Girls' Tennis Preview: Lineup stability to be a key for Crescenta Valley girls' tennis team

At least for now, things seem to be in order throughout the lineup for the Crescenta Valley High girls’ tennis team.

Having stability will be a key for the Falcons in their quest to move up in the Pacific League and battle for a berth in the CIF Southern Section Division II playoffs in November.

“I think we are pretty much set with our combinations in singles and doubles,” said Crescenta Valley Coach Sam Hyun, whose team finished third in league last season and qualified for the postseason. “We have a lot of good players who we can turn to.

“Sometimes you are able to know your lineup going into the season and there are other times when you have to piece one together. We will have a pretty solid lineup.”

The Falcons lost Alexa Gregorian and Jackie Dilanchyan to graduation. The duo won its first league championship and advanced to the second round of the CIF Individuals Tournament last season en route to being named the All-Area Girls’ Doubles Team of the Year.

Crescenta Valley will begin a new chapter in the program’s history by inserting senior Jung Ha Park and junior Ashley An into the No. 1 slot in doubles.

“Things are coming along nicely for them,” Hyun said. “They’ve really practiced well together and we think they’ll be able to get us some points.”

The other doubles teams for the Falcons will be junior Ashley Kim and freshman Min Ju Jung and freshmen Camille Gibney and Kiran Hamkins. Crescenta Valley’s singles lineup will probably feature senior Alexia Voskani, sophomore Marie Arutyunyan and junior Alyssa Kim.

Looking to challenge Crescenta Valley for one of the four automatic playoffs spot out of league are Glendale and Hoover. The Nitros and Tornadoes finished fourth and sixth, respectively, in league last season with Glendale reaching the postseason.

Veteran Glendale Coach Bob Davidson said the Nitros will have more upperclassmen throughout the lineup.

“I think we will at least be definitely a little bit better, at least on paper anyway,” said Davidson, whose team grabbed the last playoff berth in the final week of last season. “We have some question marks in doubles, so we know we’ll have to have some improvement there if we are to have a shot at making the playoffs.

“I think we can be pretty good if we can do that. In the league, I’d have to think that Arcadia and Burbank are the clear-cut favorites. I can see Glendale, Hoover, CV fighting for the other [top-four] spots.”

Glendale’s top athletes will likely be Veronika Galstyan (senior, singles), Imani Story (senior, doubles), Rouzana Hakobyan (senior, singles/doubles), Julie Daribyan (senior, singles/doubles) and Natalie Shamma (freshman, singles).

Like Glendale, at Hoover, Tornadoes Coach Julie Hoppe is hoping for improvement, even if it comes in baby steps.

“We may be a little bit stronger,” Hoppe said. “I think our singles will be stronger because they have experience.

“It’s just a matter of being able to jell in doubles. We will be competitive if we can get things figured out in doubles. Then, we’d have a shot at making the playoffs.”

Hoover’s probable singles lineup will be senior Sara Kim, sophomore Natalie Kelechian and freshman Jessica Chung. The Tornadoes’ top doubles player will be senior Angelina Khourdajian.

At Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy, the Tologs will strive for a return to the playoffs after doing just that two seasons ago. After making the postseason for the first time since 2002 in 2012, Flintridge Sacred Heart took a step back with a fifth-place finish in the tough Mission League last season.

“It’s going to be very interesting to see if we can make the playoffs,” Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy Coach Ron Zambrano said. “We have the potential because we have some more athletic players we can count on.”

The Tologs will bring back junior singles/doubles athlete Holly MacVaugh, junior singles/doubles player Camille Katz and junior singles/doubles athlete Briana Ryan.

Flintridge Prep placed sixth last season in the Prep League. Flintridge Prep Coach Hratchia Sargsyan said he’s curious to see how the Rebels will fare during his second season at the helm.

The Rebels will turn to a trio of sophomores to reverse the team’s fortunes in singles player Suzie Kim, doubles athlete Joyce Hwang and singles/doubles player Emily Hu.

“Things might be a little hectic early in the season because we lost nine seniors who graduated,” Sargsyan said. “We will have a lot of freshmen and sophomores, so we’ll see what we are capable of doing.

“The nice thing is that we have some pieces in place. You just try to work hard and see what will happen.”


Follow Charles Rich on Twitter: @TCNCharlesRich .

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