By Dave Loveton
Santa Barbara City College Sports Information
OJAI – Kseniia Prokopchuk broke Sandra DeFrancescu’s serve at the start of both sets on Sunday on the way to a 6-4, 6-2 triumph that gave her the CCCAA Women’s Tennis Singles Championship at Libbey Park.
The tall freshman from Cerritos College grew up in the Ukraine. She was seeded sixth for the State Championships, which were held at the 118th Ojai Tournament. She used a variety of ground strokes and lob shots to upset the No. 4 seed, No. 1, No. 2 from the South and De Francescu, the No. 2 North seed from De Anza College.
Prokopchuk is the fourth women’s singles champion in Cerritos history and the first to do it in 32 years. Julie Hammon won a State title for the Falcons in 1986 and Terri Spence won back-to-back crowns in 1982-83..
Prokopchuk completed the Triple Crown by taking the women’s doubles State title with Lisa Suzuki. The top-seeded Falcon duo beat the third-seeded mother-daughter team of Lelani Spindler and Eva Spindler of American River, 6-3, 6-0. The Triple Crown goes to someone who wins the State team championship, State singles and State doubles.
The hard-hitting DeFrancescu never led in the singles final and was only able to tie it at 2-2 in the second set when she broke Prokopchuk’s serve. Prokopchuk promptly returned the favor with a service break and went on to capture the last four games for the title.
“I was so tired today, my legs wouldn’t listen to me,” said the 5-10 Prokopchuk, who played a doubles semifinal at 8 a.m. (winning 6-0, 6-1), the singles final at 11 a.m. and the doubles final at 2:30 p.m. “It was a difficult final. She’s a nice player but I was confident the whole time.”
Prokopchuk watched her brother, Alexy, upset No. 1 Kent Hunter in the men’s final to complete the first-ever brother-sister State championships at the State Tournament.
“I thought Kseniia played really well, she did what she had to do,” said first-year Cerritos coach Quinn Caldaron. “She has amazing touch. She played her best tennis in this tournament. She was my favorite to win it all going into the tourney because she had been playing so well.
“I’m glad the De Anza girl is so good and hit a lot of hard balls today. Kseniia kept the ball in play and we tried to mix it up. When she had opportunities to be offensive, I wanted her to take it. On defense, she has great touch and kept her depth very well.”
There were eight finalists in the men’s and women’s singles and doubles and six came from Cerritos. The Falcons won all four titles on Sunday.
“We feel lucky to have been in this position and take advantage of it,” said Caldaron.
Prokopchuk completes Triple Crown with State singles & doubles titles
By Dave Loveton