Burbank High girls’ tennis Coach Loi Phan and his counterpart at Burroughs, Roy Bernhardt, are dealing with two vastly different situations with their respective teams this season.
The Bulldogs return almost their entire squad from a year ago and have even added a solid singles player that could give the team a boost.
“We have pretty much have our whole roster back from last season, so that’s nice,” Phan said. “We really just lost a doubles player. We should be stronger in singles and doubles this year. It’s good to have some players who have experience.”
For the Indians, they lost a big group to graduation, including Kathy Henry, who fell to sop-seeded Francis Dean in the Pacific League Tournament semifinals last season.
“We have eight seniors, but we have a few girls who are up from the JV team,” Bernhardt said. “We lost a good group from last year.”
With the season set to begin next week, here is a closer look at how the teams are shaping up.
The Bulldogs went 10-7 in 2011 and placed third in the Pacific League.
Two of the Bulldogs’ most successful returners are senior Ashley Basco and junior Meredy Gharabegi. The two played primarily at singles a year ago, but have teamed up to form a formidable doubles pair the last two seasons in the league tournament.
In 2011, Basco and Gharabegi defeated Arcadia’s Elizabeth Liev and Nadia Pacheco-Amaro to advance to their first Pacific League championship match.
“Those two girls have been with the program for a few years,” Phan said. “They know what is expected of them and they know what they have to do.”
Joining the singles ranks is sophomore Lilit Bardanyan, who was injured prior to the start of the 2011 season and didn’t play for the Bulldogs. Junior Elizabeth Sanchez will also play singles, giving the team four solid players.
“All four of those girls are battling for singles spots,” Phan said. “That’s good competition for them.”
Doubles players will include seniors Dana Gibson and Brianne Waller and juniors Gabrielle Markari and Veronica Mendoza.
Phan said he is confident that his team will be able to qualify for the CIF Southern Section playoffs this season. However, winning a Pacific League championship might be a stretch.
“Arcadia is probably going to have one of its best teams ever,” he said. “They have Francis back as their No. 1 player and I’ve heard that they have a few freshmen that are supposed to be pretty phenomenal. I think it’s going to be us and [Crescenta Valley] who are going to be battling it out for second place.”
The Indians (8-9) grabbed the last postseason spot of the Pacific League a year ago with a fourth-place finish.
Bernhardt said he has been pleased with the way his team has been preparing for the season.
“I’m really happy with the way they’ve been working and they are out there working hard despite it being really hot the last few weeks,” he said. “But they don’t complain and they do the workouts any way. This is a really hard working group.”
The Indians will boast eight seniors on the roster this season.
Playing singles will likely be seniors Alicia Singhante, Angelica Cabanilla and Sarah Han.
The doubles players will consist of seniors Maria Garcia, Chriza Timagos, Amanda Trinh, Jacqueline Phan and Andrea Smith.
New to the team is freshman Oanh Nguyen, who will play doubles.
“We might still shuffle some players in singles and doubles,” Bernhardt said. “Nothing is set for sure yet.”
With an untested team, Bernhardt said he doesn’t know what to expect as far as Burroughs’ possible league placement.
“I think Arcadia and CV should have good teams,” he said. “We will just have to see how we’re going to do.”