Despite loss, Burbank boys' tennis appreciates playoff appearance

PASADENA — Though the score was hardly what the Burbank High boys' tennis team would have liked, the accomplishment resided in reaching Wednesday afternoon's CIF Southern Section Division II playoffs.

For the first time in five years, the Bulldogs advanced to the postseason.

That playoff inexperience coupled with the talent and power of host Pasadena Poly was too much for Burbank, which was defeated, 17-1, at Caltech University.

"The score wasn't what we wanted, but for these guys — Kevin [Orellana] has been waiting for three years, four years," said Bulldogs assistant Kenneth Banares, a Burbank High 2011 graduate who spoke on behalf of head coach Loi Phan. "He's a senior. You might as well take it in.

"It hasn't been waiting as much as hoping. We haven't been to the playoffs since my senior year."

With the loss, the Bulldogs finished the season at 7-7 as the third seed out of the Pacific League, while Prep League champion Poly (15-1) earned a berth to Friday's second round.

Expecting a difficult match, Banares tailored a message of hope to his squad.

"I just told them you never know what the outcome could be because you don't know who they are," Banares said. "You've heard that they're pretty good and that they're seeded and you just go out, have fun and do what you've been doing all season."

While there were some competitive sets, the action wasn't close on the scoreboard as the Panthers took a 6-0 lead after one round en route to winning the first 17 sets.

Orellana delivered Burbank's only victory when he defeated Poly sub Turner Thompson, 7-6 (7-3) in the final set of the contest.

Prior to the win, the Bulldogs came up just short in two previous singles sets as Poly's Jack Fleming bested Orellana, 7-6 (7-3) in a meeting of each school's No. 1 seed.

Burbank's Jason Lee also came up short against Poly's Carson Yu, 7-6 (7-2).

On the doubles side, Poly was in complete control, as the Panthers went 9-0 while no doubles squad surrendered more than two games.

"This was a great opportunity and we all know not too many people get a chance to go to the playoffs," Burbank co-captain Alejandro Ramos said. "Out of seven [Pacific League] teams, only a few get to go and we were surprised to get third and get to the playoffs.

"This is the furthest we've gone in years and we're real proud. This is a big accomplishment for all of us."