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Hawk netters rebuild
CV boys tennis team moving forward with new lineup
Juan Zaragoza will fill the top spot in the Central Valley varsity boys tennis teams starting lineup this spring. - photo by DALE BUTLER/The Courier

Central Valley's varsity boys tennis program secured its first-ever playoff berth in 2014 and returned to the postseason the following year.

The Hawks missed the playoffs for the second straight season in 2017.

Central Valley will face a tall task this spring as just players return from last year's team, including Juan Zaragoza (Jr.), Adrian Gomez (Jr.), Ivan Jimenez (Sr.) and Andy Souksavath (So.).

Ruben Morales, Manuel Lazcano, Henry Garcia, Roman Ortiz, Ralph Afortunado and Jesus Cuevas were all lost to graduation.

Max Sanchez and Samson Gonzalez opted not to play.

"We're rebuilding," longtime head coach Mike Rodriguez said. "It's a new challenge to try to get back to where we were. The goal is to get better each match."

Zaragoza will be Central Valley's top player.

He split time at No. 3 and 4 singles in 2017.

"His game has improved in all aspects," Rodriguez said.

Gomez, Jimenez and Souksavath will also contribute at singles.

Newcomers Luc Arce (Sr.), Rosendo Rojas (Fr.), Jason Figueroa (Fr.), Alex Kishore (Fr.), Julian Sanchez (Fr.), Gurtej Sangha (Fr.), Belizario Ramirez (Fr.), Alex Serrato (Fr.) and Nasson Sanchez (Sr.) round out Central Valley's roster.

"I'm going to have to do a little more coaching with this group," Rodriguez said. "They're still learning basics like positioning on the court, where to hit the ball and strategy."

The top three teams in the Western Athletic Conference advance to the playoffs.

Ceres High (14-1), Livingston (13-2) and Los Banos (8-7) qualified last year.

The Tigers edged out the Hawks for the WAC's third postseason berth.

"We're young," Rodriguez said. "I don't know if playoffs are a realistic expectation. It just depends on what the other teams have, too. We got a group that's pretty dedicated. We're just trying to keep the scores close and get better as the season goes on."