Following the first round of sets Thursday afternoon against Burbank High, Crescenta Valley boys' tennis Coach Sam Hyun told his players that they would have to step up their game.
The Falcons held a two-set lead against the host Bulldogs in the opening round and the coach thought his squad could have played better.
Crescenta Valley responded, won all but one set in the second round and was able to finish off Burbank, 12-6, to remain undefeated in the Pacific League.
"I know we could have played better in that first round," Hyun said. "We have two singles players who are a little sick and I was hoping to start out better than we did so maybe I could take them out and put in some subs. But since it was so close, I wasn't able to take them out.
"We knew this was probably going to be for second place in league and we really needed to play well against Burbank. We didn't expect it to be as close as it was in the first round."
The Falcons (6-2, 5-0 in league) will have a showdown against the league's only other unbeaten team, Arcadia, on March 28 when they return from spring break.
The Bulldogs (4-3, 3-2) kept it close after the first round as they trailed, 4-2, with their two wins coming on a 7-6 (7-3) tiebreaker in doubles and a close 7-5 result in singles
"The sets were close in the first round, so that gave us some hope," Burbank Coach Loi Phan said. "Our No. 2 doubles were up, 4-3, and they ended up losing, 4-6. There were some sets that we were also up that we lost.
"We figured even if we lost today, if we could at least show that we could compete with them that would give us hope the second time we will play them."
Crescenta Valley played well in the second round, winning it, 5-1, to enjoy a 9-3 advantage heading into the third round.
The Falcons secured the 10th set win and clinched the match with a 6-0 victory by the No. 1 doubles team of Edward Ahn and Darren Kim. The duo also posted a 6-4 victory.
The lone sweep of the day by Crescenta Valley came via its No. 2 doubles duo of Justin Kim and Maclean Lunt, 6-4, 6-4, 6-3.
"In the beginning of a match, it's pretty much pressure for the most part," Kim said. "But once you really start getting into the games, you kind of forget about that and you just play."
In doubles, the Falcons also received two wins from Terry Shin and Adi Saravanan, 6-1, 6-1. In singles, No. 1 Kevin Rowe won one, 6-2, No. 2 Charlie Kim won two, 6-3, 6-1, and Amos Ro took one, 6-4.
Burbank was paced by its top singles player, James Lee, who swept, 7-5, 6-3, 6-1. At No. 2, Luciano Depuetto won one, 6-3. The Bulldogs only won two sets in doubles, one coming from No. 1 Alejandro Ramos and Emory King, 7-6 (7-3), and the other from No. 2 Sid Deneuluri and Ethan Lee, 6-4.
"It was good the way we came back in that second round," Hyun said. "That's the way we should have played in the first round."
Jeff Tully, firstname.lastname@example.org