Lynn Santamaria had never seen--or heard--anything like it in eight years as Hoover High's tennis coach.
The Tornadoes were playing a season opener against Village Christian on Sept. 10 when a gunshot rang out on School Street, adjacent to the Hoover tennis courts.
"We definitely heard the shot, and there was no doubt in my mind that it was a gunshot, although some of the girls at first thought it was a tire popping," Santamaria said.
Avetis "Avo" Demirtchyan, 15, a Hoover junior, died Sept. 12, two days after he was shot in a confrontation with another teenager.
Daily vigils took place for Demirtchyan and a memorial of candles, flowers and crucifixes was set up where he was shot. Hoover students have raised funds to help defray funeral costs, and grief counseling was offered on campus.
"It was about 100 feet away," Santamaria said. "School Street is about as close to being on the campus as you can get without being on the campus, and when you're in the middle of something like that, you just kind of react and respond. The girls just kind of dropped to the ground and stayed down."
Santamaria sprinted to the school office to inform administrators of the incident and the Glendale police were called. Hoover led Village Christian, 9-2, when play was stopped. The match has not been completed.
"The girls had to answer questions from the police, and it was just a very strange, very surreal kind of scene," Santamaria said.
Hart High, with seven of nine players back from a Foothill League championship team, was expected to be among the top teams in the region. But the Indians have stumbled to a 1-2 start.
The reason: Injuries.
No. 1 singles player Jenny Munroe and No. 3 player Sara Jones both missed two matches last week. Without them, the Indians lost to Buena on Tuesday and beat Ventura on Wednesday.
Munroe, a sophomore who went 48-3 last season, sat out with a strained right quadriceps. Jones, a freshman, has a slightly separated right shoulder.
Munroe played Saturday and for the second straight year won the singles title at the Valencia tournament. Jones' status will be reevaluated this week.
"Certainly, we're happy to have Jenny back in the lineup," Hart Coach Steve Love said. "You can't replace those kids. We're a solid team, but we're not that deep. We can't lose two players of that caliber and not feel it."
When Burroughs High played host to Hoover on Thursday, it was news to the Indians.
Burroughs' schedule said its opponent was "to be announced," and when Indian Coach Roy Bernhardt asked Burroughs Athletic Director Marty Garrison who would be playing, Garrison was stumped.
"He said to me, 'You know, I can't remember who it is,' " Bernhardt said. Burroughs defeated Hoover, 12-6.
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The Top Five
Rankings of regional girls' tennis teams
RK School (League) 1 Simi Valley (Marmonte) 2 Westlake (Marmonte) 3 Calabasas (Frontier) 4 Harvard-Westlake (Mission) 5 Hart (Foothill)