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Spartans eliminate Bulldogs again
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Members of the Ceres High varsity girls water polo team boarded a bus after school and departed for Modesto on Thursday. The mood was somber.

“It was really quiet,” said Ceres senior Lauren Griffin. “It wasn't loud like it usually is.”

For the second year in a row, Ceres needed to win its final game to advance to the playoffs. Grace Davis played spoiler again. The Spartans edged the Bulldogs 8-4 and earned the final postseason berth.

“We wanted it bad,” Griffin said. “They wanted it more. They stepped

it up. I really wish we would have made it to playoffs. It's very frustrating because they did end our season last year.”

Added Ceres coach Lesley Willems: “They we were so anxious to play. It overcame them.”

The Bulldogs placed fourth in the Modesto Metro Conference standings with a 6-6 record. The top three teams advanced to the postseason, including Johansen (12-0), Modesto High (10-2) and Grace Davis (7-5).

“Overall, I'm very happy with them,” Willems said. “They're a good bunch of girls. They played really well together.”

Said Griffin: “I have high hopes for the girls next year. If they stick with it, they should do very well.”

Griffin and fellow seniors Katie Griffith and Sam Walters accounted for all four goals. Griffith scored twice. Griffin and Walters both scored once.

Robyn McGrew led Grace Davis with three goals. Taylor Fairbanks scored two goals. Meghan Devlin, Brittany Gonzales and Alyssa Figero all added one goal. Arielle Phillips made 13 saves.

The Spartans thrived at home. Ceres had trouble adjusting to Grace Davis' narrow pool.

“Our passes weren't the best,” Griffin said. “Our shots were going over the cage like crazy. We had so many opportunities. We should have done better.”

Ceres allowed four goals in the second quarter and trailed 6-0 at halftime.

The Bulldogs outscored the Spartans 4-0 in the third quarter.

Ahead 6-4, Davis outscored Ceres 2-0 in the fourth quarter.

“I knew it was going to be tough,” Griffin said “I thought we were ready.”

Added Willems: “I'm very proud of them for coming back. They could have rolled over and died.” - By DALE BUTLER / Staff reporter of the Ceres (Calif.) Courier