The Hornets’ womens tennis team is fresh off of a 5-1 victory over the Orange Coast College Pirates on Saturday to clinch their second consecutive So Cal Championship.
They won the State Championship last season and will be given a chance to do so again, Wednesday, against Sierra College.
“The team is playing their best tennis of the season,” said Fullerton College assistant coach Ian Lang. “I definitely think that we are going in with a lot of confidence and have a very good shot to come back as repeat champions.”
The team is anchored by the doubles pairing of Sarah Anderson and Sarah Edwards. Anderson was last year’s state runner up in singles competition and will look to take the top spot at next weekend’s individual championships in Ojai.
“We feel good going into it,” Anderson said. “All of the girls have been playing good tennis and I think we are the team to beat.”
In doubles play, Anderson and Edwards have gone the whole year without losing a match and will look to keep that momentum going.
“Anderson won the doubles title last year with Victoria Vo,” said head coach Scott Giles. “I think the pairing this year may be even better. Anderson is incredible on the serve and Edwards is one of the best net players that we have had come through this program.”
The team is 20-2 on the season and took home the Orange Empire Conference title, April 10, against Riverside. Anderson took home the conference championship in singles and Anderson and Edwards took home the doubles title.
The confidence is high, but the team knows that there is some stiff competition ahead over this upcoming week.
“We know how good the teams are that we are going to play,” Edwards said. “But, given the way we have been playing and what happened last year, we are kind of looking at the title as ours to lose.
The team has thrived this year because of their depth and experience. They feel confident with all of their players one through six, in singles and one through three in doubles.
“We have a lot of great depth on this team,” Giles said. “Our number two player Cailin Mitchell, our captain, has been great for us and our number four Jasmine Catolico had to bounce back from an injury early in the year and is playing her best tennis also.”
Catolico, Anderson and Mitchell are the three sophomores on the team and have seen what it takes to win a state championship. The team is different than last years but appears to be just as good.
“I definitely believe that this team has a chance to win it all,” Mitchell said. “All of our attitudes are right and we came into this season with the expectation to make it back to state and now that we are here, it has been validated.”
The first step is Wednesday against Sierra for the team championship. The Hornets took home the So Cal championship and Sierra is the Nor Cal champion.
“I definitely think that we should be able to bring home the team title,” said Catolico. “Our depth is really hard for teams to compete with.”
Then, Thursday through Sunday, the team will be up in Ojai for the individual championships. The individuals are broken into doubles and a 90-person singles tournament.
The pairing of Anderson and Edwards is the favorite to win the doubles title, and Anderson has proven that she will definitely be in the running for the singles title.
“Anderson took home second last year in the individual,” Giles said. “But we qualified four girls, our sophomores and Sarah Edwards. I think that all four of them have a chance to play deep into the singles tournament.”
Beyond on-court ability, there is a lot that goes in to a team winning a championship. The FC players and coaches seem to agree that the team has what it takes overall.
“This is an amazing group of girls,” Giles said. “Sure, they are great on the court. However, they are all great in the classroom and they are great citizens.”