The Orange Coast College women’s tennis team concluded its successful season at the Coast Community College Athletic Association State tournament in Ojai last weekend with a quarterfinal and semifinal finish, rebounding from a Southern California Regional semifinal team playoff loss to Glendale on April 17.
Freshman duo Miri Inoue and Camryn Mason fell short in the women’s doubles semifinal against Cerritos College, while Inoue reached the quarterfinals in the women’s singles tournament but lost (6-2, 5-7, 7-6) to De Anza College’s talented Sandra Dafinescu.
It was the perfect finish to a season that produced yet another Orange Empire Conference title and OEC singles and doubles tournament sweep.
Inoue earned OCC female athlete of the year for her dominance, the third straight year a women’s tennis player has received the honor. Her leadership helped the Pirates roll to an 18-2 regular season record, undefeated in OEC.
“This year’s team is very similar to last year’s team, but also very different,” head coach Chris Ketcham said. “We’ve been fortunate enough to be able to have a whole bunch of new solid girls to come in for this year and they’ve performed great.”
Everything fell into place for Ketcham who returned for his third season with the women’s tennis team after a successful tenure with the men’s tennis team. Since he took over in 2016, the women’s tennis program has been on the map, locally and statewide.
The Pirates lost crucial experience but gained youth and exuberance after extending their roster to 11 players in 2018.
“The season has been great,” Ketcham said. “The women have been great. They’ve worked hard and have been committed to developing, improving and working hard to get better.”
Strength and conditioning were the keys to the Pirates’ success, as no major injuries plagued the team. Before every practice, they would warm up by running laps around the courts and strengthen their arms and wrists with resistance bands.
Some of the women’s players come to practice earlier to train with the men’s team to gain additional experience in a fast paced environment.
Inoue often worked with the men’s team and was encouraged to do so by her coach.
“For the girls we get less people, and it’s sometimes less competitive,” Inoue said. “Especially now, before the match, it helps me a lot.”