The Burbank High and Burroughs boys’ tennis programs qualified for the CIF Southern Section playoffs by finishing among the top four teams in the Pacific League last season.
Unfortunately for the Bulldogs and Indians, the hopes of winning a league championship were dashed once again by Arcadia, which has dominated the league for years and won another league title.
The Burbank and Burroughs coaches acknowledge that once again the Apaches appear to be unbeatable. However, both coaches expect to be competitive among the other league squads and look forward to making another playoff run.
Here is a closer look at the teams.
The Bulldogs are coming off a 2019 season in which they went 8-5 and placed third in league behind Arcadia and runner-up Crescenmta Valley.
In the Division II playoffs, Burbank lost in the first round to Foothill, 15-3.
“I think we will be pretty decent this year,” Burbank coach Loi Phan said. “We have some guys coming back from last season who have played before, so we do have some experience, which is good.
“But I also have a new player, a freshman, who I think is going to be very good. This kid is for real and he can play. I haven’t had a player like this in a very long time. I’m looking forward to seeing what he can do.”
The promising freshman, who Phan has tabbed to play singles, is Adam Ridaoui.
“He has tournament experience and he has played against some good competition,” Phan said.
He will be joined by juniors Abasi Abukusumo and Hakop Kerimyan and seniors Sid Deneuluri and Parker Katz
“We have some other guys who we will see where they will play,” Phan said. “We have other guys about at the same level. We will have to fill in our doubles lineup.”
“In league, Arcadia is going to be untouchable. But really, depending the players that Arcadia has, I think my freshmen is going to be up there with the best players in league. But overall as a team, I don’t think anybody in league has enough to beat Arcadia.”
A year ago, the Indians (6-9) placed fourth in the Pacific League.
In the Division III playoffs, Burroughs won its wild-card match against South Hills, 13-5, before falling to Carpinteria, 12-6, in the first round. Carpinteria advanced to the division quarterfinals.
“Actually, I’ve only got two seniors, so we are going to have players around for next year,” coach Roy Bernhardt said. “But we have some players returning from last year and that should help us.
“But also I have a couple of freshmen who could be good players for us. It’s always nice to get freshmen because hopefully they are going to be around for four years.”
The Indians will have two key returning players in junior Sam Bernardy and senior Sebastian Muga. Other players expected to contribute are sophomores Zion Dumonde, Kyle Lester and Rey Tian and juniors Blake Hildebrandt, Trieu Nguyen and Jacky Nguyen.
Bernhardt has also been impressed with a pair of freshmen, Michael Fraser and Vivek Bhakta, who could make immediate impacts.
“We know it’s going to be tough in our league again,” Bernhardt said. “Arcadia is going to have a good team like usual and CV is always tough. I really don’t know too much about Burbank.
“We are just hoping we can make it to the playoffs again like we did last year. I think we’ve made the playoffs three years in a row now.”