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Women's Tennis Completes Undefeated Opening Round of Conference Play

By Jesse Muñoz/COC Sports Information Director

LANCASTER — College of the Canyons completed an unblemished opening round of Western State Conference (WSC) play on Thursday, defeating host Antelope Valley College 7-2 for a sixth straight victory.

Canyons (7-2, 6-0) played without its traditional No. 3 starter Jennifer Russell in the singles lineup but still managed to take 5-of-6 points.

COC freshman Lexi Paunovic found victory from the No. 1 position with fellow freshman Ashley Villarta doing the same just one court over in No. 2 singles play.

Paunovic and Villarta have rotated between the No. 1 and No. 2 spots in recent weeks with COC head coach Patty LaBat and the Cougars seemingly finding success no matter the order. 

Lauren Neal played from the No. 3 spot on Thursday and earned the win, her fourth straight, improving to 6-3 on the year.

Hannah Heiber was dominant in her 6-2, 6-2 win from the fourth court. Same for No. 5 Lauren Hannah who was a quick 6-0, 6-0 winner. Leslie Galaviz returned to make the start for Canyons in the sixth spot but suffered a loss.

The duo of Villarta and Paunovic improved to 5-2 this season with its doubles win on Thursday. Neal and Heiber were also convincing winners, finishing first to earn the opening point of the match for COC. The combo of Hannah and Russell suffered a rare doubles loss.

Canyons will embark on its second round of conference play on Tuesday, March 1 at L.A. Mission College. First serve is scheduled for 2 p.m.

Full results from Thursday's match at Antelope Valley are included below:


1. Villarta/Paunovic (COC) defeats Henderson/Smithley (AVC) — 8-6

2. Hannah/Russell (COC) loses to Faulk/Bulsombot (AVC) — 2-8

3. Neal/Heiber (COC) defeats Garcia/Martinez (AVC) — 8-1


1. Lexi Paunovic (COC) defeats Kristi Henderson (AVC) — 6-1, 6-4

2. Ashley Villarta (COC) defeats Naia Smithley (AVC) — 6-1, 6-0

3. Lauren Neal COC) defeats Brooke Faulk (AVC) — 6-2, 6-2

4. Hannah Heiber COC) defeats Sabrina Bulsombot (AVC) — 6-0, 6-0

5. Lauren Hannah (COC) defeats Gabby Garcia (AVC) — 2-6, 2-6

6. Leslie Galaviz (COC) loses to Juliana Martinez (AVC) — 7-6, 6-1

Stay up to date on all this season's action by following the College of the Canyons Athletic department on social media at @COCathletics on TwitterInstagramFacebook and YouTube

-Photo by Mari Kneisel/COC Sports Information