BURBANK — With Arcadia High head and shoulders above all the other girls' tennis teams in the Pacific League in recent years, Crescenta Valley High and Burbank have battled it out for second place the previous two years.
The runner-up spot in both of those years was won by the Bulldogs.
Both teams' coaches expected their squads to again battle it out for second place this season.
Crescenta Valley took the early advantage over Burbank in the teams' first meeting Thursday afternoon, winning eight of nine doubles sets to turn back the host Bulldogs, 12-6.
"For me and, for some of the girls, we thought about what this match might mean for us," Crescenta Valley doubles player Rachel Shinn said. "It's been close the past couple of years between our teams and we expected it to be close again.
"It was nerve-wracking in the beginning, but we were able to settle down and I thought we played well."
It was only the second match of the season for both the Falcons (2-0, 2-0 in league) and the Bulldogs (1-1, 1-1), who had matches postponed or canceled and practices cut short or scrapped because of heat and the La Tuna Fire.
"In the Pacific League, we start off league sooner than just about any other sport and play starts after the second week," said Burbank coach Loi Phan, whose team opened the season Tuesday with a 14-4 league win against Pasadena "It's been tough enough not being able to have the games before our league to kind of see where we're at, but they even canceled our practices and that has put us way behind.
"The key thing in the preseason is getting the right combinations for the doubles teams, especially if you got new people playing. It's just hard to come right in playing and you have to start league right away."
Those Burbank doubles teams struggled against the Falcons' contingent, with the only win coming from the top duo of Elza Vardanuan and Krystal Hirahara, 7-6 (7-5).
The Falcons received a pair of sweeps in doubles from Shinn and Michelle Jung, 6-0, 6-2, 6-3, and the No. 3 duo of Marina Saroyan and Leah Baghdassarian, 6-2, 6-3, 6-3. The team of Camille Gibney and Kiran Hamkins took two, 6-2, 6-3.
In singles, Crescenta Valley No. 1 Melissa Muradoglu won two, 6-3, 6-2, and No. 2 Victoria Borkowski took one, 6-1.
"We have some newcomers, but because we had some matches canceled we are just untested," said Falcons coach Sam Hyun, whose team won their opener Wednesday against Burroughs, 14-4. "So we were a little anxious coming into today because we really didn't know what we have."