Ceres High's varsity boys water polo program had its streak of consecutive Sac-Joaquin Section playoff appearances snapped at three seasons in 2015.
The 2016 Bulldogs remain optimistic despite losing two of their top three scorers and starting goalkeeper to graduation.
Tim Campbell (31 goals), Bobby Baranski (16 goals) and Blake Borba (109 saves) will be missed.
"We got a ton of depth this year," Ceres High first-year head coach Bill Campbell said. "I can switch out the whole team and not have a huge drop off. That's a benefit."
The Bulldogs return three all-Western Athletic Conference performers from a year ago, including Logan Kier (Sr.), Tristan Freitas-Scott (Sr.) and Luis Camarillo (Sr.).
Kier, Ceres High's hole-set defender, was selected to the WAC Second Team.
Logan had five goals on offense.
Freitas-Scott and Camarillo were honorable-mention picks.
Tristan (17 goals) was the Bulldogs' second-leading scorer.
Camarillo (three goals) chipped in as well.
Returnees Caleb Bishop (Sr.), Noah Rantz (Sr.), Jacob Black (Jr.) and Nicholas Webb (Jr.) will also be counted upon, along with newcomers David Johnson (Jr.), Gary Dodd (So.) and Elliott Lewis (So.).
"We definitely have quite a bit of talent this year from returning players and also new players," Campbell said. "As a whole, our team is looking very strong. Our goal set by the coaches and the athletes is to make a run for playoffs and I believe we can accomplish that goal."
The Bulldogs posted a 4-4 record while finishing third overall in the 2015 WAC standings.
Livingston defeated Ceres High 9-5 and earned the conference's second and final postseason berth.
El Capitan (8-0) won the WAC title.
Los Banos (3-5) and Pacheco (0-8) placed fourth and fifth, respectively.
E Capitan departed for the Central California Conference.
"El Capitan leaving the WAC has its ups and downs," Campbell said. "It does level the playing field, but on the other hand, playing a team at that caliber also helps our team in the long run. It definitely made us stronger."
The Bulldogs will play twice as many matches this year with half of those contacts coming during non-conference meetings.
Ceres High will participate in the McNair and Bret Harte tournaments.
The Bulldogs will also compete against Bret Harte twice and Central Catholic once during head-to-head clashes.
Ceres High will begin the WAC season with a 5 p.m. home match versus Pacheco on Sept. 28.
"If if we can accomplish our goals of working more as a team and understanding the fundamentals of water polo, it will put us in the running for playoffs," Campbell said.