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College of the Canyons women's tennis vs. College of the Desert on April 5, 2022.

No. 4 Canyons Falls 6-3 to No. 5 Desert in Historic First Playoff Match

By Jesse Muñoz/COC Sports Information Director 

College of the Canyons had its 2022 season come to an end on another history-making day, as the No. 4 seed Cougars dropped their first playoff match in program history, falling 6-3 to visiting No. 5 College of the Desert in the opening round of the CCCAA Southern California Regionals on Tuesday. 

Desert (6-3), which was making its first regional playoff appearance since the 2016 season, pulled off the upset despite forfeiting a pair of points to the host Cougars. 

Canyons (13-3) had the benefit of playing on its home court where it had posted a record of 7-2 this season but wasn't able to seize any momentum against the highly regarded Roadrunners.

COC sophomore Lauren Hannah was a straight sets victor (6-0, 6-0) from the No. 5 spot, playing in her final home match as a Cougar. The win was her 10th straight in team competition this season and represented the only player point for Canyons.

The Cougars also received points due to forfeit in No. 3 doubles and No. 6 singles as the shorthanded Roadrunners were unable to field entrants in those spots.

Desert will advance to the next round of the SoCal Regionals and is next scheduled to face No. 2 Riverside City College on April 12. 

Canyons, which launched its women's tennis program in 2018, headed to the postseason after winning the first Western State Conference (WSC) championship in program history and completing a 12-0 run through the conference portion of its schedule. 

Sophomores Jennifer Russell (No. 3 singles) and Hannah (No. 6 singles) were named All-WSC First Team at season's end, while freshmen Lexi Paunovic (No. 2 singles) and Hannah Heiber (No. 5 singles) earned All-WSC Second Team honors. On the doubles side, the team of Lauren Neal and Heiber (No. 3 doubles) were all All-WSC Second Team. 

Russell and Hannah join former Cougar Una Stanisavljevic (2019) as the only All-WSC First-Team selections in the program's young history. Neal and Heiber are the second doubles duo to earn All-WSC Second Team awards, following in the footsteps of Marisa Wambolt/Nicole Villarta (2019).

Additionally, COC head coach Patty LaBat was named the WSC Women's Tennis Coach of the Year. LaBat is now 35-24 in her coaching career at COC which includes a shortened 2020 campaign and the 2021 season cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Full results from Tuesday's playoff match vs. College of the Desert are below:


  1. Paunovic/Villarta (COC) loses to S. Daffon/Mazzotti (COD) — 2-8
  2. Hannah/Russell (COC) defeats E. Daffon/Berrondo(COD) — 2-8
  3. Heiber/Neal (COC) defeats (COD) — Forfeit


  1. Ashley Villarta (COC) loses to Shekinah Daffon (COD) — 1-6, 1-6
  2. Lexi Paunovic (COC) loses to Emunah Daffon (COD) — 1-6, 1-6 
  3. Lauren Neal (COC) loses to Agustina Berrondo (COD) — 1-6, 2-6
  4. Hannah Heiber (COC) loses to Antonella Mazzotti (COD) — 1-6, 0-6
  5. Lauren Hannah (COC) defeats Kimberley Jimenez (COD) — 6-0, 6-0
  6. Jennifer Russell (COC) defeats (COD) — Forfeit

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 Kyle Kawamoto/COC Sports Information