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Team has promise
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The Ceres High girls soccer team won its first-ever league game last season. The Bulldogs snapped a 113-game losing streak and finished the year at 3-15 in the Central California Conference standings, 5-17-2 overall.

Ceres coach Randy Cerny is convinced this year's team has greater potential.

"We didn't have girls that were playing year-round the first year I began coaching two years ago," said Cerny, who was hired in 2002. "This year, you'll start seeing the fruit of that labor."

The 2004 team features 18 players, including eight returners, seniors Michelle Guzman (right fullback) and Valerie Chan (left fullback), juniors Brittany Randle (center defensive midfielder), Natalie Martinez (sweeper) and Amy Kaur (midfielder) and sophomores Janet Cortes (forward), Yessenia Medina (goalie) and Missy Breck (halfback/forward/fullback).

Randle earned second-team, all-CCC honors last season.

Martinez was an honorable-mention selection.

Guzman didn't gain any recognition but was a major contributor on defense.

"All three of them are leaders," Cerny said. "Guzman and Randle are our team captains."

Lucero Villasenor also returned to the team. The junior forward didn't play last season because she wasn't eligible. Villasenor was an all-league selection during her freshman year.

"It really hurt us last year not having her on the team," Cerny said.

Juniors Vanessa Calderon (fullback), Cynthia Brambila (halfback), Julieta Romero (halfback/forward), Lupe Villasenor (sweeper/center defensive midfielder/fullback) and Alma Oliveros (halfback) and freshmen Myrna Cadenas (forward), Janeli Arreygue (halfback/center midfielder), Rachel Cordona (halfback) and Susane Lathsavong (forward/halfback) are first-year varsity players.

Calderon, Brambila, Romero and Villasenor played JV last season. Cadenas, Cordona and Lathsavong starred on the Mae Hensley Jr. High's eighth-grade girls soccer team.

"We're going to have a balanced offensive attack this year to complement our defense, which has been pretty good the last few years," Cerny said.

Six of Ceres' players played competitive soccer in the offseason, including Randle, Martinez, Guzman, Cortes, Lucero Villasenor and Arreygue.

Randle, Martinez, Guzman, Cortes and Villasenor were members of Ceres Youth Soccer Organization's under-17 Class I traveling soccer team. Arreygue played for a Modesto Ajax Class I traveling soccer team.

"One of my goals when I took this job was to see the CYSO develop players through a competitive system," Cerny said.

CYSO established under-12, under-14 and under-17 competitive soccer teams.

"It's going to provide the high school with talent that we didn't have before," Cerny said.

The top three teams in the CCC make the playoffs. Ceres won't contend in all likelihood.

"The CCC is a tough league to play in, in girls soccer," Cerny said. "Beyer, Johansen and Turlock are the premiere teams. We would like to hold our own and play .500 ball against the remainder of the league. That would be a realistic goal for the season." - By DALE BUTLER / Staff Reporter of The Ceres (Calif.) Courier