BURBANK — The separation between the Burbank High and Burroughs boys’ tennis teams in a Pacific League match came down to a short underhanded stroke that hit the net.
The Indians led by two sets throughout the duration of the contest against the host Indians on Tuesday, but a crucial substitution from Burbank coach Loi Phan gave his side new life.
With a one-set difference in the final round, it came down to a singles battle between Burroughs No. 2 Kyle Lester and Burbank No. 3 Hakop Kerimyan.
Lester saw his rally shot bounce back off the net, giving Kerimyan the win that tied the match at 9, forcing the contest to be decided on games. Burbank held the advantage in games, 73-71, to secure the comeback victory.
“I told my guys, ‘Wow! Good job. That’s the way to battle back,’” Phan said. “On that last round, I thought [we were down] 8-10, but I told my guys in the last round that every game counts. A win would be great, but I need games if you can get games for me.
“I knew it was going to be super close knowing how the score’s going to be, and sure enough.”
Phan switched out Michael Westwood for Parker Katz for the Bulldogs’ No. 3 doubles team with Dominic Sumera in the second round of matches. The No. 3 pair defeated Burroughs No. 2 doubles Cameron Flowers and Sebastian Muga, 6-2, in the final round to tie it at 8.
A Burroughs victory from No. 1 doubles Mark Do and Trieu Nguyen gave the Indians the 9-8 lead before it came down to the match in the middle court between Lester and Kerimyan.
“The nerves really got to me against [Kyle] because [although] I beat him, 6-2, it was very hard-fought,” Kerimyan said. “Most of the points went down to the wire and most of it came down to his mistakes and not my skill. I locked up a lot, but I was able to get the last few points in and finish it off strong.
“It’s big because we’re one of the better teams and this is going to help us with our standings in the league.”
Burroughs (3-4, 3-3 in league) took a 4-2 advantage after the first round after Lester defeated No. 2 Burbank singles Yash Desai, 7-5, for his lone victory.
Burbank (4-2 overall and in league) registered a win from Kerimyan and the No. 1 doubles team of Ethan Lee and Abasi Abukusumo in the first round, as the pair swept, 6-4, 6-1, 6-1.
“It was an exciting match,” Burroughs coach Roy Bernhardt said. “The bad thing It was very close. When we started, I actually thought we were going to win, and then it started getting tight.
“Then [Phan] made that substitution and [Parker Katz] was a much better player because he didn’t show up for practice yesterday, so he wasn’t going to play him. When it got close, he put him in. That put them over the top.”
Burroughs’ No. 1 single player Sam Bernardy swept his three sets, 6-4, 6-2, 6-0.
The Indians kept pace in the second round with a pair of doubles victories from No. 1 Do and Nguyen, who downed No. 2 Greg Gevojanyan and Daniel Khrlobian, 6-1, and No. 3 Daniel Cho and Rafael Munguia, who defeated Sumera and Westwood, 6-0.