NORTHWEST GLENDALE — In Thursday's Pacific League regular-season finale, the Glendale High boys' tennis team had little trouble dispatching host Hoover, 14-4, and preventing its chief rival from clinching a playoff berth.
The drama and tension that was mostly lacking in the overall match, which saw the Nitros race out to an 8-1 lead, came to light in the final set of the day between Glendale No. 2 singles Nick Shamma and Hoover No. 1 Oleg Simonyan.
After being up, 4-1, Shamma was challenged by Simonyan, who rallied to tie the set at 5. But the freshman stayed poised and won the next two games, clinching the win when Simonian fired a ball into the net.
"I was just able to fight and at the end, I just wanted it more," said Shamma, who swept, 7-5, 6-4, 6-4, on the day. "I fought harder and that was the difference at the end.
"He came back and had a good run, but I was able to close it out."
Glendale (12-5, 8-4 in league) had already clinched the right to enter the CIF Southern Section Division II playoffs as the third-place team from the Pacific League, but there was considerably more on the line for Hoover (8-8, 5-7).
A win would have clinched fourth place and an automatic playoff berth, but instead the Tornadoes' loss allows Burbank to leapfrog into the fourth spot. Hoover Coach Julie Hoppe said she would petition for an at-large playoff berth.
"We had a really hard time matching up with Glendale in doubles," said Hoppe, whose team won just one doubles set after getting only two against Glendale in the first meeting. "If you can only get one or two in doubles, it's really tough to get eight out of nine in singles or all nine and Glendale's singles played very well today."
Leading the way for the Nitros in doubles was the No. 1 squad of Jeff Asano and Sam Sarian, which swept, 6-0, 7-6 (7-3), 7-5, and the No. 2 tandem of Elliot Kim and Rene Glandian, which posted a 6-3, 6-1, 6-0 line.
Glendale's Alex Levin and Edgar Hakobyan won a pair of doubles sets, 6-1, 6-0.
"It's always an important match when we play Hoover," said Glendale Coach Bob Davidson, who got singles wins from Mike Unanian, 6-3, 6-4, and John Azizian, 7-6 (7-4). "When Glendale and Hoover play in anything there's a little extra incentive there, I think. I thought we really came out strong in the first round. We got up, 5-1, which I think kind of set the tone for the day."
Hoover got two singles wins from Simonyan, 6-4, 6-2, and another from Emile Ohanyan, 7-5. Sage Barry and Ron Glandian posted a 6-3 doubles win.