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Ochoa continues singles dominance
Ceres High freshman Marifer Ochoa and Los Banos sophomore Alexis Barcellos shared the Western Athletic Conference Most Valuable Player award after beating each other during the regular season.

Ochoa and Barcellos faced off in the finals of the WAC varsity girls singles tournament on Thursday at Pacheco High School.

Seeded second, Marifer eked out a 7-6 (7-4), 7-6 (7-4) victory over No. 1 Barcellos.

The championship bout lasted 90 minutes.

"It couldn't have been any tighter," Bulldogs head coach Bryan Harden said. "The hardest thing to do is close out a match, especially against a player that is at least your equal. Marifer played really well. Her personality is laid back enough so she's not overwhelmed with what's going on around her. That helps her."

Ochoa continued Ceres High's run of singles dominance in conference play.

McKenzy Harden won three Valley Oak League titles (2007-2009). She finished second as a freshman.

Luis Ochoa, Marifer's older brother, was a two-time league champion (2008-2009).

Marifer and Luis have spent countless hours at the Modesto Fitness & Racket Club over the years. Their father, mother and younger brother also play tennis.

"They put a lot of time in," Harden said. "That's the difference."

Marifer compiled a 15-1 record in WAC play, including a 4-0 mark at the league championships.

She's reeled off 13 straight wins since losing 6-1, 6-4 to Barcellos.

Ochoa won the second meeting, 6-1, 1-6, 6-3.

Marifer and Alexis will continue their rivalry.

"I'm very excited for her (Ochoa)," Harden said. "She's going to be in the running every year."

Bulldog freshman Kaylee Donovan won one of her two singles matches.

Donovan opened the tournament with a 6-0, 6-0 victory over Pacheco's Jacqueline Carranza.

She lost 6-1, 6-0 to Barcellos.