Melissa Matsuoka keeps mementos of her myriad athletic accomplishments in her bedroom. But perhaps the most prized piece of memorabilia representing the Corona del Mar High senior’s glorious tennis career sits hidden from view, tucked away, once again, in a family closet.
That item is an old, now-antique tennis racquet that Matsuoka fished from the back of the closet nine years ago and began hitting a ball against the garage door.
“It was a little mangled,” Matsuoka said of the outdated implement that triggered a passion that propelled Matsuoka to perennial heights in the sport, and, next fall, across the country to attend Dartmouth College in Hanover, N.H. “After a couple times of playing against the garage door, my parents took me to Sports Chalet and bought me a Wilson racquet. I’ve upgraded quite a bit since then.”