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Dawgs closing in on first-ever postseason berth
Sophomore Christian Murry had 36 digs and 11 kills during the Ceres High varsity boys volleyball teams 3-1 victory at Los Banos on April 13. - photo by Courier file photo

Barring a major collapse, Ceres High's varsity boys volleyball program will qualify for the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs for the first time in just its second year of existence.

"From day one, I saw the potential," head coach Darlene Tobler said. "We have everything we need to be successful. It was just a matter of working out the kinks. We're reaching for the same goal. We want to make history."

The Bulldogs improved to 17-9 overall and moved into a tie for second place with Los Banos in the Western Athletic Conference standings (7-4) after topping the host Tigers 3-1 (24-26, 25-23, 29-27, 25-23) on April 13.

The Tigers won the previous two meetings (3-1, 3-2).

"We had the right mindset," Tobler said. "We worked really well together. We stayed united."

Christian Murry led the Bulldogs with 36 digs and 11 kills.

Gustavo Hernandez had 21 assists, 18 digs and two kills.

Chris Lubinsky had 17 digs, two kills and one block.

Eduardo Torres had 17 digs and one assist.

Ivan Arita had 15 digs and five kills.

Cristian Garcia had 14 kills, eight digs, six blocks and one ace.

Jordan McGrath had seven blocks, seven digs and five kills.

Host Ceres High posted a 3-0 (25-17, 25-16, 25-22) victory over crosstown-rival Central Valley on April 10 at Phil de la Porte Gymnasium.

"The coaches and kids all get along great," Tobler said. "There's no tension or animosity. We go out there and have a good time."

McGrath led the Bulldogs with 15 blocks, two digs, one kill and one ace.

Murry added 12 digs, three assists, two kills, two aces and one block.

Lubinsky had 10 digs, three aces, two kills and one block.

Hernandez had eight assists, seven digs, one kill and one ace.

Garcia had eight kills, four digs, three blocks and one assist.

Arita had seven digs, three blocks, two kills and one ace during his debut at the varsity level.

Prabh Singh had four digs and one assist.

Vinay Soni had one kill and one dig.

"Everybody got to play," Tobler said.

The Bulldogs swept the Hawks in three games on March 23.

Ceres High finished fourth overall in the WAC standings (8-6) last spring.

The Bulldogs are doing better this year despite competing with a revamped roster. Ceres High lost four key players, including one to graduation.

"I'm very happy we're in the running for playoffs," Tobler said. "We worked really hard for it."

Ceres High's final four conference matches are against Patterson (11-0), Livingston (2-8), Pacheco (3-8) and Central Valley (2-8).

The top three teams in the WAC advance to the postseason.

"My team has changed," Tobler said. "They're working really hard. They're very supportive of each other. They're motivated to be successful. They all have the same goal. They got the right mindset. I'm really proud of them."