Falcons start off strong

ARCADIA — While the Crescenta Valley High and La Salle girls’ tennis teams began their respective seasons with a nonleague match against each other Tuesday afternoon, both teams have different expectations.

For the Falcons, under new coach Sam Hyun, they are looking to challenge for the Pacific League title with rival Arcadia. The Lancers are seeking to find depth in their lineup so coach Tim Pawley can field a sturdy team in the Del Rey League.

Crescenta Valley passed its first test, as No. 1 singles player Alexa Gregorian swept her three sets to pace the visiting Falcons to a 17-1 victory at Orange Grove Tennis Courts.

Crescenta Valley, which posted a 17-1 against La Salle last season at Crescenta Valley, saw Gregorian lose only four games. Crescenta Valley’s Nos. 2 and 3 singles athletes, Sarah Yaghoubi and Selin Auvazian, each won a pair of sets. Yaghoubi won, 6-1, 6-1, and Auvazian won, 7-5, 6-1.

Gregorian stepped up to the challenge to pace the Falcons, who finished second in league last season.

“It’s important for me to go out, play my game and help the team win anyway I can,” Gregorian said. “I went out there and was able to concentrate on every point.

“There can be pressure [being the No. 1 singles player]. Sometimes you’ll have your good days and sometimes you’ll have some not-so-good days.”

In doubles, the Falcons received sweeps from Jacqueline Dilanchyan and Viktoriya Shumakova (6-2, 6-1, 6-0) and Sarah Oh and Angela Seo (6-2, 6-2, 6-0).

Hyun, who took over the program from Sarah Wiggins, said he was eager to see the Falcons perform for the first time.

“We practiced most of the summer, and I thought they did well for a first match,” Hyun said. “Alexa did well in her first set by getting out to a huge lead and getting some big points.

“In doubles, we seem to have a little bit of a problem communicating. We have to be better at that.”

La Salle, which finished third in league behind Bishop Montgomery and Lakewood St. Joseph last season, received a 6-2 win from No. 2 singles player Claire Fitzgerald.

Pawley said the Lancers participate against teams like Crescenta Valley to have them prepared for league.

“It’s mostly about being able to test the waters,” Pawley said. “We are trying to find that 10th player on the team who can hit the ball hard at this level.

“We have to take a way from here the experience of playing against a quick team like CV.”

Natalie Davidian picked up a 6-1 singles victory for Crescenta Valley.

Karin Saran and Ashley An of Crescenta Valley notched a 6-1 win for the Falcons, who also received doubles victories from Annie Park and Elizabeth Kim (6-1) and Isabel Martos-Repath and Melanie Voskanian (6-1).

Crescenta Valley will begin the home portion of its schedule at 3:15 p.m. Wednesday against Canyon Country Canyon. La Salle will next meet visiting Rosemead at 3:15 p.m. Thursday.

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