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Lady Dawgs move into tie for first place in tennis
Ceres High's varsity girls tennis team kept its Valley Oak League title and Sac-Joaquin Section playoff hopes alive after posting back-to-back victories over first-place Sonora and Oakdale.

"It was a stressful week, but we were focused," Bulldogs head coach Bryan Harden said.

Ceres High moved into a three-way tie (10-2) with the Wildcats and Mustangs atop the conference standings. The Bulldogs wrap up their league schedule with matches against East Union and Central Valley this week.

The top two teams in the VOL qualify for the postseason.

"We weren't necessarily the best team to start the year," Harden said. "Now, I think we're the deepest. It would be disappointing if we didn't make playoffs."

Host Ceres High edged Sonora 3-2 on Thursday.

The Bulldogs swept all three singles matches.

"It came down to the No. 2 and 3 singles matches," Harden said. "The girls responded."

Ceres High sophomore Venus Lopez was mobbed by teammates Angie Prak and McKenzy Harden after beating Sophie Segerstrom 6-1, 6-3 at No. 2 singles. The victory gave the Bulldogs an insurmountable 3-1 lead.

"I was trying to keep from getting too excited," coach Harden said. "They were hugging, jumping up and down, and screaming."

Prak earned a hardfought 6-3, 6-3 victory over Brianna McCree at No. 3 singles.

"She stayed focused the whole time," Bryan said. "I couldn't be more proud of her."

Facing a 3-1 deficit, Angie won five straight games to take the first set.

"She kept the ball away from the girl's strengths," Harden said. "She also played hard and hustled."

McKenzy breezed past Sammi Garman, 6-0, 6-1, at No. 1 singles to improve to 26-0 on the year in league play.

Ryan Norton and Morgan Ogden fell 6-0, 6-3 to Koco Ankrom and Rachel Shelton at No. 1 doubles.

"I wasn't disappointed with their play," Harden said. "They hung in there. I think they were a little nervous."

Natalie Flores and Rachel Stump fell 6-3, 6-3 to Christina Kelleher and Ashley Snyder at No. 2 doubles.

Bulldogs nip Mustangs

McKenzy, Venus and Angie led Ceres High to a 3-2 win at Oakdale on Tuesday, Oct. 14.

Harden defeated Carolyn Rowley 6-0, 6-2 at No. 1 singles

Lopez defeated Iris Quiroga 6-4, 6-1 at No. 2 singles.

Prak defeated Elise Derby 6-4, 6-4 at No. 3 singles.

Ryan Norton and Morgan Ogden lost 7-6 (7-4), 6-0 to Tiana Teague and Terney Siedel at No. 1 doubles.

Natalie Flores and Rachel Stump lost 6-3, 6-2 to Korrine Baxter and Kristin Mello at No. 2 doubles.

If Ceres High, Sonora and Oakdale win out, a coin flip will be used to determine which two teams participate in the playoffs.