NORTHEAST GLENDALE â€” For the next two-plus weeks, the Glendale Community College men's team will be idle.
That might work to the Vaqueros' advantage, since it will allow them time to field a healthy lineup in their quest to put some victories together.
Glendale college completed the nonconference portion of its schedule Friday afternoon with a 6-3 home loss to talented Saddleback College.
The Vaqueros (1-3) won't play again until 2 p.m. Feb. 26, when they begin Western State Conference competition with a road match at Bakersfield College. The Vaqueros placed second in conference last season before advancing to the Southern California Regionals.
Glendale college, which dropped its third match at home this season, competed without No. 1 singles player Emanuel Haug and sophomore Greg Arutyunyan. Haug suffered a right-knee injury during a season-opening loss to Cerritos College on Jan. 31, and Arutyunyan will return against Bakersfield College after completing the winter academic session.
Haug, who is from Germany, said he might practice next week.
The Vaqueros, who recorded a 9-0 nonconference road win against Mount San Antonio College on Thursday, had one returner on the court Friday in No. 1 singles player Matt Taoatao. He posted a 6-4, 6-4 singles win against Travis McClellan before teaming with freshman Ryan Stanbury to earn an 8-1 doubles win against McClellan and Bryce Keefer.
Taoatao, who was named to the conference's second team at No. 4 singles last season, said the Vaqueros showed their inexperience against Saddleback (3-1).
â€œA lot of our guys have yet to play a lot of college tennis,â€ Taoatao said. â€œThey just need more experience playing at a higher level.
â€œI'm trying to adjust, too. I was at No. 4 last year. We just have to get some more practices in and get in better shape.â€
Saddleback College, which finished third in the competitive Orange Empire Conference last season behind powerhouse College of the Desert and Riverside Community College, won four of the six singles sets.
Charlie Hunt, Alvin Jogasuria, Jason Bradshaw and Blake Emery picked up singles wins for Saddleback College.
Stanbury, who graduated from Loyola High, posted a 6-1, 6-1 win against Keefer.
Glendale college Coach Bob MacKay said the Vaqueros, who played their third match in a four-day stretch, did some positive things against a quality opponent.
â€œThe key for us was being able to move guys up in the lineup, and that's encouraging,â€ said MacKay, who was tabbed the conference's co-coach of the year last year. â€œThat's good against a good team.
â€œI'm optimistic because we held our own by playing much better. I saw some things where we need to work harder, because we need to get to the point where we can close out matches.â€
Glendale college will participate in its first conference home match at 2 p.m. Feb. 28 against Santa Barbara City College.