Flintridge Prep goes down to wire with Poly

PASADENA — For the first time this season, Jenise Vargas joined the Flintridge Prep girls' tennis team. And it came in a Prep League match against rival Pasadena Poly on Wednesday.

Vargas, who has been dealing with a wrist injury this season, picked up one win in her return, but it was enough to help the Rebels defeat the Panthers, 10-8, at CalTech. The victory evened Prep's league record after falling to Westridge, 10-8, on Monday. Poly's record fell to 5-2 (0-1 in league) in its league opener.

"It was very important to [win today]," Flintridge Prep Coach Ron Catano said. "I thought we played really well against Westridge, but we still lost. I don't want the girls who are playing really well to get discouraged or lose confidence."

Instead of her regular No. 2 spot in singles, Vargas joined Young In-Kim, and later Esther Jun, to form the Rebels' No. 2 doubles team. The pair won its first match, 6-3, before dropping the next one, 7-5. Jun was subbed in as Vargas' pair in the final set and the duo dropped it, 6-1.

"It's great having [Vargas] back," Catano said. "It was great news for us. She's such a high-level player."

The Rebels (5-3, 1-1 in Prep League) got a sweep from their top doubles team, Kira Lee and Roya Gheissari, 6-2, 6-0, 6-4. Prep also picked up sweeps from its top singles players, Andrea Kevakian and Miah Webb. Kevakian won all three sets, 6-2, 6-2, 6-1, and Webb only dropped three games, 6-0, 6-1, 6-2.

"This is the best I've seen [Webb] play this season," Catano said. "It's a good sign of her consistency today."

Prep was without the services of In-Kim's normal doubles partner, Abby Letts, who was practicing with the Rebels' soccer team and the match went down to the wire. Poly was boosted by a big day from its No. 3 doubles team, Aria Griffin and Brooke Olson. The duo picked up two wins, 6-0, 5-7, before falling to Lee and Gheissari, 6-4.

Sitara Hirji also picked up a 6-2 victory after she was subbed into the Panther's No. 1 singles spot, after Kat Peng injured her ankle in the middle of the second round. Anna Lamb (6-1) and Lily Wu (6-0) also got wins for Poly.

Unlike recent years, Prep has mostly relied on its doubles teams for victories with Lee and Vargas playing in duos since they've been dealing with injuries this year.

"It's a flip-flop, switching our two best players to doubles," Catano said. "I hope it will add a little to their singles games when they get back there. Maybe they will attack the net or go down the line better."

If Vargas' wrist feels fine after Wednesday's match she will shift back to singles Friday against cross-town rival Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy.

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