Ceres High School's varsity girls golf team will be favored to win the Western Athletic Conference title in 2014.
"We have an opportunity to make history," head coach Randy Cerny said. "I'm totally confident we'll achieve our goal. I just need to keep them focused and make sure they don't become overconfident."
Powerhouse Central Catholic joined the Valley Oak League as part of conference realignment. The Raiders, winners of 12 league titles in the past 14 years, compiled a perfect 8-0 head-to-head record versus the Bulldogs from 2010-13.
"I would have liked to have gone up against Central Catholic this year," Cerny said. "I think we can beat them."
Key Ceres High returners in 2014 include Caitlin Pfaff (Sr.), Erica Hogner (Sr.), Abigail Nou (Jr.), Brittany Turnbow (Sr.), Monika Ramirez (So.) and Hannah Smith (So.).
Dania Medina (Jr.) opted not to play this year so she could focus on academics.
Karen Delatorre was lost to graduation.
Pfaff, Hogner, Nou, Turnbow, Ramirez and Smith led the Bulldogs to a runner-up finish in the WAC standings (10-2) last season.
Caitlin won her second straight WAC Most Valuable Player award in 2013.
She placed first at the conference's end-of-year tournament.
Pfaff finished 12th with a 90 at the Sac-Joaquin Section Division-IV competition.
She just missed qualifying for Masters.
"Caitlin's been league MVP two years in a row," Cerny said. "The only person that can beat her is herself."
Erica earned first-team all-conference honors her junior year. Hogner placed fourth overall in the WAC individual standings. She fired a 94 on her way to a second-place finish at the league tournament.
Turnbow, Nou, Hannah Smith and Medina placed ninth (111), 11th (114), 16th (119) and 25th (132), respectively, at the conference championships.
Abigail was named to the WAC Second Team.
Ceres High tied for fifth place with a team score of 538 at Divisionals. Pfaff led the way. Hogner (104), Nou (160), Turnbow (113) and Ramirez (121) also contributed.
The Bulldogs have amassed a 36-12 record in conference play and qualified for the postseason four times since 2010.
Ceres High has won five of its last six dual matchups with Central Valley.
Central Valley placed sixth in the WAC (2-10) in 2013. The Bulldogs beat the Hawks twice (151-199, 145-188).
Newcomer El Capitan of Merced will replace Central Catholic.
"It's going to level the playing field," Hawks head coach Kelly Wheelock said while talking about the Raiders' departure from the WAC. "The team to beat this year is definitely Ceres High. They're the favorites because they have experience."
"There's still some good competition out there," Cerny said. "We don't know anything about El Capitan. They're a wild card."
Central Valley returns just one player from a season ago in Else Smith (Jr.).
Marlen Diaz and Daniela Moreno graduated in June.
Georgina Salgado and Macie Robinson opted to not play this year.
Leslie Alfonso (Fr.), Emily Almanza (Fr.), Arriana Ayala (Fr.) and Soraida Felix (Fr.) are new to the team.
"It's going to be a learning year for sure," Wheelock said. "It's going to be fun. They're good kids."