LA CRESCENTA — It was a key matchup in Pacific League girls’ tennis Tuesday, when Crescenta Valley High hosted Glendale.
In the penultimate league match of the season between the squads, the teams faced off for a chance to grab a hold of second place, with the Falcons looking to strengthen their grip. The match was also a preview for the upcoming league tournament, as both teams prepare for the playoffs.
Crescenta Valley’s strong singles play lifted it to a 13-5 victory against Glendale, as the hosts won eight of their nine singles sets.
“As a team, we have to practice for playoffs,” Crescenta Valley coach Sam Hyun said. “We’re second in the Pacific League, so we have to get ready for that. Glendale is a good team, and I like their No. 2 doubles.”
In singles action, each starting Crescenta Valley player won two sets.
Falcons No. 1 Sarine Auvazian won, 6-2, 6-4, No. 2 Melissa Rosa Muradoglu recorded 6-0, 6-1 wins and No. 3 Melika Mohammed registered 7-6 (8-6) and 6-2 victories.
Muradoglu, a singles finalist in last year’s league tournament, was bouncing back from an illness earlier in the month and had been playing with the condition in the last few league matches.
“It’s definitely not easy because I’m trying to keep everything together,” Muradoglu said. “It shortens your breath and everything is just so much harder, but no matter what, it’s for the team. This is one of our last matches before we go into individuals, so it was really important for us. I think we did very well as a team.”
The Falcons (9-3, 9-2 in league) also received victories in singles from substitutes Hannah Yoon, 6-0, and Chloe Kim, 6-3.
Glendale (11-4, 7-4) won one set in singles from No. 2 Ani Harutyunyan.
The Nitros received a sweep in doubles from No. 2 Celine Khachiki and Momo Guzman. Khachiki, who advanced to last year’s league tournament semifinals in singles, teamed up with Guzman for 7-5, 6-3, 6-0 wins.
“We are going to practice more on Friday to see how we can beat them for individuals,” said Hyun of the Nitros’ pair. “We might see them again on Monday. That’s the one goal.”
Khachiki and Guzman’s last match against the Crescenta Valley No. 1 doubles pair of Teleya Blunt and Dziyana Haiduk started as a 5-2 lead in for the Nitros’ pair, only to see the Falcons claw back to tie the set at 5. A missed serve decided the set for Glendale.
“I was trying to stay calm and not stay frustrated,” Haiduk said. “I tried to focus on my shots and get everything in, but if I had the chance, go for it.
Glendale also received a 6-4 win from No. 1 doubles Nicole Avakian and Janet Louie.
Haiduk and Blunt took two sets, 6-0, 6-3, and Falcons No. 2 doubles Sophia Labellarte and Denitsa Georgieva added wins of 6-0, 6-1. Crescenta Valley No. 3 doubles Nicole Ouh and Yujin Lee won one, 7-5.
“We definitely need to work more as a team,” said Blunt of the upcoming league finals. “We have to communicate more and just mentally put ourselves in a good position. Say that we can and we want to win.”
Glendale coach Tom Gossard, a former Crescenta Valley coach, declined comment about the match and would not allow any of his players to provide quotes as well.
Glendale closes out the season on the road to Burbank on Thursday in a battle for third and fourth places in league.
The Bulldogs are 9-5, and 6-5 in league.