GLENDALE — Once the trio of local high school boys’ tennis players reach their destinations Friday to participate in the CIF Southern Section Individual Tournament, their focus will be on a draw sheet.
It’s likely that they will encounter a surprise or two.
The sheet, which will be unveiled at 9 a.m., will be a road map in determining who they must compete against in the single-elimination event.
St. Francis High singles player Vinni Lodolo and Glendale’s top doubles team of Nick Daka and Mike Astorian will take part in the tournament, ready to follow the sheet’s brackets that are not released ahead of time to ensure every player shows up among other rationale.
Lodolo, who captured his first Mission League championship May 7, will take part for the first time, playing in the Cate Regional at The Cate School. Daka and Astorian, who finished runner-up in the Pacific League Tournament, will take part in the Arcadia Regional bracket for the second consecutive year at Arcadia County Park.
Lodolo, a junior, said he’s not bothered about not knowing who his first-round opponent will be.
“I think it’s a good thing,” said Lodolo, who captured the league title when he posted a 6-3, 3-6, 10-4 victory against Matt Wagner of Harvard-Westlake at the Studio City Tennis Center. “If they did release that information, then people can go on the websites and know who they have to beat.
“So, you have to go in thinking that the guy you are matched against will be real good. You can get nervous, but you still have to go out there and be yourself.”
Daka and Astorian, who led the Nitros to a third-place finish in league and a playoff appearance, have mixed views about not knowing who they will be pitted against. However, having participated in the event last year could help the juniors.
“I’m looking forward to it,” said Daka, who paired with Astorian to post a 6-0, 6-1 win against Hector Payan and Andrew Cho of Covina before suffering a 6-4, 6-1 loss to third-seeded Michael Lu and Justin Min of Cerritos in last year’s tournament. “I think we learned a lot about ourselves last year.
“The matches will be good for us. You don’t know the type of players you’ll be playing, but you’ve got to be ready.”
Astorian sees it differently.
“I’d rather know who we are playing because you can learn more about them,” Astorian said. “Last year, we were tense going into it.
“You have to go in with confidence and be calm. I’m expecting us to get past the first round, but we’ll have to not make mistakes. There’s no holding back.”
Participants must win three matches Friday to advance to May 23’s Round of 16 at Seal Beach.