GLENDALE — When the Glendale Community College men's tennis team takes to the court for its Southern California Regional first-round match today, it will meet a familiar opponent.
While that might be helpful, Glendale college Coach Bob MacKay said the Vaqueros will still need to work diligently against one of the top teams in the state.
Sixth-seeded Glendale college will travel to face top-seeded Cypress at 2 p.m. The pairings were unveiled Sunday night.
"We are looking forward to the challenge and I'm happy with the draw," said MacKay, whose team finished 9-8 overall and second in the Western State Conference behind third-seeded Ventura College. "We are playing better tennis right now and I'm sure they are, too.
"Are we capable of going away from home and realizing that we have to play our best and leave it all on the court?"
Cypress (20-2) posted a 6-3 nonconference road win against Glendale on Feb. 10. The Chargers won the Orange Empire Conference championship.
Both teams figure to present strong lineups in singles and doubles. The Vaqueros will be led by singles players Alex Sarkissian and Trevor Campbell and the Chargers will counter with Oliver Andrzejczuk and Mark Mahan.
Sarkissian and Campbell enter today's tilt at 19-0 and 16-3, respectively, in singles. They also make up the Vaqueros' top doubles team, having gone 15-2. Cypress' No. 1 doubles team will be Andrzejczuk and Torsten Keil-Long.
"They are strong at the top, just like us," said MacKay, whose team will be making its first postseason appearance in two seasons. "They have a good team with lots of depth and balance. They beat Ventura during the regular season and have just kept playing well."
Cypress Coach Jeff Benito said the Chargers haven't forgotten their regular-season victory against the Vaqueros.
"We beat them at their place and we like the advantage of now being at home," Benito said. "It's good that we have seen them and they gave us a tough match.
"Glendale will not be an easy out for us."
MacKay said the Vaqueros will need to rely heavily on the bottom of their lineup to try to knock off the Chargers.
Glendale will likely go with Andre Ratavousian, Grayson Frazier, Stephan Mamann and Dro Mahmoudi to fill out the singles lineup.
"Andre got us a big point against Bakersfield [on Thursday] that helped us get into the playoffs," Mackay said. "It just goes to show that every point is critical.
"Hopefully, we learned something from the first time we played them. Hopefully, we will get a victory. If not, then hopefully we played our best tennis against them."
The winner of the Glendale-Cypress match will meet fourth-seeded Mt. San Jacinto College or fifth-seeded Cerritos College in a semifinal match at 2 p.m. April 26. Today's other first-round matchups will include second-seeded College of the Desert against seventh-seeded San Diego Mesa and Ventura against eighth-seeded Orange Coast Community College.
Teams who compete in the same conference can't face each other in the first round.
The Southern California Championship will be held May 4. The state championship will take place May 12 at Sierra Racquet Club in Fresno.