It didn't take long for Lauren Hickey to turn West Valley women's tennis into, in her words, "a program on a quick ascent into NorCal dominance." After taking over a Viking program that hadn't played a match in three decades, the Vikings won a single match in 2019. But, Hickey's 2020 Vikings finished 5-5 thanks, in large part, to three sophomores playing some of the most improved tennis in NorCal and six productive first-year athletes. The 2020 Vikings ended the year ranked #10 in NorCal and #24 in California. Coaching plus recruiting is equaling success at West Valley for Lauren Hickey.
A basketball and tennis standout at Santa Rosa's Ursuline High School, Hickey decided to focus on tennis at Santa Rosa Junior College. As a Bear Cub, she was an Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) All-American in doubles with twin sister Kelly in 2004 and 2005, and an ITA singles All-American in 2005. Hickey was SRJC's MVP and team captain and was named a CCCAA Scholar-Athlete both years. She transfered to the University fo San Francisco, where she was, again, a decorated scholar-athlete.
After graduating from USF, Hickey became the women's tennis co-head coach at City College of San Francisco (2008). She returned to Santa Rosa in 2009 as the men's and women's assistant coach at SRJC and then took over as the head women's coach at Foothill College in Los Altos.
At Foothill, she was named the Coast Conference Coach of the Year four times (2011, 2012, 2013, 2014). In 2014, Hickey was named the Coach of the Year for California Junior and Community Colleges by the ITA. She left Los Altos for Saratoga in 2018 to resurrect a Viking program that had been dormant for 30 years.
Hickey's 2019 team featured Arlenne Quinones, Abigail Salazar and Sovanny Thach, the players who helped the Vikings to the huge improvement in 2020. That first-year squad also saw doubles partners Joyce Chou and Lydia Tellgren advance to the state championship tournament in Ojai. Before the season was unexpectedly halted, the 2020 team was making a playoff push, winning three of its last four matches, including a season-ending 5-4 thriller over 8-2 Chabot. While ranked 24th in the state, Hickey's Vikings defeated #16 Chabot and #19 Solano in regular season match play.
For more information about West Valley women's tennis, contact Coach Hickey at email@example.com.
Q&A with Coach Lauren Hickey
What is your favorite West Valley memory?
"The first win in program history." (A 7-2 win over intra-district rival Mission College on March 8, 2019)
Why should a recruit consider your West Valley program to be their first and best choice?
"We have the best support system - trainers, counselors, a Sports Information Director. We have year-round training conducted by a a coach with a proven track record. This is a program on a quick ascent to NorCal dominance."
What do you like best about working at West Valley?
"The College is extremely supportive of all the athletic teams. From our Athletic Director to our trainers to our counselors and our SID, it is motivating to work at a college that hires such passionate professionals. The culture and camaraderie in the athletic department is inspiring."
In one sentence, describe what you expect from your players.
"Passionate, relentless pursuit of excellence both on the court and in the classroom."
In one sentence, describe your coaching style.
"I encourage confidence and belief in my student athletes and their ability to develop and succeed."
Who are your major influences in life and in sports?
"My family has been a huge influence. They fostered an environment that allowed me to chase my athletic dreams. I grew up playing all sports and, in elementary school, I thought I would play division one basketball. My growth on the tennis court is a direct result of playing competitive team sports my entire life. I've been lucky to play for many coaches who have been able to push and challenge me to grow and succeed on the court."
When a player graduates from West Valley, what do you wanrt them to take with them from their experinces on your team?
"When players graduate from WVC, they will leave with leadership skills that will carry them through the rest of their athletic and academic career. I also want them to leave with the pride of being a Viking."