Things didn't go exactly as planned during the first round of the Hoover High boys' tennis team's CIF Southern Section Division II wild-card match at Mission Viejo on Tuesday.
Looking to take a lead into the second round, the Tornadoes instead went in tied at 3 after No. 1 singles Oleg Simonyan suffered a loss to his counterpart.
"That was nerve wracking and disappointing," Hoover Coach Julie Hoppe said. "That's kind of been the psychology — if we can go up in the first round, that's big. It really sets the tone for the rest of the match."
But there was a silver lining to the first round and it proved to be a foreshadowing of good things to come for the Tornadoes.
The No. 2 doubles team won its first set without dropping a game and Alex Karibyan and Yeprem Chavdarian would continue to factor into the match with a pivotal second-round victory that set the stage for Hoover's 11-7 win.
"First round we went out strong," Karibyan said. "We usually go slower in the beginning, but we just went out strong in the first set.
"We really communicated well, me and my partner and we both just were on top of our game."
The No. 2 doubles team of Danny Kim and Eddie No swept for Hoover, which also got a sweep from No. 2 singles Emile Ohanian, 6-1, 6-3, 6-4, and two set wins from Simonyan, 6-0, 6-2, in the program's first postseason triumph since 2002 when the Tornadoes captured a Division II CIF title.
But it was Karibyan and Chavdarian's taut 7-6 win in the second round that gave Hoover a decided edge, up, 7-5, going into the third round with a slate of favorable matchups to close it out.
"It meant Emile was going to play [Mission Viejo's] No. 1, my third [singles] was going to play their weakest player and Oleg was going to win his second set easily," said Hoppe, whose team made its return to the postseason last year for the first time since 2003. "Going into the third round, we were pretty confident."
The No. 3 doubles team of Ali Minty and Michael Akopyan provided Hoover with one more win in the third round, 6-4.
Hoover will face host Santa Monica, the second seed, in a first-round matchup at 3 p.m. today.