ARCADIA — A one-sided home loss against Arcadia High back on Sept. 13 gave the Crescenta Valley girls' tennis team plenty of motivation for the Pacific League rematch Thursday afternoon at Arcadia.
It showed from the beginning, as by the end of a first-round even split, the Falcons had already won nearly as many games as in the previous meeting overall. And, although Crescenta Valley faded over the course of the match, it showed in the final score, as well, with the 11-7 loss a marked improvement from the disappointing 14-4 loss in the league opener.
"[Last time] it was early in the season, we were flat," Crescenta Valley Coach Sarah Wiggins said. "I think all of our doubles teams have changed [since then].
"It felt a little bit like [beating] Arcadia was beyond reach and so a lot of it was motivation and getting them feeling confident. I'm very pleased with the way they played. Arcadia had to beat us today. It could have gone either way."
While the Falcons (8-2, 5-2 in league) were likely glad just to be dead even with the Apaches (12-0, 7-0) heading to the second round, they came but a few points away from putting Arcadia on the ropes in the opening round.
Arcadia's No. 2 singles Nadia Pacheco-Amaro rallied from an early deficit to beat CV counterpart Karen Ataian, 7-5, and the Falcons' Jackie Dilanchian and Viktoriya Shumakova suffered a 7-6 (3-7) loss to Annie Tung and Caroline Young in a battle of No. 1 doubles.
"Those were huge because otherwise we would have been up, 5-1, in the first round, which really puts a scare into a team," said Wiggins, whose team can now finish no better than second in league behind the Apaches for the second year in a row. "We still put some scare into them, which was nice, but just not enough. That would have given us a nice cushion that maybe we could have carried through and not gotten so tight."
The advantage shifted to Arcadia in the second round, as the Apaches took a 7-5 lead going into a third round, where they promptly reeled off wins in the first three sets to seal the victory.
Crescenta Valley's No. 1 singles Emily Borkowski won two sets, 6-2, 6-1, but lost to Francis Dean, who is undefeated on the season, 6-2, in the third round. Dilanchian and Shumakova also won two sets, 6-4, 6-4, and Ataian (6-2), Christine Garapetian and Sarah Oh (6-4) and Amanda Lockwood and Sydney Farzadkish (6-3) also provided wins for the Falcons.
"We practiced a lot more and there was a lot of support from our teammates and everything," Borkowski said. "It's definitely hard playing them, they have a lot of good players. But I think we did a good job."