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Volleyball squad upsets Panthers in playoffs
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Ceres High volleyball coach Sue Garcia made a bold prediction during the final week of the regular season.

"We're going to go into the playoffs and stun whoever we face," she said.

Competing in the postseason for the first time in five years, the 13th-seeded Bulldogs upset No. 4 Benicia 25-15, 25-21, 25-18 Monday night at Benicia High School.

Elisha Ferguson tallied 15 assists and 10 digs, Meghan Franksen added eight kills and six aces and Jessica Mazza and Jessica Hunter each had one block for the Bulldogs, who improved to 8-8 overall.

Ceres finished fourth in the Modesto Metro Conference with a 7-8 record. The Bulldogs beat Beyer, the league champion, 18-25, 25-14, 25-21, 25-19 on Oct. 26.

"The win against Beyer gave us confidence to realize the ability we have as a team," Garcia said.

The Bulldogs will play the fifth-ranked Ponderosa Bruins in the second round of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division II Playoffs in Shingle Springs today at 7 p.m.

Spartans edge Dawgs

Members of the Ceres High volleyball team were feted as part of Senior Night before competing against the Davis Spartans in Ceres on Tuesday, Nov. 2.

Four upperclassmen, Ferguson, Franksen, Katie Richards, and Krystle Brown, were given a bouqet of roses and balloons. They posed for pictures with their parents. And junior Jessica Hunter sung the national anthem.

Then Davis played spoiler.

With Noelle Hillier, Ashley Walker, Tiffany Ashley and Angel Blanco leading the way, the Spartans defeated the Bulldogs 3-2 in front of an energized crowd.

"The first time we played them, we went five games and lost," said Davis coach Amy DeBruyn. "They're very good defensively. And they have very good hitters."

Added Ferguson, Ceres High's setter: It's very disappointing. We played our butts off out there."

Davis, which placed second in the league with an 11-4 record, won the final two games.

With Noelle Hillier serving, the Spartans scored 13 straight points in Game 5, which they won 15-1. Walker accounted for 11 of Davis' points. She had nine kills and two blocks.

"We couldn't stop her," Ferguson said. "She's an awesome athlete."

Added Garcia: "We had no stats. It was ugly."

Ferguson finished with 43 assists, 13 digs and three aces for the Bulldogs. Franksen had 16 kills, 23 digs and five aces. Hunter had 16 kills and two blocks. Brown had six kills and two blocks. Jennifer Arnold had two blocks. She was 13-for-13 serving. Monica Hall had three aces.

Walker had 22 kills for the Spartans. Ashley had 40 assists. Hillier had eight aces and 13 digs. Blanco had four blocks.

The Spartans forced the fifth-and-decisive game with a 25-19 win over the Bulldogs in Game 4. They led from start to finish.

There were 13 ties and 14 lead changes in Game 1, which Ceres won 26-24. The Bulldogs scored the final three points. Hunter had a kill and a block. Brown had an ace.

There were seven ties and four lead changes in Game 2, which Davis won 25-18. Tied at 12-all, the Spartans finished off the Bulldogs with an 11-6 run.

Ceres scored the final eight points in beating Davis 25-17 in Game 3. There were 13 ties and nine lead changes. Franksen's kill sealed the win. - By DALE BUTLER / Staff Reporter of The Ceres (Calif.) Courier