Youthful Rebels stumble in opener

BURBANK — The Flintridge Prep boys’ tennis team entered the season with a roster comprised of nearly all freshman and sophomores and Coach Park Cockerill knew it would take some time for his team to grow into its potential.

The Rebels caught a glimpse of some of the growing pains they’ll likely experience this year, but also a hint of how bright the future might be on Tuesday in a 15-3 nonleague road loss to Burbank High.

The Bulldogs swept all the doubles matches, while the Rebels were able to pull out three singles wins in the season opener for both squads.

“I liked a lot of what I saw in the singles and we had some players on the doubles that came through and played very well,” said Cockerill, who is in his second season at Prep. “We need to work on our consistency and moving up to the net, taking control of the point instead of staying back and taking pictures.”

After falling to Burbank’s top singles player, Arthur Karagezian, Rebels freshman Alex Wood picked up 6-4 and 6-2 victories for an impressive prep debut.

Flintridge Prep’s other win came from No. 2 singles player Eric Kazangian, also a freshman, when he knocked of Burbank’s Brian Shin, 6-3.

Karagezian was stellar in his season debut for Burbank, notching three singles wins, 6-0, 6-1, 6-0.

The Rebels’ No. 1 doubles team of seniors Daniel McLaughlin and Robert Goodwin dropped its two matches, 6-3, 6-3. The closest Prep came to pulling out a win in doubles action came when the No. 3 team of Krishan Sutharshana and Jonathan Kim pushed Burbank’s top team of Mat Respecio and Kahree Bellow before bowing out, 6-4.

“A win is a win, but we have a lot to work on in doubles,” Burbank Coach Loi Phan said.

While it may not have been the perfect beginning to the season Prep had envisioned, Cockerill knows the future is bright.

“For this season and this year, I see Flintridge Prep developing stronger players and playing better tennis and eventually winning some big matches,” he said. “I expect them to do their best all the time and I’m going to be very hard on them.”

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