Burbank has tough first-round CIF draw in girls' tennis

So much for the Burbank High girls' tennis team finishing runner-up in the Pacific League and hoping to get a home match for the first round of the CIF Southern Section Division II playoffs.

The Bulldogs can also forget about getting an easy opening opponent.

Burbank will take to the road Wednesday to compete in a 2 p.m. opening-round match against Beverly Hills.

While the Bulldogs (14-2) finished behind second-seeded Arcadia in league, the Normans also placed second in the Ocean League behind tough Santa Monica.

"That's a very tough team, Beverly Hills," said Burbank Coach Loi Phan, whose team finished higher than third place in league for the first time in his six-year tenure. "They only lost to Santa Monica, 10-8, twice, and Santa Monica is very good. I know Beverly Hills has a good ranked singles and good doubles teams.

"We were at least hoping for a home match, but what can you do?"

The Bulldogs have two solid players in Ashley Basco and Meredy Gharabegi, who teamed up to place second in doubles in the league tournament. The two played singles most of the season. The squad also has a talented singles player in Lilit Vardanyan, who has been battling a wrist injury.

Phan said he will not likely shuffle his lineup against Beverly Hills and will have to see if Vardanyan will be well enough to play singles. If not, he might put her in doubles, as was the case in the league tournament.

In Vardanyan's absence in singles, Elizabeth Sanchez has filled in well and lost just one set in Pacific League team play the last few weeks of the season.

"Even if we win we will get [No. 3-seeded] Claremont in the next round," Phan said. "It's just a brutal draw. But you have to go out there and play."

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