NORTHWEST GLENDALE — With the top three spots in the Pacific League essentially spoken for, the Hoover High and Burroughs girls' tennis teams met Tuesday afternoon at Hoover to do battle for the all-important fourth and final automatic playoff berth.
The overall parity between the two teams was on full display, as the Tornadoes and Indians finished deadlocked in a 9-9 tie, with a 78-70 edge in games allowing Burroughs to keep hold of the No. 4 spot and take control of its fate in the chase for a playoff berth.
"It came right down to the wire," said Indians Coach Roy Bernhardt, whose team was buoyed by five wins in singles, led by No. 1 Kathy Henry's 6-1, 6-2, 6-0 sweep. "[This match] was huge. If we didn't get this one, we would be in fifth place."
Leading, 8-7, the Indians (4-4 in league) needed to win just one of the final three sets to avoid defeat, as it had a sizable lead in games stockpiled in case of a tiebreaker, but the Tornadoes (4-8, 3-5 in league) did their best to make Burroughs sweat it out.
Hoover's No. 1 doubles Annie Lee and Karmela Castro tied the match at 8 with a 6-2 win over Burroughs' No. 3 team of Camille Yuson and Aileen Canaria, as Hoover's No. 2 singles Pera Beglarian was ahead and fighting to put away a win over No. 3 Alicia Singahnate.
But before that set could be decided, Burroughs' No. 3 tandem of Maria Garcia and Amanda Trinh notched a 6-3 win that made Beglarian's eventual 6-4 win somewhat anticlimactic. Still, Hoover Coach Julie Hoppe was encouraged by her team's fight.
"We were both in the hunt [for a playoff spot], we thought we could pull it out," Hoppe said. "We're happy we got close enough for a tiebreaker, but we had our chances."
Burroughs benefited early from a close 7-6 (7-3) first-round win pulled out by Yuson and Canaria and also counted additional doubles wins from Garcia and Trinh (6-2) and Jessica Vu and Rachelle Ortiz (6-0) in the doubles bracket.
Hoover got a big boost in doubles from Diana Karapetyan and Kristine Adzhemyan, who swept, 6-3, 6-1, 6-4, while No. 1 singles Meghedi Mooradian posted two wins, 6-0, 6-3.
Burroughs, which lost in a tiebreaker to third-place Burbank on Thursday, closes out league play against two teams it has beaten, Glendale and Pasadena, as well as two it lost to during the first time through league in second-place Crescenta Valley and first-place Arcadia.
Hoover must play out the string against Arcadia, Pasadena, Burbank and Crescenta Valley, while hoping for some help from the Indians to get back in the hunt.