NORTHEAST GLENDALE — Finally at full force nearly a month into the season, the members of the Glendale Community College men’s tennis team would like to show that they won’t be pushovers over the long haul.
Competing in the Western State Conference — arguably the most difficult in Southern California — should help the Vaqueros become further battle-tested.
Healthy for the first time this season, Glendale college turned to its strong play in singles Thursday afternoon to earn a 6-3 victory against visiting Santa Barbara City College in a conference Southern Division match that took exactly four hours to complete.
The Vaqueros (3-3, 2-0 in the division) won five of six singles sets. The Vaqueros, who competed without No. 1 singles player Emanuel Haug and No. 4 singles player Greg Arutyunyan earlier in the season, won two sets that went the distance.
Those victories proved to spark Glendale college and deflate Santa Barbara City College (0-2 overall and in the division).
“It was very deceiving at 5-1 in singles,” said Glendale coach Bob MacKay, who guided the Vaqueros to a second-place finish in conference last year before being tabbed the conference’s co-coach of the year. “It easily could have been 3-3, but it came down to who wanted it more.
“I think we wanted it a little more.”
The Vaqueros sealed the win when Haug posted a 6-4, 3-6, 7-5 win against Cameron DeAgone. That gave the Vaqueros a 5-1 lead.
Haug missed most of the first month of the season when he injured his right knee during a season-opening 9-0 home loss to Cerritos College. He returned Tuesday during Glendale college’s 5-0 division road win against Bakersfield College.
Haug, a freshman from Germany, said he’s regaining his mobility.
“I’ve got to get in shape more,” said Haug, who teamed with Ryan Stanbury in an 8-4 doubles loss to DeAgone and Elliot Markowitz. “My knee still hurts.
“The mental part of my game isn’t strong. It will improve.”
Matthew Taoatao, Stanbury, and Glenn Tolentino each won a singles set for the Vaqueros, who will face Santa Barbara City College again at 2 p.m. March 27 in Santa Barbara. Taoatao and Arutyunyan registered an 8-3 win for the lone doubles victory for Glendale college.
“I thought we competed well against a good team,” MacKay said. “When we had to close the door, we closed the door.
“We competed all of the way to the end. Having a full team back and winning against Bakersfield gave us a lot of inspiration.”
The Vaqueros will next meet host Allan Hancock College in another divisional match at 2 p.m. Tuesday.