LA CRESCENTA — Success in the playoffs comes down to the luck of the draw for some teams, and La Cañada High Coach Will Moravec knew luck wasn't on the Spartans' side when they drew Crescenta Valley in the first round.
The Spartans and Falcons played each other just two weeks prior and Crescenta Valley dominated the match. The Falcons were able to repeat the solid performance and drop La Cañada, 13-5, at home in the first round of the CIF Southern Section Division II playoffs Thursday.
"I think it was a little difficult playing a local team we had already played pretty soundly," Crescenta Valley Coach Sarah Wiggins said. "We were in a position where we had to defend a win and that's not always easy.
"There can be some nerves with that and the idea of CIF."
Moravec knew drawing the Falcons was bad news for La Cañada, after they'd defeated his team, 15-3, on Oct. 26.
"I was hoping for a wild-card match because I thought we could win that," Moravec said. "It's rough having to play [CV], after they'd just beat us."
Emily Borkowski, Karen Ataian and the doubles team of Jackie Dilanchian and Viktoriya Shumakova swept their competition Thursday, just like they did on Oct. 26.
"It feels good to get the win," said Borkowski, the Falcons' No. 1 singles player. "We did really well and now we are confident about our next matches.
"I definitely see us going far [in CIF]. We are better than we were last year, I think."
Borkowski dropped just one game, 6-1, 6-0, 6-0, and Ataian posted 6-1, 6-0, 6-3 wins as the No. 2 singles player. Dilanchian and Shumakova, the Falcons' top doubles team, had little trouble Thursday, 6-1, 6-3, 6-1.
"Those guys are pretty solid, but you hate to have to rely on your No. 1, 2 [singles players] and your No. 1 [doubles team] to get all the wins when the pressure is up against good teams," Wiggins said.
Moravec knew his No. 3 singles and doubles players would need to beat Crescenta Valley's No. 3 counterparts for a chance at victory. The Falcons' No. 3 doubles team, Sydney Farzadkish and Michelle Choi, won two of their three sets, 1-6, 7-5, 7-5, to wrap up the victory.
"I knew we were done after that," Moravec said.
The Falcons got their other two wins from Amanda Lockwood and Alice Nam, the No. 2 doubles, who went, 1-6, 6-0, 6-2.
Linnea Frazier and Alison Chang, La Cañada's top doubles team, were the only Spartans to win more than one set, 1-6, 6-1, 6-1.
Each of the Spartans' singles players, Sawa Keymuelen (6-1), Sydney Fischel (6-0) and Sharon Kim (6-1), picked up a win against Crescenta Valley's No. 3 singles, as three different Falcons were shuffled into that slot.
The Falcons will face El Dorado, which defeated St. Lucy's, on Saturday at noon at Crescenta Valley. Fourth-seeded El Dorado (23-1) won the Century League.
Wiggins is happy about the draw after the Falcons fell to second-seeded San Marino in the second round of CIF last year.
"It looks like a good draw," Wiggins said. "We are thankful we didn't get San Marino in the second round like we did last year, so we will do what we can."