Nitros clinch third place

SOUTHEAST GLENDALE — When it came down to doubles, the Hoover High boys' tennis team was most certainly in trouble when it faced Glendale in the teams' Pacific League and regular season finale.

With its ranks already thinned over the past week due to academic ineligibility, the Tornadoes' doubles lineup entered Thursday's match at a disadvantage and the Nitros exploited it fully. Glendale's clean sweep of all nine doubles matches fueled an 11-7 victory that clinched third place in league, while the archrival Tornadoes finish in fourth. Both teams automatically qualify for the CIF Southern Section Division II playoffs.

"Actually, [third place] quite honestly was our goal this year, so I feel very good about that," said Glendale Coach Bob Davidson, whose team, along with the Tornadoes, will compete in the league finals beginning Monday at Pasadena High. "We just knew Arcadia and Burroughs were way above everybody else."

Glendale's No. 1 doubles team of Alex Yoon and Danny Shafrazian swept, 6-4, 6-0, 7-5, the No. 2 team of Andrew Lingat and Mike Akopians swept, 6-3, 6-1, 6-2, and Rene Glandian and Sam Sarian went, 7-6 (8-6), 6-0, 6-2.

"When we came to the courts, our coach was telling us they lost a few of their doubles players to grades," Yoon said. "That just gave us more confidence to try to go out there and sweep as much as we can."

The Tornadoes beat the Nitros, 12-6, when the teams first met on March 22. Hoover also won seven singles matches in that meeting, but couldn't duplicate any singles success on Thursday.

"Last time we won two out of three and we were really trying to win all three this time," Shafrazian said. "We were really ready to win all three because we didn't want to lose that one game we lost last time."

Akopians continued to give the Nitros a lift after being recently brought up from the junior varsity team.

"Our doubles played about as well as they've played all year today and that was a big key for us," Davidson said. "[Akopians] played really well, he's been kind of an added spark for us."

Hoover (7-7, 5-7 in league) got singles wins from Oleg Simonyan, 7-5, 6-3, 6-1, and Emile Ohanian swept, 6-1, 6-1, 6-2, while Alex Bychkoviak provided a 6-0 win.

Glendale (9-6, 7-5) got a 6-3 win from Mike Unanian and a 6-1 win from Arin Meserkhani.

"We haven't had our whole team since the [spring] break," Hoover Coach Julie Hoppe said. "It was disappointing in the sense that we didn't show up with the same team we played Glendale with the first time, but I really feel like the guys maximized their talent and ability today.

"Glendale hung tough. We had three very close sets in doubles, so credit to them for hanging tough."

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