Burbank High tennis makes sweep against Burroughs look easy

BURBANK — The Burbank High girls' tennis team is coming off a season in which it placed second in the Pacific League behind champion Arcadia.

The Bulldogs are definitely focused on contending for a league championship this season, as the program hasn't captured a title since 2002. With a fine crop of returners and a freshman already making an impact, Burbank might be well on its way.

The Bulldogs wanted to maintain that focus Tuesday when they opened Pacific League play against cross-town rival Burroughs. Paced by a dominant singles group, Burbank swept its way to an 18-0 victory against the overmatched Indians.

"The girls are really excited this year and they've been working hard," Burbank High Coach Loi Phan said. "We kinda want to take that next step and be up there for a league title. It's not easy, but the girls have been willing to work hard and they are asking for the conditioning.

"I told them today it's going to be against their rival and you take that momentum and carry it over to the next match. I wanted to make sure they played like they were supposed to, get out there, take care of business and get it done."

The Bulldogs (2-0) have their eyes on their matchup with host Arcadia on Sept. 17. The Apaches opened their league campaign with an 11-7 victory Tuesday against host Crescenta Valley.

However, before then, Burbank will have a nice nonleague tuneup Thursday at home against Hart from the Foothill League.

"That match against Hart is important to us because it will give us a good idea of where we are against a good team and that will help us gear how we are going to possibility stack up against Arcadia," Phan said.

While the Bulldogs are hoping to compete against the top-tier teams in league, Burroughs (0-4) has struggled through its first four contests of the season. To its credit, the Indians did lose some key players to graduation.

The closest Burroughs came to winning a set Tuesday was when the doubles team of Alicia Singhanate and Katie Lee lost a tie-breaker to Leona Torosian and Natalie Pickles, 7-6 (8-6).

"The girls are working hard," said Burroughs Coach Roy Bernhardt, whose team has suffered nonleague losses to Alhambra, South Pasadena and Sherman Oaks Notre Dame. "I'm just hoping that they have some fun out there and enjoy the season. …I just think their talent is better than what they've shown."

It was a strong singles contingent that paved the way for the Bulldogs, as the trio surrendered just two games in nine sets. The only singles player to sweep her three sets was junior Lilit Vardanyan, who won by 6-0 scores. Also sweeping were senior Meredy Gharabegi, 6-0, 6-1, 6-0, and freshman Nicole Merrit, 6-0, 6-1, 6-0.

"We have some good singles this year, with Nicole coming in," Vardanyan said. "Nicole is very consistent, she hits the ball well and she has really helped us so far."

In doubles, it was the No. 2 tandem of Elizabeth Sanchez and Veronica Mendoza who set the tone, going, 6-2, 6-0, 6-0. The No. 1 team of Gabrielle Markari and Marny Ehmann swept, 6-3, 6-1, 6-1, and the No. 3 squad of Torosian and Pickles won, 7-6 (8-6), 6-4, before Pickles gave way to Yeva Petrosyan and the pair won, 6-1.

"Doubles is going to be the key for us against Arcadia," Phan said. "Our doubles is going to have to play better than they did today if we've got a chance at winning.

"We do have our first doubles team that is pretty much set, but I'm still shuffling around our other two doubles to get the best combination."

Copyright © 2019, Burbank Leader
EDITION: California | U.S. & World