LA CRESCENTA — Last season, the Pacific League was a two-team race in girls' tennis with Crescenta Valley High finishing runner-up to Arcadia for the league crown, which was essentially decided by two close matches between the two archrivals.
The Falcons hosted the Apaches to kick off the new league season on Tuesday, but couldn't quite pick up where they left off in terms of challenging the champs, starting slow and falling, 14-4.
"We came out flat and we never did much better than that," Crescenta Valley Coach Sarah Wiggins said. "They came out with far more desire and energy and the score shows that.
"You hate to have your top rival right off the bat, but that's the way it is and it's the same for them. They were better prepared than we were."
Things had turned bleak for the Falcons (1-1) by the end of the very first round, as they took just one set from Arcadia to go down, 5-1.
Arcadia's No. 1 singles player, Francis Dean, the reigning league singles champion, led the charge by sweeping, 6-1, 6-0, 6-0, and the Apaches also got a 6-0, 6-4, 6-0 sweep from No. 3 Nadia Pacheco. In the No. 2 bracket, Emily Borkowski provided Crescenta Valley's lone singles win, 6-3, over Elizabeth Liev, who won her other two sets, 6-3, 6-0.
"Their singles just came out with a job to be done and they did it and we just didn't quite have the same attitude," Wiggins said. "My singles are kind of shot-makers. They like to hit big, they like to go after their shots and Arcadia's singles players, they're like walls and they know how to hit those shots.
"We came out trying to do too much too early and never found a rhythm."
The Falcons fared a bit better in doubles, where No.1s Viktoriya Shumakova and Amanda Lockwood posted a pair of wins, 6-3, 6-1, and No. 2s Sydney Farzadkish and Jackie Dilanchyan earned a 6-1 win.
Arcadia's top duo of Annie Tung and Caroline Young swept, 6-1, 6-4, 6-1.
Crescenta Valley, which started its season on Monday with a 17-1 nonleague win over La Salle, will continue league play with a match at Glendale at 3:30 p.m. on Thursday.
"I think we got a heavy dose of reality," Wiggins said. "What we can take from this is we've got some things to work on and we've got the whole season ahead of us."