Team play carries Knights

NORTHWEST GLENDALE — The bad news for the St. Francis High tennis team Thursday was that it couldn't win a set against its opponent's top singles player.

The good news was far more abundant, however, as the Golden Knights dominated everybody else and thus nullified a strong showing from Crespi's Giancarlo Battaglia.

"We played them before, so I knew what to expect, especially from their No. 1," said St. Francis' top singles player John Kazanjian, who dropped a set to Battaglia, but then contributed to a 15-3 win over the Celts on a hot day at the Fremont Tennis Center. "I probably could have won a few more games, but there's no doubt he's a good player."

Kazanjian, who lost, 6-1, rebounded quickly, and didn't drop a game in his next two sets against Levine Ching and Trevor Ching.

"Obviously, I had an easier time with the other two sets," Kazanjian said. "My shots were better, and I was able to adjust to the heat."

St. Francis' Chris Grosuevar and Kristian Esteve also dropped their sets to Battaglia, 6-4, 6-3, respectively, but like Kazanjian, had little trouble getting past the rest of the lineup. Grosuevar won a pair of 6-3 sets, while Esteve had an easier day in his 6-1, 6-0 showing.

"The kids played consistent, like always," said St. Francis Coach Ron Zambrano, whose squad defeated the Celts in their first meeting as well, 13-5. "Their No. 2 was out so that may have played into it a little."

The solid play from the singles game was perhaps overshadowed by the doubles pairings of the Golden Knights (5-3, 3-2), who gave up just four games combined.

Darren Kumitake, who split time with a pair of teammates, led the way with a 6-0, 6-0, 6-0 day over Crespi's duos of James Tam and Tyler Clemensen, Aidan McGarrigle and Austin West and Mike Nassour and Nick DeBeky.

"Against Loyola, we didn't get anything from doubles, so it goes back and forth," Zambrano said. "Overall, the kids played well."

St. Francis' No. 1 pairing of Greg Pak and Daniel Gong dropped one game to West and McGarrigle as they cruised 6-0, 6-1, 6-0.

Golden Knights Chris Norhadian and Armen Ter-Zacarian lost one game apiece in their three sets.

"Hopefully, we keep playing well and keep fighting for that third spot [in Mission League]," Zambrano said.

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