said. "But I didn't know what our record would be. In the past, the kids were unsure of themselves. We're more experienced now. A lot of our players have been playing two to three years. They put the time in. We're getting some wins now. We're fighting for a playoff spot. It's pretty exciting."

Alexis Zigala defeated Central Catholic's Connor Garcia 6-2, 7-6 (7-5) in No. 2 singles play.

Edgar Castillo defeated Sam Nicholson 6-0, 6-4 in No. 3 singles play.

Eric Morales defeated Brendan Bedolla 2-6, 6-4, 6-2 in No. 4 singles play.

"It always takes him a while to figure out what the other guys is doing," Rodriguez said. "He makes the right adjustments."

Brandyn Weis defeated Juston Forte 6-1, 7-5 in No. 5 singles play.

Gerardo Rivas defeated Tyler Coleman 6-0, 6-1 in No. 6 singles play.

Jorge Bustos and Navjot Kanda defeated Tony Shen and Jared Alamo 6-4, 6-4 in No. 2 doubles play.

Julio Pena and Osvaldo Sanchez defeated John Forester and Andrew Jensen 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 in No. 3 doubles play.

Alexis Villa lost 6-0, 6-0 to Central Catholic's Conor Fenton in No. 1 singles play.

Ruben Morales and Nimrit Chahal lost 6-4, 6-1 to Joseph Minato and Mark Dunn in No. 1 doubles play.

Barring a major collapse, Central Valley should qualify for the postseason for the first time.

"We've been practicing hard every day," Rodriguez said. "I don't think the students are aware of how well we've done. I'm sure they will be once we clinch a playoff spot. We're in a good position. The kids are excited. They're confident."