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Hoover finally does it

Mirjam Swanson

NORTHWEST GLENDALE -- It was Sergy Vagramian, the Hoover High boys’

tennis team’s wisecracking No. 3 singles player, who sealed the deal

Thursday at the Fremont Tennis Center.


He made Anaheim Esperanza’s No. 1 singles player Marco Diaddezi miss

one last time, reached down for what was left of his Gatorade, and

flashed that familiar Cheshire cat grin at teammates.

Quite the subdued celebration for a group that was, with Vagramian’s


deciding 10th point, officially going to the CIF Southern Section

Division I final -- marking the possibility that these Tornadoes can

become the first Hoover team to win a title since the baseball team did

it in 1975.

“I think it’s huge,” said senior Eddie Choi, considered the quietest

member of the squad and half of its No. 2 doubles tandem.

“Before [in past years], we couldn’t even begin to imagine this.”

The 12-6 Hoover win meant also that these Tornadoes become the


school’s first boys’ tennis team to reach the final since 1931.

It also means the Coach Lynn Santamaria’s upstart squad has lived up

to lofty expectations.

“I have no words,” the 11th-year coach said. “We’ve reached this point

and we still have to play the final.

“But for the guys to reach this point is beyond words. We’ve been

blessed with some talented players, and one never knows if you’re able to

repeat something like this, so what we have is a moment, a memory that


will last the rest of their lives.”

Indeed, Santamaria’s squad will face Palos Verdes Peninsula, a 14-4

winner against Santa Monica on Thursday, in the championship Wednesday at

the Claremont Tennis Club.

There’s no doubt the Panthers will bring their aura with their


Seven times they’ve played in the championship. Twice they’ve won it,

most recently in 2000.

They’re led by senior Rylan Rizza, who’s ranked No. 18 in the USTA

18-and-under national rankings.

Hoover’s top player, Dylan Kim, is No. 205 in the same ranking --

though that’s somewhat deceptive, considering Kim, a recent immigrant

from South Korea, is still building his ranking.

Last season, Hoover (23-1) traveled to Peninsula’s vaunted courts for

a second-round match and was promptly escorted out of the playoffs, 14-4,

by a Panther team that would finish runner-up in CIF.

So, after cruising through this postseason, the Tornadoes have their

work cut out this time.

Especially considering that Peninsula swept its doubles sets Thursday

and that the Tornadoes won only three of the possible nine against

Esperanza (19-5).

“We only got three,” Santamaria said. “But those points are huge when

you get to this level. Any points we get, we really need.”

The three wins were convincing: 6-3, 6-1, 6-1. And three of the losses

were tantalizingly narrow -- especially Choi and Hakop Tadevosian’s 7-6,

(7-5) defeat against the Aztec’s No. 1 duo of Vince Gonzalez and Andrew

Manson, the only tandem to sweep.

Hoover’s singles lineup did what it does: Win easy and provide the

basis for the team’s grandest hopes.

Kim, Sam Tadevosian and Vagramian have yet to drop a set in the

postseason. Kim allowed just his first games in a 6-2 win against

Esperanza’s Nick Smith.

“I thought we were going to win [Thursday],” Kim said.

"[Wednesday] it’s going to be more difficult, but we can win.”


Hoover 12, Esperanza 6

SINGLES -- D. Kim (H) def. Diaddezi, 6-0, def. Smith, 6-2, def. Ikuta,

6-0; S. Tadevosian (H) won, 6-2, 6-2, 6-2; Vagramian (H) won, 6-2, 6-2,


DOUBLES -- E. Kim/ Weber (H) lost to Gonzalez/Manson, 6-0, lost to

Chung/Woo, 6-3, lost to Aambauer/Teng, 6-2; H. Tadevosian/Choi (H) lost,

7-6, (7-5), won, 6-1, def. Rockmer/Judd, 6-3; Karapetian/J. Kim (H) lost,

6-4, 6-4, def. Aambauer/Teng, 6-1.


First round

Hoover 18, Paramount 0

Second round

Hoover 18, Montebello Schurr 0


Hoover 14, Diamond Bar 4


Hoover 12, Anaheim Esperanza 6