The College of the Canyons Athletic Department will field a women's tennis program for the first time in school history, beginning in the spring 2018 semester.
With the addition of women's tennis, COC is now home to 17 intercollegiate sports programs. Included in that total are nine women's teams and eight men's teams.
COC physical education instructor Vicki Sanchez has been named women's tennis head coach and will take control of the new program, effective immediately.
"We are excited to welcome Coach Sanchez to the Cougar Athletics family and proud to be able to offer this new athletic opportunity to our student body," said Chuck Lyon, Interim Dean of Physical Education, Kinesiology, Athletics & Athletic Director at the college.
"Bringing a women's tennis program to College of the Canyons will expand the opportunities for female athletes on this campus," added Lyon, "while providing youth tennis players from across the Santa Clarita Valley with a potential destination to compete at the collegiate level."
The California Community College Athletic Association (CCCAA) women's tennis season runs from late January to late April. Teams may compete a maximum of 26 regular season dates per season, with matches held on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
Teams are composed of at least six players, with programs competing in singles and doubles matches throughout the season. Each scheduled match includes six singles matches followed by three doubles matches. At the end of the regular season both an individual and doubles champion are crowned.
The COC women's tennis program will compete in the Western State Conference. Canyons becomes the eighth school in the conference to field a women's tennis team, joining Antelope Valley, Bakersfield, Glendale, Santa Barbara, Santa Monica, Ventura and Victor Valley College.
COC's home matches will be hosted on the tennis courts located at the college's Valencia campus.
"I am honored and excited to join the College of the Canyons coaching family and thankful for the opportunity to launch our COC women's tennis program and begin establishing a proud tradition of collegiate tennis in the Santa Clarita Valley," said Sanchez. "I sincerely thank COC for having the faith and confidence in me to lead this team. It is my goal to build a program that enriches the lives of our student-athletes and continues the culture of academic and athletic excellence at the college."
Sanchez enters her new position with more than 30 years of coaching experience, having previously worked with male and female players ages 4 to 90 on the youth, high school, collegiate, professional, private and recreational levels.
A former player herself, Sanchez competed at nearby Canyon High School before playing at Los Angeles Pierce College. She later accepted a full athletic scholarship to attend California State University, Los Angeles.
After her collegiate career Sanchez continued to play in singles, doubles and mixed doubles tournaments through the United States Tennis Association (USTA), Northwest Tennis Association (NWTA) and Avon Tour.
Sanchez has served as an adjunct faculty member at COC since 2007, teaching health science and a variety of physical education courses, including tennis, during her time at the college.
With competition set to begin less than a year from now, Sanchez is tasked with scheduling 2018 matches and recruiting a group of student-athletes to compete on COC's inaugural women's tennis team.
"We have tremendous tennis talent in the Santa Clarita Valley, and I look forward to recruiting some of those local players to our new program," said Sanchez, adding that she will be looking for a crop of motivated, passionate players that display a desire to improve.
"I want players that are willing to compete against themselves and have the work ethic to strive to be a little better tomorrow than they are today," she said. "It's that passion to improve that will lead our players to success on the court, in the classroom and throughout their lives."