SOUTHEAST GLENDALE — Down by three sets with only three remaining, Hoover High's girls' tennis team had its back against the wall.
So too did archrival Glendale, however, knowing that with the game score tied with three sets remaining, only a set win in the singles bracket it had struggled all day in would suffice for a victory.
It was the Tornadoes who came through, winning on the strength of a Meg Mouradian singles sweep, including a 7-5 victory in the final set of the day to clinch Hoover's 9-9 (81-73) win over Glendale in the teams' Pacific League opener on Tuesday afternoon at Glendale High.
"I was thinking we probably wouldn't be able to do it, quite honestly," admitted Hoover Coach Julie Hoppe of her team's chances with the final round of singles set to start with her team down 9-6 in sets and tied at 62 in games.
But then freshman Sara Kim won her first set of the day, 6-3, before Petra Beglarian won her second set of the day, 6-3. Then it came down to Mouradian, who was down, 3-0, to start her final set before rallying to close out a 6-3, 6-0, 7-5 sweep.
"I'm disappointed that we lost, but I'm happy with how we played," said Glendale Coach Bob Davidson, whose team dropped to 0-2. "For us to get ahead, 9-6, everything went right for us."
Within the dramatics of Hoover's rally, also came the likely realization that if the Nitros or Tornadoes (2-0) are to contend for a top four spot in league this season and a subsequent automatic playoff berth, they're likely going to have to scrape and scratch for their success, just as Hoover did on Tuesday.
"We don't take anybody lightly," Hoppe said. "I'm really happy for my girls, but it could've gone the other way very easily."
Said Davidson: "I think we're gonna have to win all the close sets and everything's gonna have to go our way to compete for fourth. Our goal is just to improve [and] on the positive side, we showed a lot of improvement since our first match against Mark Keppel."
On the strength of winning the match's first three doubles sets, Glendale took a 4-2 lead after the first round of play.
Led by No. 1 tandem Rochelle Lingat and CC McLean, the Nitros took six of nine doubles sets.
"We struggled with the doubles, there were some doubles sets we should've won," Hoppe said.
Lingat and McLean swept, 6-4, 6-1, 6-3, while the No. 2 tandem of Angie Santago and Emily Levin won a pair of sets, 6-3, 6-2 and Amanda Lieu and Rouzana Hakobyan won a set, 6-1.
Hoover's No. 1 pairing of Kiso Adzheyan and Diana Karpetyan won two sets, while the No. 2 team of Karmela Castro and Annie Lee won a set.
In singles, Beglarian won two sets, 6-3, 6-0. Glendale's Eugenia Bagdassarian won two sets, 6-4, 7-5, while Arpy Zargaryan won, 6-3.