There's one thing the Glendale Community College women's tennis team won't be lacking this upcoming season — experience.
Glendale college Coach Bob Donaghy said he's eager to find out how the Vaqueros harness it in their attempt to battle for a possible playoff spot, something they last achieved in 1999.
"There's a lot of experience and that's good to have," said Donaghy, whose team will begin its season with a nonconference home match against College of the Sequoias at noon Thursday. "That said, it's hard to say where we are going to finish because we play in one of the most difficult conferences.
"Once we get through the first half of the season, we will have a better idea. Right now, I'd say we are 50% better now compared to last year. We have a good mix of experienced players."
The Vaqueros finished 4-10 and 2-8 in the Western State Conference last season. Conference-foe Santa Monica City College won its second consecutive conference championship before winning the state title. Those also expected to make a playoff push are Santa Barbara City and Ventura.
Glendale will field an eight-player squad that will include sophomores Sevana Zargarian, Samantha Sismundo, Phoebe Minette, Katherine Akmakji and Brianna Hayes. They will be joined by freshmen Zar Chavdarian, a Hoover graduate, Sophie Tavitian and Nerissa Fnu.
After excelling as a doubles team at Glendale High, Zargarian and Sismundo took their respective talents to the collegiate level and excelled last season. Zargarian, who graduated from Clark Magnet School, and Sismundo, who graduated from Glendale High, qualified for the regionals as a doubles team last season. They also reached the round of 16 of the prestigious Ojai Tournament.
"Sevana and Sammy have a great work ethic," said Donaghy, who went 230-161 as the college's men's coach from 1978-2002. "We are blessed to have that and they will be key again for us."
Zargarian and Sismundo, who were a former All-Area Girls' Tennis Doubles Team of the Year at Glendale High, will look to again lead the Vaqueros.
"After last year, we now have more experience and we know more about what to expect," Zargarian said. "We know what's ahead of us.
"The goal for the team will be to make the playoffs. That can be done through hard work and determination."
Glendale will participate in four nonconference matches before beginning conference action at 2 p.m. Feb. 23 at Bakersfield. Glendale's first home conference match will be held at 2 p.m. March 1 against Ventura.
The Vaqueros will face Santa Monica on Feb. 28 at Santa Monica and March 20 at Glendale.
Glendale college will close out the regular season April 5 with a conference road match against Santa Barbara.
"It's one of those conferences where you can be strong but still get killed," Donaghy said. "We only won two conferences matches last year, but we lost a couple of 5-4 matches"
The conference championship will be held April 13-14 in Ventura. The Ojai Tournament will take place April 26-29.