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CV, CHS girls tennis programs qualify for Division-III playoffs
Ceres High's Angelica Slater, pictured left, and Central Valley's Emely Amaya helped lead their respective tennis teams to the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs. - photo by DALE BUTLER/The Courier

Central Valley’s and Ceres High’s varsity girls tennis teams both qualified for the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs this year.

“I think it’s great,” Bulldogs head coach Jack Jacques said. “Mike Rodriguez (Central Valley’s coach) does a great job over there. His girls really like him.”

The Hawks made history by securing their first-ever postseason berth.

The Bulldogs return to the playoffs following a one-year absence. Ceres High missed the postseason for the first time in six years in 2013.

“It’s good for the city,” Rodriguez said. “Both schools are experiencing success. You want to see schools from the same town do well. We’re both representing Ceres.”

Central Valley and Ceres High earned the Western Athletic Conference’s No. 2 and 3 postseason berths this year.

“It’s great to get in,” Jacques said. “Our hard work paid off.”

“I’m not surprised,” Central Valley No. 1 singles player Emely Amaya said while talking about her team’s success. “I knew we were going to have a good team this year.”

Second-place Central Valley compiled an impressive 10-2 record, losing twice to six-time WAC-champion Los Banos (12-0).

“I expected us to compete for a playoff berth because of our experience and athleticism,” Rodriguez said. “It was surprising we were able to go 10-2. This is the most competitive I’ve seen this league since we’ve been in the WAC.”

Third-place Ceres High won eight of its 12 conference matches.

The Bulldogs lost twice to both Central Valley and Los Banos.

Central Valley edged Ceres High twice by 5-4 scores.

The two teams split last season.

“I could see a lot more belief in Central Valley this year,” Jacques said.

Central Valley also collected a pair of one-point victories against fourth-place Livingston.

“We were separated by one match each time,” Rodriguez said. “It was neck and neck. Ceres High always has talent, and pretty good coaching and athletes.”

Central Valley and Ceres High posted a combined record of 18-6 in WAC play this year.

The Sac-Joaquin Section Division-III postseason tournament’s opening-round matches will be played on Nov. 4 at 2 p.m.

Central Valley will compete against Tri-County Conference runner-up Pioneer in Ceres.

Ceres High will travel to Modesto to face Valley Oak League No. 1 seed Central Catholic.

“I saw the bracket on Sunday,” Rodriguez said. “I’m pretty excited we get to host a match. It saves us an hour-and-a-half drive. It’s going to be tough. We can make it competitive as long as our girls stay relaxed and confident.”