SAN MARINO — The nonleague girls’ tennis match between Burbank High and San Marino had been determined long before the final singles set got underway.
But it didn’t prevent both schools from sweating it out, as sophomore Vivian Le mounted a furious comeback to help host San Marino secure an 18-0 season-opening win Tuesday.
Unable to see well against Burbank’s No. 1 singles Ashley Basco, Le removed her contacts and turned a 4-1 deficit into a 6-4 win to help give first-year Coach John Christopher his first victory with San Marino.
“I couldn’t see in one eye, at all,” Le said. “I tried fixing my contacts, seeing if my eye was dry. I even tried flipping the contacts inside out until I finally just took them off.
“I was definitely worried there for a bit because I didn’t want to be the only one to lose. But I’m glad we were able to close it out.”
Le also defeated No. 2 singles Meredy Gharabegi, 6-1, and No. 3 singles Elizabeth Sanchez, 6-3. San Marino’s No. 1 singles player, Dorothy Tang, won her sets, 6-1, 6-0, 6-0, and No. 2 singles Sarah Gealer won, 6-0, 6-2, 6-0.
As lopsided as Tuesday match might have been, Burbank Coach Loi Phan said he felt it was a valuable learning experience in preparing his squad for tough league opponents.
“I mean, you’re playing the defending CIF champion,” Phan said of San Marino, which won a Division II title in 2010 and a Division III crown in 2009. “With all their returning players, I just told my girls to learn from it. It’s a good experience for us and that’s all I wanted them to do — to see what the top level would be.
“If you want to go far and make playoffs, look at the commitment and look at how hard San Marino plays.”
San Marino’s No. 1 doubles team of Larissa Phillips and Celeste Yeh won, 6-0, 6-0, 6-0 and its No. 2 team of Michelle Gandawidjaja and Monique Gandawidjaja also swept, 6-1, 6-0, 6-0.
The No. 3 doubles team of senior Crystal Yang and freshman Robin Fong won, 6-3, 6-3, against Burbank’s No. 2 and 3 doubles teams. Fong was replaced by Sasha Gabig and San Marino defeated Burbank’s No. 1 doubles, 6-2.
“The singles players, they’re great. I expected that because of their experience,” Christopher said. “But our doubles teams impressed me. I was impressed with how hard we played. It’s 95 degrees and it didn’t seem to bother anyone.
“I was worried about how hot it was, but the girls came out and just played. They were professional about it and they weren’t worried. They seemed confident.”
Burbank dropped to 1-1 after winning its season-opener Thursday at South Pasadena, 13-5.