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College of the Canyons stock image of participants from 2023 Western State Conference championship tournament.

Lady Cougars Play Well at WSC Tourney, Four Headed to Ojai

By Jesse Muñoz/COC Sports Information Director

VENTURA — College of the Canyons competed at the annual Western State Conference (WSC) Singles & Doubles Championship hosted by Ventura College over the weekend, with the Lady Cougars qualifying in four spots at the state championship tourney.

COC sophomore Lexi Paunovic started the event as the No. 11 seed in the singles tourney. Following a first-round bye, Paunovic defeated Sara Vargas of Bakersfield College by a 6-2, 6-1 final score. She followed that up with a prolonged three-set win (3-6, 6-0, 10-5) over Nell Elaerts from Ventura, before being eliminated with a loss in the semi-final round.

Fellow sophomore Ashley Villarta entered as the No. 9 seed and also earned an opening bye. From there, she picked up a quick victory over Julisa Galvan from L.A. Mission College (6-2, 6-0) before suffering a defeat in the next round.

Villarta and Paunovic will both advance to compete at the CCCAA State Championship tourney being held in Ojai at the end of the month.

Elsewhere, Ellie Wingo picked up an opening round singles victory over Erika Ayriyan of Glendale by an 8-4 score. Jennifer Russell also earned a first-round win with an 8-0 result over Elizabeth Jimenez of Bakersfield College.

Marie Arana Llosa and Faith Abt also competed in the singles tourney but were eliminated in the opening round.

In doubles action Paunovic partnered with fellow sophomore Jennifer Russell to post a 2-1 record on the day. That duo will now advance to the state championship doubles tourney. Same for the team of Villarta and Wingo who received a first-round pass then won back-to-back rounds before falling in the semi-final round.

The state championship Ojai Tennis Tournament will be held April 27-30.

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 courtesy of COC women's tennis