LA CRESCENTA — With its Pacific League and season-opening match one in the same for the Crescenta Valley High girls' tennis team, Tuesday afternoon also saw the added storyline of beginning a new era under a new coach.
Thus, when it was over, no matter the overwhelming margin of victory, first-year girls' Coach Sarah Wiggins felt a sigh of relief.
"Absolutely," answered Wiggins when asked if she felt relieved to have her first match under her belt after taking over the program from longtime Falcons Coach Tom Gossard, who guided the program to nine Pacific League titles and a wealth of CIF success. "Tom and I have a different style.
"It's basically one game at a time and you have to get [the team] to understand the changes you want to make."
Any changes that were or are being made really didn't factor into the Falcons' lopsided 17-1 win over Hoover, though, which also made its season debut on Tuesday at Crescenta Valley High.
"I think it's gonna be between them and Arcadia," said Tornadoes Coach Julie Hoppe of how the league will play out. "We think that we're gonna be pretty close with Glendale and Burbank [for the final two playoff spots], but we'll have to see."
Hoover, which had previously scrimmaged Golden Valley on Wednesday, the day prior to the official CIF start of the tennis season, had little answer for the Falcons' depth and singles superiority.
"Every year, Arcadia and CV are the top two," said senior singles player Erin LeVoir. "We're not expecting anything, but I do agree that we have a strong singles lineup."
The Falcons won all nine of their singles sets and relinquished just 11 points, with 6-2 scores serving as the closest sets. LeVoir swept, 6-1, 6-2, 6-2, while No. 1 singles player Sarah Ali swept, 6-2, 6-0, 6-0 and No. 2 player Karen Atian swept, 6-2, 6-2, 6-0.
A doubles victory by the No. 1 Hoover duo of Zar Chavdarian and Lillit Manukyan stood as the Tornadoes' only win on the day.
Wiggins worked in plenty of substitutes on the doubles side, exemplifying the depth Crescenta Valley has.
The No. 1 squad of Hana Park and Viktoriya Shumakova won two sets, 6-1, 6-0, before giving way to Michelle Choi and Amanda DeLeon, who won, 6-2. Ani Pogarian and Tamara Talverdian won a pair of sets, 6-4, 6-0, while the teams of Sydney Farzadkish and Talia Moradahanian, Sally Jo and Amanda Lockwood and Alexa Grigorian and Jackie Dilan all won a set each.
For Hoover, which was missing two starters, despite the lopsided nature of the league opener, Hoppe feels better results are ahead.
"It probably wouldn't have made a difference in the scoring today," said Hoppe of missing a pair of starters, "but it's gonna make a difference for the later matches."
As for the Falcons' later matches, there are high hopes to be had, but the Falcons are trying not to get caught up in them, all the while adjusting to new surroundings.
"It's just the first match of league and we have a lot of new players on the team," LeVoir said. "It was kind of [about] just getting used to everything.
"It's just a transition year, so we have to get used to those new things. It's been going well so far."
Added Wiggins: "We feel like we're contenders, but every day's another day and another test. You're running into trouble when you set your expectations too high."