The Lady Vaqs Tennis team was honored at the monthly Board of Trustees meeting on May 19 for winning the college’s first Western State Conference Championship.
Head Coach Deo Sy and the entire team were on hand as President David Viar called each athlete’s name. As they sat in their formal wear, the students stepped up one-by-one to receive a certificate of recognition, presented to them by Vice President Anita Gabrielian.
Viar introduced the WSC champions, discussing their journey throughout the season. He also addressed their playoff loss to eventual state champions, The Mounties, from Mount San Antonio College. The playoffs included teams from all over California.
“I will attest to [their] very hard fought efforts,” Viar said. “I was pleased to be able to be present to watch them in action.There were probably a couple of calls here and there that some of us might have challenged, but our student athletes plugged on and did not let that turn them around.”
The Lady Vaqs rattled off separate win streaks of nine and six games respectively, entering the playoffs with an overall record of 15-2.
The second-seeded GCC team prevailed against seventh-seeded Irvine Valley College with a 5-2 score in the first round of the CCCAA Southern California Regional Playoffs.
In the second round, they faced the Cerritos College Falcons in a tightly contested match that came down to the final set.
Ayaka Takeuchi defeated Merli Alcasid, ending the tie and putting GCC in the lead at 5-4.
The close win gave the Lady Vaqs a date with the top seeded Mount San Antonio College April 18.
Doubles play proved to be the difference, as Mount San Antonio took both matches before winning overall 5-2.
Although the playoff loss ended their season, sophomore Brigitta Benitez doesn’t think it defines this group of athletes.
“This team is the first team that actually felt like we’re a family,” she said. “We argued, but at the end of the day, we love each other.”
It was this love and passion that made the journey to their first WSC championship all the more special, according to Benitez.Although their successes were a team effort, there was one person to which she attributes most of it.
“I just want to thank my coach,” Benitez said. “My coach did everything.”
Sy was also awarded a certificate of recognition and gave an impromptu speech highlighting his team.
He discussed how the team had its ups and downs, but that those issues only made the overall group stronger.
“What they showed me and themselves this season just shows what kind of good character, what kind of hard work and what kind of sacrifice they did to accomplish this. So really this is for them… they are the ones that put put in the work,” Sy said.