Nitros serve up victory

SOUTHEAST GLENDALE — It's the first week of the spring sports season, yet the Pacific League boys' tennis season is already underway.

It's a byproduct of the league having four different school districts represented and four different spring breaks to deal with.

Thus, when Glendale High and Crescenta Valley opened league play on Thursday, both had played just one match previously.

Nonetheless, it was the Nitros who came away with a key 12-6 win over the Falcons.

“It's too early to have a big game,” said Crescenta Valley Coach Sarah Wiggins, whose team is 1-1. “But they had to deal with it too.”

Those who dealt with it best were Nitros singles players Ashot Papikian and Jeff Asano and the No. 1 doubles squad of Nick Daka and Mike Astorian, who all swept.

“It is quick to jump in [to league],” said Astorian, who advanced to the league doubles finals with Daka last season. “We were expecting a tough match.”

It started that way, as Daka and Astorian battled past the Falcons' No. 1 duo of Alex Matevosyan and Marcus Barbosa, 6-3.

“That first set win was a big momentum set for us,” said Glendale Coach Bob Davidson, whose team is 2-0.

It began a 6-3, 6-1, 6-4 sweep for Astorian and Daka.

“That first win kind of settled us down,” Daka said.

Papikian swept 7-5, 6-1, 6-3, while Asano was dominating to the tune of 6-1, 6-1, 6-0.

“That was really big for us also,” Davidson said.

The Falcons' best showings came from Barbosa and Matevosyan — who won two sets, 6-1, 6-0 — and the No. 3 tandem of Eric Choi and Jason Cheung, who prevailed, 6-4, 6-3.

Both squads failed to make the playoffs last season.

The odds of making it back might very well have increased with Pasadena returning a team to league. With Pasadena back, there will be seven teams in league and, therefore, four automatic playoff berths.

Of course Glendale went a long way toward helping its cause with Thursday's home win.

“I think there's a lot of close teams in our league,” said Davidson, who also got set wins from Suren Aydmyan and the tandem of Gerald Young and Bushra Abdelmalak. “To get one up on CV is a big deal for us.”

Glendale has another big deal of a match on Tuesday against Burroughs.

Continued success for the Nitros will have a lot to do with Astorian and Daka.

“They're our experienced players,” Davidson said. “They're capable of doing some really good things.”

Added Astorian: “For sure this year we're gonna make it [to the playoffs] if we keep playing like we are.”

As for the Falcons, they play three matches in as many days next week, starting at Pasadena on Tuesday.

Wiggins admits her team is still working out the kinks and will have to fast forward that process next week.

“[We need] consistency in singles,” she said. “We're beating ourselves.

“There's gonna be some tweaking in the lineup.”

Indeed, with the second match of the season a league showdown, everybody in the Pacific League is changing on the go.


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