LA CRESCENTA — It was a battle for second place in the Pacific League when the Crescenta Valley High and Burbank girls’ tennis teams met Thursday afternoon.
With Arcadia already running away with the league, the Falcons and Bulldogs have been able to distance themselves from the remainder of the other squads in league.
The winner Thursday would have the inside track for the league runner-up spot mid-way through the league campaign.
Bolstered by a singles sweep, Burbank took a big step in that direction with a 13-5 victory at Crescenta Valley.
In his seven-year tenure at Burbank (7-1, 4-1 in league), coach Loi Phan has never had a team place higher than third in the Pacific League. With the win against the Falcons (7-3, 4-2) in the first of two meetings, Phan said his squad is well on its way to that runner-up spot, which is where Crescenta Valley placed last season behind the Apaches.
“We always felt like we are the second-best team in the league, now we can say that we are,” Phan said. “We figured with the strength of our singles, we would need to win three sets in doubles to get the win.”
The Bulldogs won four.
The Falcons were at a disadvantage as No. 1 doubles player Jacqueline Dilanchyan had to watch the match from the stands after dislocating her kneecap during a personal workout Sunday.
“I hurt it trying to practice to get ready for this match today,” Dilanchyan said. “It’s real disappointing for me.”
Even playing without her partner, No. 1 doubles player Viktoriya Shumakova teamed up with Sarah Yaghoubi to sweep three sets, 6-4, 6-1, 6-4.
However, that was one of the few highlights of the afternoon for Crescenta Valley, and its only sweep.
In No. 2 doubles, the duo of Angela Seo and Sarah Oh won two, 6-7 (3-7), 6-2, 6-1.
But the big story was with the Burbank singles trio, which won all nine sets, losing just eight games in the process. Leading the way was sophomore Lilit Vardanyan, who won 6-1, 6-0, 6-0.
“We knew this was important and we just wanted to do our best,” Vardanyan said. “I had confidence that we were going to do well. We practiced really hard to get ready for today.”
The other Bulldogs singles players had relatively easy times in their sets, as No. 2 Ashley Basco went 6-1, 6-1, 6-1 and Meredy Gharabegi went 6-2, 6-1, 6-1.
Stepping up in doubles for Burbank was the No. 2 team of Elizabeth Sanchez and Aja Locke, which took two, 4-6, 7-6 (7-3), 6-1. Dana Gibson and Veronica Mendoza won one, 4-6, 1-6, 6-0.
“We knew Burbank was going to be tough in singles,” Crescenta Valley Coach Sam Hyun said. “We were practicing all week on our doubles, trying to get some points there.”
The Falcons will get a shot at revenge against the Bulldogs when the teams meet Oct. 16 at Burbank.