For The Signal
It’s been an historic week of firsts for the College of the Canyons women’s tennis program.
Last Friday, the Cougars played and hosted the first match in school history, with the all-freshman squad taking the court vs. defending California Community College Athletic Association (CCCAA) state champion Orange Coast College. COC also got its first taste of defeat that day, falling 9-0.
“I didn’t get much sleep the night before our first match,” joked College of the Canyons women’s tennis head coach Patty LaBat. “We got beat really bad that first time out, but Orange Coast is the top of the top in California. I could see the potential in our girls though.”
The next day Canyons was back at it, this time hosting College of the Sequoias and again making history.
The Cougars lost 6-3, but managed to win the first three matches in program history, with Marisa Wambolt, Leilani Figalan and Brienna Best all winning their singles matchups.
“Winning those three matches was exciting,” said LaBat. “I actually think it helped for us to start by playing the best team in the state. Our girls were maybe a little bit in awe of them at first, but they won a few games and that got them excited, and started to build their confidence.”
They say the third time is a charm, and for this team that was certainly the case.
In its third match of the season on Tuesday, also the Western State Conference (WSC) opener, Canyons walloped Antelope Valley College 9-0 to claim the first win in school history.
The Marauders competed with only five players, meaning AVC was forced to forfeit one singles match and doubles match. However, Canyons was dominant in every other pairing, with Jenny Cranert (6-3, 6-1), Wambolt (6-0, 6-0), Figalan (6-0, 6-1), Best (6-3, 6-2), and Genises Ordonez (6-0, 6-1) all winning with ease.
“I was walking on air when I left here yesterday,” said Figalan about her role in the program’s historic first win. “It’s pretty exciting being part of history in an inaugural year.”
The doubles teams of Cranert/Figalan (8-2) and Wambolt/Best (8-3) were also victorious.
“In the match vs. Antelope Valley not only were we able to win, but they were all very lopsided scores, and that impressed me because it showed they were capable,” LaBat said. “The girls knew they could win, and they went out and did it.”
On Thursday, the Cougars also experienced their first tough loss, with a 5-4 road defeat to heavily favored Santa Monica College, which advanced to the final four of last year’s state championship tourney.
In a match that took nearly four hours to complete, Figalan (6-0, 6-2), West (6-4, 6-4) and Ordonez (6-2, 3-6, 6-2) each emerged with wins for COC, as did the doubles team of Wambolt/Best (8-1).
Up next for the Cougars, a road match at Ventura College on Tuesday — and another chance to keep building a legacy of success for COC’s newest athletic program.
COC Baseball Winners of Three Straight
The Cougars picked up a 9-4 victory over visiting Allan Hancock College on Thursday, capitalizing on a five-run seventh inning to break open a tie ballgame and win the team’s third straight game.
Canyons (4-2) has been on an offensive tear of late, scoring a combined 27 runs over the last three outings, which have included wins over Santa Ana and Rio Hondo College.
The Cougars have also recorded 13 hits in back-to-back games, with much of that production coming from the middle of the order.
On Thursday, five Cougars finished with multi-hit days including third baseman Tyler Erne who finished the game 3-for-4 with a double, two RBIs, a stolen base and two runs.
Calvin Estrada returned to the Cougar lineup with a 2-for-4 performance that included a pair of runs, an RBI and a walk.
Eddie Rodriguez, who leads the club with 10 RBIs, finished the day 2-for-5 with a pair of runs to record his third multi-hit game of the season.
COC received another strong outing from sophomore Jacob Lopez (1-1) who was charged with three earned runs over his six innings of work. Lopez walked two and struck out six, but did not factor into the decision.
Reliever Jarrett Poh (2-0) got the win after working scoreless seventh and eighth innings.
Poh allowed two hits and struck out five Bulldog batters before handing the ball over to Connor Dreyer who pitched a scoreless final frame.
Canyons will host San Diego Mesa College on Saturday at Cougar Field. First pitch is at 10 a.m.