Central Valley High School's battle-tested varsity girls tennis team inched closed to securing its second straight playoff berth this week.
The second-place Hawks won twice and improved to 7-1 in the Western Athletic Conference standings.
The top three teams in the WAC will be awarded postseason berths in November.
"We put ourselves in a good position by beating El Capitan," Central Valley head coach Mike Rodriguez said. "We'd have to have a major collapse to finish third."
Central Valley beat El Capitan 5-4 for the second time this season.
The Hawks won the latest matchup on Thursday in Ceres.
"The girls know how to stay calm and make big plays when they need to," Rodriguez said. "They played a lot of close matches last year. They have playoff experience, too."
Central Valley's three-set victory in No. 1 doubles play proved to be the difference once again.
Vanessa Monroy and Amy Nguyen earned a hard-fought 6-2, 2-6, 6-2 win against Meghana Medini and Carrie Wee.
"It was pretty even throughout the whole match," Rodriguez said. "They battled. Experience took over in the third set. They (Monroy and Nguyen) stayed aggressive and made some big plays."
Monroy and Nguyen leaned on their familiarity of playing together.
They've partnered at least 15 times since last year.
"Amy plays the net really well," Rodriguez said. "She's aggressive. Vanessa complements her well. She gets the ball back. She sets up Ayme to get easy points at the net."
Central Valley's Celest Lepe evened the team competition at 4-4.
Lepe defeated Eloisa Encenzo in three sets, 5-7, 7-5, 6-2, in No. 4 singles play.
"We really didn't change much," Rodriguez said. "Celest got a little more consistent. She's a tough competitor."
Lepe dominated the third set.
"It went by pretty quick," Rodriguez said. "She was in control the whole time."
Central Valley's Jadah Jackson defeated El Capitan's Dana Villarama 6-2, 6-4 in No. 2 singles play.
Chelsea Flores defeated Alaika Valera 6-3, 6-4 in No. 5 singles play.
Claudia Martinez defeated Eimene De La Cruz 6-2, 6-0 in No. 6 singles.
Central Valley rolled past Pacheco 9-0 on Oct. 6 in Los Banos.
The Hawks swept all six singles and three doubles matches while shutting out the Panthers.
Teresa Diaz defeated Miranda Avery 6-2, 6-0 in No. 1 singles play.
Jackson defeated Aimee Wheeler 6-4, 6-4 in No. 2 singles play.
Bryana Lopez defeated Mariah Moreno 6-2, 7-5 in No. 3 singles play.
Lepe defeated Kayla Ayala 6-2, 6-1 in No. 4 singles play.
Flores defeated Frances Jacobo 6-1, 6-1 in No. 5 singles play.
Martinez defeated Esmeralda Ramirez 6-1, 6-0 in No. 6 singles play.
Monroy and Nguyen defeated Selena Salines and Maite Saldivar 6-2, 6-0 in No. 1 doubles play.
Trinity Avila and Nicole Munoz defeated Marilyn Sanchez and Kathy Ynfante 6-2, 6-4 in No. 2 doubles play.
Maria Rojas and Brenda Diaz defeated Daniela Mendoza and Kassandra Villanueva 6-1, 6-3 in No. 3 doubles play.
Central Valley needs to win one of its two matches this week to secure a postseason berth. The Hawks will face the crosstown-rival Bulldogs this Thursday at Ceres High. The 20th meeting between the two teams will begin at 3 p.m.
Central Valley improved its all-time record versus Ceres High to 4-15 with a 7-2 victory on Sept. 22.
The Hawks have won 17 of their last 20 WAC matches dating back to last year.
"The girls have really worked hard and results have definitely shown the past two seasons," Rodriguez said.