Central Valley High School's student-cheering section erupted.
After exchanging handshakes with Ceres High School varsity volleyball players, Leah Faamafi performed the Haka warrior dance while being surrounded by Hawk teammates.
"These girls have become my family," Faamafi said following Central Valley's 25-21, 25-8, 25-22 win over the Bulldogs on Nov. 4 at Phil de la Porte Gymnasium. "I'm sharing my tradition with them. It gets us pumped up."
The Hawks posted a 5-7 record on their way to a fourth-place finish in the Western Athletic Conference.
The Bulldogs (0-12) placed last in league play.
Central Valley and Ceres High finished at the bottom of the WAC standings a year ago with identical 2-10 records.
"Everyone's very excited about our year," Hawk sophomore standout Julia Ramsey said. "This is the first year volleyball has been talked about at our school. It's really encouraging. It makes us feel important. They care. Our new coach has brought us together and helped out with the mental part of our game."
Ramsey tallied 12 kills.
Faamafi added two kills and one block.
Mia Lorenzo led Central Valley with 20 digs and one kill.
Nicholette Mendez collected 14 assists, three aces and one dig.
Lexy Cordova tallied eight digs and two aces.
Elizabeth Olide had seven assists, six aces and three digs.
Lynaya Lerma had six blocks, four kills, two digs and one assist.
Mireiyah Pelayo had two kills.
Sarah McElroy had two aces.
Casey McCloskey and Erika Perez both had one block.
Jessica Arreola led the Bulldogs with 14 digs and one ace.
Ryleigh Honberger totaled 11 digs, five blocks and four kills.
Brooke Anderson contributed nine digs and five assists.
Fulu Tevaseu had eight digs, three kills and one assist.
Yvonne Verduzco had seven digs.
Valerie Hamilton had four kills, four digs, four aces and one assist.
Kaytlin Donaldson had four digs and one ace.
Edith Peralta and Nichole Parker both had three digs.
Sara Graham had two kills and one dig.
Cameron Diaz and Cassie Malabanan had one dig each.
Sabrina Baisdon had one assist.
"No one likes to lose," Bulldogs head coach Stephanie Hamilton said. "It was competitive. It was a fun match. We'll see them next season."
"This is what we worked all season for," Faamafi said. "We did everything right."
Ceres High owns a 9-7 head-to-head record versus Central Valley.
The Hawks have won the last six meetings.
Central Valley defeated Ceres High, 20-25, 25-18, 25-16, 25-12, earlier this season.
"The first time we played them, we were a little nervous," said Ramsey, a Hughson transfer. "We didn't know what to expect. We came in tonight wanting to win in three games. We knew we could. We set that goal in our mind. I love Central Valley. I'm really happy here. The volleyball team has been very accepting of me."
Ceres High led 20-16 in the third game against Central Valley during the second matchup. The Hawks used a 9-5 run to finish off the Bulldogs.
"I thought we'd get that one and go four," Stephanie Hamilton said. "They're still having a problem trying to finish. We'll work on that next year."
The Bulldogs graduate five players, including Anderson, Tevaseu, Verduzco, Peralta and Graham.
"They'll be missed," coach Hamilton said. "Losing seniors with experience is hard. You have to regroup as a team. We have some good talent coming back and up. We're going to try to take our program in an entire different direction next year. We're going to make key changes in regards to conditioning."
Central Valley spoiled host Ceres High's Senior Night.
The two teams competed in front of a rowdy crowd.
"We heard the support," Faamafi said. "It's amazing."
Added Ramsey: "It makes us want to win for us and them."
The Hawks avoided a major letdown by beating the Bulldogs.
Ceres High put up a fight in defeat.
"We never underestimate any team," Faamafi said.