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The student news site of Diablo Valley College.

The Inquirer

The student news site of Diablo Valley College.

The Inquirer

A band of sisters create new look for Women’s Tennis at DVC


The women’s tennis team finished their Big 8 Conference season with an amazing record of 8-1.

According to head coach Jacqueline Ponciano- Babb, the last time a women’s tennis team at DVC had a record as good as this years’ was the 1996-97 team, which ironically was led to a Bay Valley Conference title by now Assistant Coach, Kim Lacke.

The other team was the 1980 squad that went on to win the Northern California community college Championship.

Coach Ponciano-Babb who is also the volleyball and the men’s tennis coach, has only coached the women’s tennis team at DVC for the last three years and the improvement has been outstanding.

“Our goal each year is to improve individually as well as a team so that we can make playoffs and possibly qualify for the State Championship,” Ponciano-Babb said, “This year we feel our team is stronger in every playing position.”

Last year’s team ended Big 8 Conference play by beating out American River College for third place, with a 5-5 record and a 6-7 overall record.

That’s not bad considering that the top four competitors on the team qualified for the Northern California regional Tournament.

The players and coaching staff have learned a lot from last season, they took the season on with a strictly-business-like mentality.

This season’s results are surely a testament to how hard work and discipline foster victories.

“The coaches are definitely more strict compared to last year, but I guess that’s what it takes to win matches;” second year player Christie Lee said.

This is no longer a team, it’s a family. A group of sisters that day in and day out contribute to each other’s game by keeping each other’s spirits up.

Since tennis is such a mental game it helps to have your sisters cheer you up in time of need.

“When we first started the team wasn’t that close, so it’s kind of nice to feel like everyone is a part of a family and you get so much support, “ first year player Stephanie Le said.

“Having a group of sisters not only helps to cheer you up during tough times it also relaxes the team and allows players to achieve their full potential every game.”

A huge difference from year ago, in keeping with the formed family atmosphere, is the addition of Darya Ashim.

Currently ranked as the number one player in the state, Ashim has dominated the league and has been giving the conference rivals Sierra College a run for their money.

“My game is pretty much locked down mentally, so if I wake up in the morning on the right side of the bed then everything is good and the other way around. That day I played Sierra all my racquets broke strings. I had to borrow someone’s racquet to continue playing,” Ashim said.

Born in Russia, Ashim started playing tennis around the age of four. She grew up around the sport as her entire family played.

“My grandfather got me into it. He was my very first coach and I started to just play around my family, “ Ashim said.

When asked about her feelings on being number one in Conference, she referred to being used to it since she has played so long she developed a concentration state that could be trouble for any opposing competitor. She is in the zone.

“When I am in the zone I don’t feel anything, pain and fatigue go out the window. I feel confident in what I am doing because I feel like if I am practicing enough and I’m giving it my all out there than even if I loose at least I can walk off the court and say ‘hey that girl is better than me today,’” Ashim said.

“Our focus for the conference tournament as well as the team playoffs is to have the strongest lineup possible,” Ponciano-Babb said, “we need to be able to fight for each point, each game and each set so that in the end they all will know who will represent their DVC women’s team at the Big 8 Conference tournament and beyond.”

The Women’s Team finished in second place with a 10-2 overall record, ranked no. 4 in Northern California.

Darya Ashim received MVP honors and no.1 Singles Champion and no.1 Doubles Runners-up. Also named to the All- Conference team were Christie Lee, Stephanie Le and Natalia Kusumo.

Next stop, the State Championship Tournament in Ojai, Ca.

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About the Contributor
Aaron Hudson, Sports editor
Sports editor, spring 2013.

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A band of sisters create new look for Women’s Tennis at DVC