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Girls' Tennis Season Preview: Burbank has share of returning talent

Girls' Tennis Season Preview: Burbank has share of returning talent
Kristina Kirakosyan is a key returner this season for the Burbank High girls' tennis team. (Tim Berger \ Staff Photographer)

Behind a group of returning players, the Burbank High girls’ tennis team advanced to the CIF Southern Section quarterfinals in 2017.

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This season, the Bulldogs have a group of those players back, while two key athletes will not return.

At Burroughs, the Indians will look to get back to the postseason with a mix of returning and new players.

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Providence begins its third season as a program and will make the jump to the competitive Prep League, where it will compete on the junior-varsity level.

Here is a closer look at the teams.

BURBANK

Last season, the Bulldogs placed third in the Pacific League and advanced to the Division II quarterfinals for the first time in 14 years, losing to top-seeded Beckman, 15-3.

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“We were going to have most of the girls back from that team and I figured we would be pretty good,” Burbank coach Loi Phan said. “But two of our players from our starting doubles teams didn’t come back; one moved away and the other decided to run cross-country.

“So, I expect us to be alright and our singles will be solid, but we’re just not going to be as good as I thought we were going to be. But we have some good freshmen so hopefully they are going to help us.”

Returning to pace Burbank is junior singles player Kristina Kirakosyan. A year ago, Kirakosyan advanced to Pacific League semifinal, going 32-4 overall and 10-2 in the playoffs.

Also returning for the Bulldogs are senior Johana Faraj and sophomore Jinette Faraj.

“As of now, I don’t have an idea of who else I’m going to have in there,” Phan said. “We will have to wait and see.”

In the Pacific League, Phan said he expects defending champion Arcadia to again be the premier team.

“We can just give the league title to Arcadia right now, they are that good,” he said. “We just have nothing to compete with them. I think it will be us, Glendale and [Cresscenta Valley] battling it out for the two, three and four spots.”

BURROUGHS

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The Indians are coming off a season in which they placed fifth in the Pacific League, missing fourth and an automatic berth in the playoffs with a loss to Glendale in the final league match.

“I think I lost a few key players to graduation,” Burroughs coach Roy Bernhardt said. “But I picked up some new girls who should be pretty good and the girls who were juniors last year have all improved.

“So, It’s going to be fun. I still have to figure out specifically who is going to be play singles and who is going to be playing doubles.”

Among the returners are seniors Sandy LeMay, Phuong Nguyen and Savannah Dorris, along with junior Chloe Bookmyer and sophomore Alice Weber.

Newcomers who could make an impact are freshmen Lauren Pieri and Isabella Harris-Bermudez, sophomore Elizabeth Fraser and senior Sara Hawa.

“I think we are going to have a good mix of players between the girls from last year and the new players,” Bernhardt said.

Bernhardt said he is hoping his squad will be able to make it back to the postseason.

“Arcadia should be good, as usual,” he said. “I am hoping we have enough to be able to make the playoffs.”

PROVIDENCE

The Pioneers move from the Liberty League to the Prep League. The team will play nonleague matches on the varsity level and compere as a JV squad in league.

“I think that league is a lot tougher than the league that we came from, so I think it will be good for us to compete against JV teams,” coach Mark Pfau said. “We are only in our third season and we are still trying to build the program.

“But we will have five returning starters from last year, so we will have some players back, which is good.”

One of those returners is sophomore Olivia Robinson. Last season, Robinson was part of a Pioneers doubles team that captured a league title and advanced to the CIF Southern Section Individual Sectional Tournament.

Also returning to bolster Providence are sophomores Ella Florian, Kate Collier and Sadie Shields, along with junior Melanie Ruiz.

New to the squad are juniors Marie Sukunyan and Kat Asaryan, sophomore Ashley Gharayan and freshmen Ella Shenoudian and Sarah Collier.

“We do have some talent with this team,” Pfau said. “I am just hoping they will work hard and they will improve as the season goes along.”

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