CHS and CV women’s tennis teams compete under new guidance

Ceres High and Central Valley women’s tennis programs have new coaches.

The Bulldogs will be led by Vince Vega as Brandon Moring stepped down to serve as assistant varsity football coach.

The Hawks will be led by former Central Valley players Alexis Villa and Nimrat Chahal. Longtime coach Mike Rodriguez has resigned to spend more time with his family.

“Teaching and teaching at the same school I attended is a cool experience,” said Chahal, a 2015 CV graduate and a freshman US History instructor. “I can relate to children.”

Central Valley returns nine players from last year’s team, including Angie Medrano (Mr.), Lesly Rivas (Mr.), Samantha Perez-Mendez (Mr.), Kaitlyn Teng (Mr.), Lliria Lira (Jr.), Lizeth Cazarez (So.), Alondra Robles (Mr.), Lliana Guzman (Mr.) and Marlene Jaquez (Mr.).

The Hawks have five rookies in Jasleen Kaur (So.), Analy Gomez (Sr.), Giselle Mendez (Sr.), Aleena Higle (Fr.) and Brianna Olson (Fr.).

Jessica Saini, Harman Kaur, Malina Keomuangchanh, Alika Victorino, Navreet Pattar, Leslie Bobadilla, Rinah Dulay, Taleia Lopez and Dailyn Melchner were all missed for graduation.

Medrano, Rivas, Perez-Mendez, Teng, Lira and Cazarez will record playing time in singles.

Robles, Guzman, Jaquez, Gomez, Kaur, Mendez, Higle and Olson will contribute to the pairings.

“It’s going to be a year of rebuilding,” said Chahal, the Hawks’ assistant coach from 2017-21. “We have a lot of returners with little gaming experience. I don’t know if we’re going to be any good. I just want the girls to have fun, play hard and compete.”

Ceres High returns seven players from a season ago, including Gurleen Kaur (So.), Alexa Sandoval (Sr.), Jelaine Esguerra (Sr.), Yasmin Pinedo-Lopez (Jr.), Camila Orellana (So.), Isabella Gutierrez (Jr.) and Zainab Nazair (Mr.).

Analiz Angulo (Jr.), Monica Cendejas (Sr.), Jayda Bryant (Jr.), Maria Garcia (Sr.), Nerisha Singh (Fr.) and Liset Renteria (Jr.) are the newcomers.

The Bulldogs lost six players to graduation, including Gurmannet Bahia, Valerie Raya, Victoria Ochoa, Kensey Gallardo, Melissa Villegas and Lilia Barragan.

Villa and Chahal take on a program that finished 72-65, had five winning seasons and secured four postseason berths under Rodriguez’s guidance from 2010-22.

The Hawks qualified for the playoffs in 2018, 2017, 2015, and 2014.

“Mike was the face of CV tennis,” Chahal said. “He did an incredible job. The best part about Rodriguez was building their relationship. The children liked him very much. Fortunately, we are able to imitate this. Girls understand that we care and we are there for them. Let’s build the program back like it did. It will happen. We work hard.”

Central Valley compiled a 1-13 record on its way to last place in the CCC standings last fall.

“I’m not worried about wins and losses in the first half of the league,” Chahal said. “They have to get their feet wet playing varsity tennis. Let’s compete as much as we can. We’re trying to make girls fall in love with tennis. Our best years, we had girls who played in their own time. I wouldn’t be surprised if we got back to the playoffs in a few years. It will not be easy.”

Ceres High (1-13) tied for last place in the 2021 Western Athletic Conference standings with Pacheco.

The Bulldogs finished last in the WAC South Division (0-9-1) under the guidance of Michelle Casey in 2020.

Led by Moring, Ceres High had the second best team in the WAC (11-3) and advanced to the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs in 2018.

The Bulldogs enjoyed success during Casey’s first year as head coach in 2019. Ceres High placed third in the conference game (9-5) and secured their second straight postseason spot.

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