The Santa Monica College women‚Äôs tennis team missed out on an elusive three-peat, taking third place in the Western State Conference after winning titles in each of the last two seasons.
But the Corsairs aren‚Äôt going quietly.
Their players swept the singles and doubles brackets at their league tournament this past weekend, and they‚Äôll be represented by a group of six at the upcoming state tournament.
The advancing contingent is highlighted by SMC standouts Mayra Jovic and Izabel Nazdracheva.
Jovic, a West Hills product who attended an Opportunities for Learning public charter school before arriving at the local community college, powered her way to a conference singles crown April 10 at Ventura College.
“She is fearless, but she is incredibly talented at the same time,” said Corsairs coach Richard Goldenson, who is in his 15th year at the helm. “She doesn‚Äôt have that sense of pressure on her ‚Äî she just plays the game.”
Honored as the league player of the year, Jovic capped the feat with a 6-0, 6-0 sweep of Glendale College‚Äôs Amy Shigenaga. The 5-foot-6 star dropped just five games combined in her five tournament matches.
Jovic also teamed up with Nazdracheva to capture the conference doubles title in dominant fashion, defeating the second-seeded Glendale College duo of Brigitta Benitez and Meredy Gharabegi 6-1, 6-3 in the finals. The SMC tandem won every match of the tournament in straight sets and never lost more than three games in a set.
Nazdracheva, a 5-foot-11 Hollywood native who previously attended the City of Angels independent study school, also qualified for the state tournament in singles after reaching the conference quarterfinals.
Goldenson said Jovic and Nazdracheva will both be title contenders at the California Community College Athletic Association state tournament, which is slated for April 23-26 at several sites in the region. Jovic is the top-seeded singles player, and the duo nabbed the No. 1 seed in the doubles bracket as well.
“They‚Äôve been partners since day one,” Goldenson said. “If they play their best, they‚Äôll be fine.”
CCCAA competition will be held at Ventura College, Camino Real Park and Buena High School in Ventura on the first two days before moving to the Ojai Athletic Club and Libbey Park in Ojai on the third and fourth days, respectively.
Two other SMC pairs qualified for the state tournament. Elin Nyberg and Lauren Voiers will join forces in doubles, as will Shawntel Patterson and Sammy Xiao.
SMC, which was 6-5 overall in duals, finished behind Glendale and Santa Barbara in the conference standings with a 6-4 record.
The Corsairs won four conference championships in the five seasons starting in 2010. In 2011, when they went 17-0 and captured a team state title, Katerina Mozolyuk won the singles crown and Krystal Hansard and Criss Rodriguez snatched first place in doubles.
Contact Jeff Goodman at 310-573-8351, firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter.