Ceres High School's varsity girls soccer team finds itself in an unfamiliar position-sitting atop the Western Athletic Conference standings.
"To be honest, I'm very surprised," Ceres High head coach Miguel Saldate said. "I thought we were going to struggle this year. I'm enjoying every moment."
The youth-laden Bulldogs (7-1-1, 22 points) are in the running for their first-ever conference title.
Ceres High last participated in the playoffs in the 1990s.
"We don't really talk about it too much because it's not 100 percent sure," Saldate said. "Other teams are right behind us. A lot of things can happen still."
Ceres High notched its third straight victory on Wednesday, winning 10-0 at Los Banos.
Karina Torrez and Angelica Slater led the way with three goals apiece.
Cristina Arreola, Lisette Carretero, Breanna Moreno and Miranda Wilds all scored once.
The Bulldogs tallied goals in the seventh, eighth, 16th, 18th, 19th, 37th, 47th, 48th, 49th and 50th minutes.
Ceres High outscored Los Banos 6-0 in the opening half.
"I started making subs in the first half once we scored four goals," Saldate said. "Everyone got playing time."
Ceres High broke a scoreless tie with a pair of goals in the second half during its 2-0 win against El Capitan on April 13 at Bulldog Stadium.
"We needed to win the game to keep us in good position," Saldate said. "A tie would have been no good. A loss would have been worse. It was a tough game. It was very competitive."
Wilds accounted for both of Ceres High's goals as she found the back of the net in the 20th and 32nd minutes.
"She's pretty good with the ball," Saldate said. "She also knows how to use her speed."
Ceres High edged El Capitan 3-2 earlier this season.
"We had an ugly game," Saldate said.
The WAC will send three teams to the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs.
Ceres High, Livingston (6-2-1, 19 points), El Capitan (5-3-1), Central Valley (5-3-1, 16 points) and Patterson (3-2-3, 12 points) are attempting to clinch postseason berths.
The Bulldogs have three games left on their WAC schedule.
Ceres High will play host to Patterson today at 5:30 p.m. "It makes a big difference having three assistant coaches that help me a lot," Saldate said. "Every game, we try to push the girls a little bit more. They're very dedicated."