The Burbank High and Burroughs girls' tennis teams have both dealt with an unexpected predicament as they head into the 2011 season.
The Bulldogs were expected to have a talented freshman player join their ranks. The player, who is ranked among the top 20 in the girls' 14s, would have definitely bolstered the team's singles corps. However, a wrist injury has sidelined the freshman.
"She had hurt her wrist and she said she would have to miss at least two months of the season," Burbank Coach Loi Phan said. "But our season will be over in two months, so she really wouldn't have been back in time."
For the Indians and Coach Roy Barnhardt, they have a new edition that should give them a formidable No. 1 singles player.
Senior Kathy Henry has decided not to come out for the girls' volleyball team for her final season. Henry averaged 10 kills a match last season as a junior for Burroughs, earning All-Pacific League second-team honors.
Henry is a seasoned junior tennis player who is tournament tested.
"She's definitely a nice addition for us," Bernhardt said. "She has been out there hitting with the boys' players and she's a very good player."
With the season set to begin next week, here is a look at how the teams are shaping up.
The Bulldogs just made the CIF Southern Section Division II playoffs in 2010, finishing fourth in the Pacific League. With a team that boasts a group of returning players and just two seniors, Phan thinks his group could make a return to the postseason.
"Arcadia should be the favorite in our league," Phan said. "But [Crescenta Valley] should be right behind them. I think we have the talent to maybe be the No. 3 team in league this season. It really should be Glendale, us and Hoover battling it out for the last two spots."
Two of Burbank's top returners are sophomore Meredy Gharabegi and junior Ashley Basco. The pair played mainly singles last season, but was paired up for the league tournament. Basco and Gharabegi did well in the event, advancing to the semifinals.
Also returning to bolster the singles is a pair of sophomores, Elizabeth Sanchez and Gabrielle Markari.
"We do have a young team with just two seniors," Phan said. "Mostly our team is sophomores, which is good for our future."
The two seniors, Miyon Kim and Gabrielle Schnaid, will play doubles. Veronica Mendoza should also contribute.
Bernhardt was faced with a tough situation recently, a situation many coaches would envy. With a big preseason turnout, the coach had to cut 15 players.
"We had 50 to 60 players come out for the program this year," he said. "That is just a huge turnout for us. We just didn't have enough space to keep all of them, and that's why I had to make the cuts."
Bernhardt said as the season approaches, he still shuffling his lineup, as singles and doubles slots are still up in the air.
"We will just have to see who fits in the best in which spots," he said. "I'm still not sure where everyone is going to go."
Among the Indians' returners are seniors Eileen Canaria, Abby Kelley, Jessica Vu, Diana Murtha and Raichelle Ortiz. Up from the junior varsity team is Camille Yuson.
Bernhardt also said he has a talented incoming freshman who could also make an impact on the team.
In the Pacific League, Bernhardt expects the Apaches and Falcons to battle it out for the league crown.