GLENDALE — The Glendale Community College men's tennis team might have one of its most imposing lineups in some time.
Writing one out prior to each match will be a pleasure for Coach Bob MacKay, who will look to get the Vaqueros back to the Southern California Regionals after missing them last season. There's balance, depth and experience across the board for the Vaqueros to be a serious playoff contender.
"I like the lineup that we have and I've had some good teams in the past," said MacKay, whose team will begin its season at 2 p.m. Thursday with a nonconference home match against Mount San Antonio College. "They are going to have to be able to compete, commit and have a chemistry in playing for their spots.
"Whether you are the No. 1 player or No. 6 player, it counts for one point. We have a pretty good nucleus, but my job will be to make sure they get that and that there are no egos involved."
Last season, Glendale finished 6-11 overall and 3-5 in the competitive Western State Conference. MacKay and the Vaqueros will look to avoid a second losing season in a row by trying to win a conference championship and draw a spot in the regionals.
MacKay, who took over the program in 2003 from Bob Donaghy, will field a 10-member team. Seven of the athletes are freshmen. Six players have local ties.
The No. 1 player will be freshman Alex Sarkissian, who competed in Futures Tournaments and who MacKay said will be counted on for two points per match in singles and doubles.
"He's experienced and he's the kind of player who brings out people to watch him and the program," said MacKay, who spent 41 years working for the city of Glendale in several capacities. "He's an amazing talent."
The No. 2 singles player will be freshman Trevor Campbell, a Burroughs High graduate and former All-Area honoree.
MacKay said Sarkissian and Campbell will look to provide a formidable 1-2 punch for the Vaqueros.
"Like Alex, Trevor is an incredible athlete," MacKay said. "He brings another dimension to our team.
"We are fortunate to have two players like Alex and Trevor who we can add to the top of our lineup."
Also expected to be on board for the Vaqueros are freshmen Andre Ratavousian, Dro Mahmoudi, Eric Khanlarian, Grayson Frazier and Chris Simpson. The sophomores are Mike Astorian, Hideo Enomoto and Stephan Mamann.
Ratavousian graduated from Hoover High. Astorian graduated from Glendale, Mahmoudi and Khanlarian graduated from Crescenta Valley and Frazier, who teamed with Trent Jones to earn All-Area Doubles Team of the Year last season, graduated from La Cañada.
"Now that they are playing at the college level, they will learn more about variety," MacKay said. "They can become smarter.
"The question is will they be able to handle the mental and emotional parts of the game?"
Astorian, who teamed with long-time partner Nick Daka to earn All-Area Doubles Team of the Year in 2008, said the Vaqueros have a stacked lineup geared for contending for a conference championship.
"We do have a solid lineup all the way through, but we will have to stay focused," Astorian said. "If you lose your focus, then you can't do it.
"I think we can be strong in singles and doubles. We have a big opportunity here to make the playoffs."
Glendale college will begin conference competition on the road at 2 p.m. Feb. 24 against Santa Barbara City College. The Vaqueros will meet defending conference champion Ventura at 2 p.m. March 8 at Ventura before hosting it at home March 31.
In addition to their conference matches, the Vaqueros will compete in a handful of nonconference contests. The Vaqueros close out the regular season April 4 with a nonconference road match against state powerhouse College of the Desert, which eliminated the Vaqueros from the playoffs in 2009.
The conference tournament will take place April 15-16 in Ventura.
"I think there are going to be some excellent teams in our conference once again," MacKay said. "It's always going to be a tough conference, so you look for competitive players.
"I like to think we have some smart players."