BURBANK — Making the jump to CIF Southern Section Division I and playing against tougher competition might have had something to do with the Burroughs High boys' tennis team's struggles during its first-round home match Wednesday.
But according to some of the Indians players, along with facing a talented team in Huntington Beach Marina, they were simply not prepared for their postseason contest in the Southland's toughest division.
Even though it lost its No. 1 singles player earlier in the season because of an injury, singles has been Burroughs' strength throughout the year, helping lift the squad to an undefeated record in the regular season.
However, the Indians were only able to win four of nine singles sets against Marina, as the Visiting Vikings were able to walk away with a 10-8 victory.
It was a tough loss for Burroughs (13-1), which captured the Pacific League championship. Marina (13-8) placed fourth in the competitive Sunset League and qualified for the playoffs with an at-large berth. The Vikings won their wild-card match Tuesday against Simi Valley, 10-8.
"I really don't think it had that much to do with us moving up from Division II to Division I," Burroughs singles player Calvin Fox said about his team's struggles. "I really think it comes down to us not being prepared and not being ready for this match. I don't think we came in the way that we should have."
Many of the Indians players admitted not having practiced for a week since the Pacific League tournament.
"It just seems like we're all a little off today," said doubles player Wen Yao Lin. "We're not at our best."
Maybe so, for everybody but Wen and his partner Kevin Hoang. The duo notched the only sweep of the day for Burroughs, getting 6-3, 6-2, 6-3 wins.
In singles, the only Indians player to win two was Sawyer Patterson, who won the league championship last week. Patterson tallied 0-6, 6-3, 6-2 scores. Teammate Calvin Fox won one, 0-6, 3-6, 6-0, as did Michael Whelan, 1-6, 1-6, 6-0.
The Indians had no answer for 15-year-old Marina freshman sensation Max Cancilla, who swept in relatively easy fashion, 6-0, 6-0, 6-1. At No. 2 singles for the Vikings, Brenden Bear won two, 6-3, 3-6, 1-6.
"Our two singles players are who've carried us most of the season," Marina Coach Cameron Jones said. "Max was a finalist in league and he reached the quarterfinals at Ojai."
The match started out evenly for the teams, as they were tied at 3 after the first of three rounds. However, Marina made a move in the second round and held a 7-5 advantage with one round remaining.
Burroughs got back into the match and trailed by just one, 8-7, in the third after the Indians' No. 2 doubles team of Jacob Kim and Zach Maina recorded a 6-3 win.
But after Cancilla knocked off Whelan to give the Vikings their ninth point, the Indians needed to win the final two sets to force the match to games. Unfortunately, they dropped both sets.
"We knew it was going to be tough in the playoffs," Burroughs Coach Roy Bernhardt said. "I guess everyone is tough in Division I."
Before being moved up to Division I this season, Burroughs made consecutive appearances in the Division II semifinals in 2011 and 2012, losing both times to Palm Desert.