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Burbank cruises to victory in first round

Jim Riggio

The singles players on the Burbank High girls’ tennis team didn’t

quite post a shutout, but they certainly got close.

Burbank surrendered just six games in nine singles sets in


Thursday’s 16-2 victory against Paramount in the first round of the

CIF Southern Section Division III playoffs at the Burbank Tennis


Burbank won six of the nine singles sets by scores of 6-0 and two


more by 6-1 margins.

The only set Burbank had any difficulty in was a 6-4 victory by

No. 2 player Lucy Youchkovets against Paramount’s No. 1 entry Eli


“I think Lucy had a mental let down. She was up, 4-1, and it was

tight at the end,” Burbank Coach Paul McNiff said.

Burbank (16-3) wasn’t as strong in doubles, but still the Bulldogs

had no trouble disposing of the second-place team from the San


Gabriel Valley League, which is generally not recognized as a strong

league in tennis. Paramount finished the season with a 9-8 record.

The win puts Burbank in today’s second-round contest against Lake

Arrowhead Rim of the World (17-0), which defeated Yucca Valley, 13-5,

in Thursday’s opening-round contest. The match will be at 2 p.m. at

the Burbank Tennis Center.

Freshman Marianna Khachatryan, who won the Foothill League singles

title Nov. 6, won all three of her sets by 6-0 scores.


“Having Marianna is nice because she can sweep against a lot of

quality schools,” McNiff said. “It’s nice having her because she can

come through if someone else doesn’t win a set.”

Youchkovets won, 6-1, against Paramount’s No. 2 player Jennifer

Ontiveros and, 6-0, against No. 3 entry Judith Michel.

Burbank’s No. 3 player, Natalie Rafaelian, went, 6-0, 6-1, 6-0.

In doubles, Burbank’s No. 1 team of Vera Affi and Kristine

Patatanyan swept, 7-5, 6-4, 6-4.

The Bulldogs’ No. 2 team of Diane Grair and Summer Zapata also

swept, 6-2, 7-5, 6-3.

Burbank’s No. 3 team of Sizhe Liu and Christine Zapata went, 4-6,

2-6, 6-1.

Overall, McNiff was pleased with the draw his team got.

“I knew we’d be expected to win,” McNiff said. “This is a

formidable draw. This is a great warmup draw. It gets progressively

more difficult after this. Our doubles are doing fine, even though

they were a little rusty with a day off because of the rain.”

If Burbank can get past Rim of the World, it would

more-than-likely face Long Beach Poly (15-2) -- a 12-6 winner against

Garden Grove Bolsa Grande on Thursday -- in the quarterfinals. The

Jackrabbits knocked the Bulldogs out of the playoffs with a 14-4

second-round victory last year at the Burbank Tennis Center.