Crescenta Valley High had the odds stacked in its favor.
Despite owning a two-set lead and then a three-game lead in the final set, the Falcons boys' tennis team found itself on the wrong end of a 9-9 (80-78) loss to visiting La Salle in Wednesday afternoon's nonleague match at CV High.
â€œThat's a tough one,â€ said Falcons Coach Sarah Wiggins, whose team dropped to 2-2. â€œIt's always tough when you have the lead late [and let it go].â€
With two sets yet to finish, the Falcons had a 9-7 advantage over the Lancers (3-0).
But In Seok Seo lost, 6-0, putting Crescenta Valley down by a game, despite leading in sets, 9-8. Hence, the match came down to Falcons No. 1 Chris Lee and Lancers No. 2 Marco Suerez.
Lee built a 5-2 lead, but Suerez rallied for a 7-6 (7-5) win to lead La Salle to victory.
â€œChris put the effort forth,â€ Wiggins said. â€œHe lost, but he put the effort forth.â€
The match was truly decided by the dominance of La Salle's No. 1 singles and doubles and the Lancers' lopsided wins â€” including 6-0, 6-1 and two 6-2 victories.
The Falcons stayed close with an overall solid day in doubles.
Matt Lam and Glen Willis of La Salle swept 6-3, 6-1, 6-3, but after that Crescenta Valley controlled the doubles bracket.
Alex Matevosyan and Marcus Barbosa, Justin Lee and Jason Cheung and Chan Hee Lee and Erik Khonlarian all notched two sets each in doubles.
Singles, however, was another story for the Falcons.
La Salle's No. 1 Kevin Sitwala swept 6-2, 6-2, 6-3.
Chris Lee won one set 7-6 (8-6), while Seo won another 6-4 and Kenny Kim prevailed, 6-0.
â€œIt's a learning experience,â€ Wiggins said. â€œHopefully, people learn from what they need to improve on, close matches like this, it's usually evident.â€
Crescenta Valley doesn't have a whole lot of time to learn from its experiences, however.
The Falcons played their third match in as many days yesterday at 3:15 p.m. at home against Burroughs.
It figures to be an up-hill climb, as Burroughs defeated Glendale, 14-4, on Tuesday â€” the same Glendale squad that bested Crescenta Valley, 12-6, in both teams' Pacific League opener last week.
If you're wondering why league play started so soon, it's because the Pacific League is dealing with four different school districts.
It's also the reason Crescenta Valley's three-match week is a trend that will continue throughout the year.
But Wiggins wasn't making any excuses on Wednesday.
â€œThe way the schedule is, that's what we have to do,â€ said Wiggins, who admitted her team is still finding itself. â€œWe're not even thinking about [three matches in three days].
â€œOverall, we played a good match, they played tough.â€