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CV tandem second-best at WAC tourney
Ceres High duo finishes in top 4 at doubles event
Central Valleys Manuel Lazcano (pictured serving) and Ruben Morales placed second while teaming up at the Western Athletic Conference doubles tournament last week in Ceres. - photo by DALE BUTLER/The Courier

Ruben Morales and Manuel Lazcano made history by becoming the first duo from Central Valley High School's varsity boys tennis team to qualify for the Sac-Joaquin Section Division-II Doubles Tournament.

Seeded third, Morales and Lazcano advanced by virtue of their runner-up finish at the Western Athletic Conference Championships last Thursday in Ceres.

"I thought they had a pretty good shot at getting to the finals," Hawks head coach Mike Rodriguez said. "They're our two best guys, skill-wise. They also got a pretty good draw."

Ruben and Manuel won three of their four matches.

"This is the first time they've played together in a live doubles match," Rodriguez said. "It's exciting. We've never had a boys team qualify for sections."

Morales and Lazcano lost 7-5, 6-0 to Patterson's top-seeded tandem of Julian Ramirez and Michael Cosio in the finals.

Ruben and Manuel never recovered after squandering a 5-4 lead in the opening set.

"Emotionally, it kind of drained them a little bit," Rodriguez said. "I tried to get them to refocus. There was another set."

Morales and Lazcano defeated second-seeded Oliver Calos and Joseph Vance of El Capitan 7-6 (7-2), 6-4 in the semifinals.

Morales and Lazcano overcame 2-1 deficits in both sets.

"It was a tight match," Rodriguez said.

Morales and Lazcano defeated Los Banos' Patrick Martinez and Max Bell 6-1, 6-2 in the quarterfinals.

Ruben and Manuel topped Ceres High's Bruno de la Torre and Charles Lo 6-4, 6-1 in the first round.

Central Valley's Henry Garcia and Roman Ortiz lost 7-5, 6-4 to Ceres High's Chris Padilla and Donnavin Koeurn in the first round.

Garcia and Ortiz fell behind 5-2 in the opening set and 4-1 in the second set.

"They battled back from huge deficits and still had chances to win," Rodriguez said. "They could have finished more points at the net."

Padilla and Koeurn lost 6-0, 6-0 to Ramirez and Cosio in the semifinals.