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Murry wins major award
Ceres High junior named WAC Defensive Player of the Year
Ceres High junior Christian Murry (4) was voted Western Athletic Conference Defensive Player of the Year. Murry had 227 digs, 150 kills, 68 blocks, 34 aces and seven assists. - photo by DALE BUTLER/The Courier

Four of the Ceres High varsity boys volleyball team's six starters were recognized in a vote by the Western Athletic Conference's head coaches on May 1 in Los Banos.

"I can't say I'm surprised," Bulldogs' leader Darlene Tobler stated. "They're amazing young men. They worked hard the entire season. I'm very proud of them."

Junior Christian Murry was named WAC Defensive Player of the Year.

"His effort and drive put him in that position," Tobler said. "The other coaches noticed him. He got four votes for MVP."

Murry, Ceres High's best all-round player, filled the stat sheet with 227 digs, 150 kills, 68 blocks, 34 aces and seven assists.

"He's great leader and teammate," Tobler said. "He's very easy to coach. He goes 100 percent every practice and match. There's not a lazy bone in his body. I'm really excited I have him for one more year."
Christian might play club volleyball during the fall.

"He's blossomed as a player," Tobler said. "The more exposure he gets to the sport, the more he'll progress. He has a lot of potential."

Six-foot-7 senior Cristian Garcia earned first-team all-conference honors for the third year in a row.

"The whole league knows who he is," Tobler said. "He's respected by the coaches. When he's on, he's almost unstoppable."

Garcia had 83 kills, 78 digs, 64 blocks and 14 aces during his final season with the Bulldogs.

"He did a great job," Tobler said. "We're going to miss him tremendously."

Junior Ivan Arita was also selected to the WAC First Team.

Arita had 186 digs, 67 blocks, 59 kills, eight assists and two aces.

He played in three matches with the Bulldogs as a sophomore.

"This is his first full year on varsity," Tobler said. "He's a really strong leader. I couldn't imagine my team without him."

Gustavo Hernandez, a junior setter, was named to the WAC Second Team.

Hernandez dished out a team-leading 182 assists.

He also collected 106 digs, 23 kills, 16 blocks and four aces

"From last year to this year, he's a completely different player," Tobler said. "He really took ownership of his position. He grew in skill, confidence and leadership."

Ceres High (4-6) tied for third place in the WAC standings with crosstown-rival Central Valley.

The Bulldogs compiled an 0-2 record versus the Hawks.

Ceres High squandered a two-games-to-none-lead in losing 3-2 (20-25, 20-25, 25-12, 28-26, 15-11) to Central Valley on April 30.

The Bulldogs were beaten 3-1 (25-15, 23-25, 25-20, 25-17) by the Bulldogs on April 12.

Ceres High rallied for a 3-2 (25-17, 21-25, 10-25, 27-25, 15-12) win over WAC-champion Livingston on April 23.

"I wish our record reflected our talent we had on the team," Tobler said. "We had everything we needed to be successful."