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Lopez propels Ceres High tennis past Sierra
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For the second time this season, Ceres High's varsity girls tennis team beat Valley Oak League rival Sierra by the slimmest of margins.

Venus Lopez played hero again. The soft-spoken sophomore edged Michelle LeLaurin 7-6 (7-5), 6-4 in the deciding No. 2 singles match to lead the Bulldogs to a 3-2 victory over the Timberwolves on Tuesday, Oct. 7 in Ceres.

"That was a big win," Ceres High head coach Bryan Harden said. "We needed that. I'm not surprised. Venus focuses really well."

Lopez and LeLaurin battled for close to three hours. Venus held off Michelle after building comfortable leads in both sets (5-2, 4-1).

When asked how she was able to thwart LeLaurin's comeback attempt, Lopez said: "I showed a lot of patience and strong will power."

Ceres High's Angie Prak leveled the match by downing Sierra's Anna McFerran 6-2, 6-0 in No. 3 singles play.

The Bulldogs took a 1-0 lead against the Timberwolves after VOL champion McKenzy Harden defeated Jenna Anderson 6-1, 6-1 at No. 1 singles. Harden needed just 45 minutes to finish off Sierra's top player.

"The singles have been carrying us all season," Bryan said.

Ceres High dropped both doubles matches.

Ryan Norton and Morgan Ogden lost 6-4, 6-4 to Michaela Scott and Tori Hedgard at No. 1 doubles.

"That's the best they've played all year," coach Harden said. "It's too bad they couldn't win today."

Natalie Flores and Brenda Villavong lost 6-0, 6-1 to Stephanie Vanni and Monica Ballagan at No. 2 doubles.

The Bulldogs edged the Timberwolves 8-7 in VOL round-robin play on Sept. 11 in Manteca.

Lopez clinched the victory when she overcame a 3-2 deficit to beat McFerran (6-4).

"That's a deep team," Bryan said. "That's why we match up well with them."

Ceres High 4, Lathrop 1

The host Bulldogs managed to beat Lathrop's inaugural girls tennis squad 4-1 in VOL play on Thursday, Oct. 2 despite competing with an inexperienced lineup.

Coach Harden rested McKenzy, Venus, Angie, Ryan, Morgan and Natalie. Brenda started at No. 1 singles.

Villavong defeated Shauna Hinson 6-0, 6-0 at No. 1 singles.

Karina Magana defeated Kajeh Delaney 6-2, 6-1 at No. 2 singles.

Kaycee Creek and Kristin Ornells defeated Felicia Willingham and Makelah Pauley 6-1, 6-1 at No. 1 doubles.

Samantha Johnson and Kelly Gallagher defeated Sally Mograby and Mogloy Ventura 6-2, 6-1 at No. 2 doubles.