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Hawks soaring again in tennis
Brothers Ruben and Eric Morales have filled key roles on Central Valleys varsity boys tennis team this year. - photo by DALE BUTLER/The Courier

Central Valley High School's varsity boys tennis program enjoyed a breakthrough season last year.

The Hawks qualified for the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs for the first time and finished in third place in the Western Athletic Conference (9-4).

Central Valley's guaranteed to finish no worse than second in the WAC standings this season. The Hawks will also participate in the postseason again.

"I'm not really surprised," Hawks head coach Mike Rodriguez said. "I thought we'd be near the top because we brought back a lot of experience. We have a lot of depth. We don't have one standout player. We're pretty solid all the way through our ladder."

Central Valley secured its second consecutive playoff berth on Thursday, beating El Capitan 7-2 in Merced.

The Hawks won the first meeting, 6-3.

"It wasn't easy," Rodriguez said. "All of the matches were pretty competitive. The boys stepped up."

Luis Hernandez defeated Lee Yang 7-5, 6-2 in No. 1 singles play.

Edgar Castillo defeated Oliver Calos 6-1, 6-4 in No. 3 singles play.

Ruben Morales defeated Joseph Vance 6-2, 7-5 in No. 5 singles play.

Brandyn Weis defeated Taumong Xiong 2-6, 6-2, 6-2 in No. 6 singles play.

Alexis Villa lost 6-1, 6-3 to Ger Chang in No. 2 singles play.

Eric Morales lost 6-2, 6-1 to Brennan Garcia in 4 singles play.

Nimrat Chahal and Jorge Bustos defeated Kevin Lee and Orion Dziegiel 6-2, 6-0 in No. 1 doubles play.

Julio Pena and Henry Garcia defeated Bryce Boggs and Ying Yang 7-5, 6-4 in No. 2 doubles play.

Navjot Kanda and Roman Ortiz defeated Nich Moove and Calvin Hu 6-0, 6-1 in No. 3 doubles play.

Central Valley blanked Pacheco 9-0 on April 14 in Los Banos.

"We just took care of business," Rodriguez said. "We didn't look past them."

Hernandez defeated Ismael Orozco 6-2, 6-0 in No. 1 singles play.

Castillo defeated Angel Lopez 6-0, 6-1 in No. 2 singles play.

Villa defeated Antonio Hipolito 6-1, 6-2 in No. 3 singles play.

Eric Morales defeated Danny Espinoza 6-1, 6-2 in No. 4 singles play.

Ruben Morales defeated Brandon Guzman 6-0, 6-1 in No. 5 singles play.

Weis defeated Jesus Quezada 6-0, 6-0 in No. 6 singles play.

Chahal and Bustos defeated Flavio Orozco and Omar Silva 6-1, 6-0 in No. 1 doubles play.

Pena and Kanda defeated Chris Barba and Michael Ayala 7-5, 6-2 in No. 2 doubles play.

Central Valley won by forfeit at No. 3 doubles.

Central Valley will host Ceres High on April 21 and play at Los Banos on Thursday.

The Hawks have an all-time record of 0-17 versus the crosstown Bulldogs.

Ceres High beat Central Valley 8-1 earlier this season. Four of the matches were decided in three sets.

"We've never beaten them before," Rodriguez said. "It's going to be tough. I thought we were pretty competitive last time. They won't take us lightly this time. They'll be ready."

The Hawks have won 18 of their last 23 WAC matches dating back to this past season.

Central Valley compiled a 9-4 record in conference play in 2014.

"All of us expected this," Rodriguez said. "Our kids put in the time and effort. They're playing for each other."