SOUTHEAST GLENDALE — Propelled by the play of a singles bracket that engineered a successful start and remained dominant throughout, Glendale High's boys' tennis team took down visiting Hart, 11-7, on Tuesday afternoon in a wild-card match of the CIF Southern Section Division II playoffs.
"I figured we had the advantage in singles," Nitros Coach Bob Davidson said, "which we clearly did."
Bolstered by an impressive sweep from freshman No. 2 singles Arin Meserkhani, Glendale (10-6) took eight of nine singles sets from Hart (10-10), an at-large entrant from the Foothill League.
"I had a positive mindset for everything," said Meserkhani, who swept, 6-2, 6-0, 6-0. "I was just feeding off my own positivity."
Glendale's reward for advancing, however, will be a long, hot trek south to face Palm Desert, the No. 1 seed in the tournament and a squad regarded as one of the best in the nation.
"I'm not pleased with that draw," Davidson said. "On one hand, CIF is moving us up to Division I [next season] because they say we're a strong league and on the other hand, we finish third in our league and we got put in a wild card and our reward is playing the No. 1 team. It's not exactly fair."
It was Glendale that proved itself the heavy favorite on Tuesday, though, as Mike Unanian won both of his singles sets, 7-6, 7-5, before giving way to substitute Alex Choi, whose 6-2 victory actually clinched the match for the Nitros, putting them up, 10-3. Thereafter, Davidson continued to sub or else the match might well have been more lopsided. Meserkhani's sweep-finishing win was the only other win of the day for Glendale.
"Arin has really started to put it together," said Davidson, who also got two singles set wins from Nawat Tokatly, who won by identical 6-1 tallies. "He's been our top player for the last month."
In doubles, Glendale's Andrew Lingat and Mike Akopians notched 6-2 and 6-3 wins, while Danny Shafrazian and Alex Yoon netted a 6-4 victory as the team's only tandem victories.
"Our singles played great, but truthfully, I was disappointed in our doubles," Davidson said. "We looked unmotivated for some reason."
For the most part, though, it was an enjoyable day for Davidson and the Nitros.
Hart is a familiar nonleague opponent, though the teams did not play earlier this season, and Davidson's son starred for the Indians, going undefeated in league play as a senior in 2001 under Coach Chris Mansfield, who still coaches the team. But it's clear the mood won't be so jovial today, as the Nitros face a monumental task in facing Palm Desert, which ousted the Nitros in 2010 by a 17-1 tally.
"Our goal is the same no matter who we're playing," Davidson said, "which is to go out and compete and play our absolute hardest."