Nitros close strong in victory

SOUTHEAST GLENDALE — For two rounds, little separated the Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy and Glendale High girls’ tennis teams in Thursday’s nonleague contest at Glendale High.

The squads, who even wore the same colors, split the first 12 points through two rounds before the Nitros showed off some closing power in winning the final round by two points en route to a 10-8 victory.

“For us, it started with our No. 3 doubles team sweeping. Overall, the whole team played better at the end than earlier in the match,” Glendale Coach Bob Davidson said. “We played with confidence today.”

Prior to the third round, no team had taken a bigger lead than two points as the contest was knotted at 3 during the first break and then at 6 after two rounds.

Nitros senior Emily Levin gave her squad the lead for good when she topped Tologs freshman Breanna Ryan, 6-0, which was followed by a 6-2 victory from Glendale sophomore Veronika Galstyan.

While Flintridge Sacred Heart’s top singles player, Camille Katz, responded with her own 6-1 victory to bring the score within 8-7, Glendale (1-1) responded with a clutch victory in doubles play.

The No. 3 team of Lilia Blkhoyan and Mary Pailevanian delivered a crucial 6-1 win over Flintridge Sacred Heart’s top twosome that put the Nitros back up by two points and allowed the sophomore squad of Imani Story and Danielle Fabian to clinch the win with a 6-2 victory.

“Singles played well, but doubles did even better,” said Levin, who finished 2-1. “I don’t want to say it was surprising, but overall we improved from summer.”

Doubles play proved key for the Nitros, who were 6-3, and also received two wins from their top pair of Amanda Lieu and Rouzana Hakobyan.

The most impressive doubles victory, though, may have been turned in by the Tologs freshman duo of Nicolette Harutunian and Holly MacVaugh, who rallied from a 5-3 deficit to Lieu and Hakobyan in the final set of the day and delivered a 7-5 victory.

The back-and-forth nature of Thursday’s match may have been best typified in the final singles and doubles set of the second round.

In singles action, Flintridge Sacred Heart’s No. 3 player, senior Alex Milat, hung with Levin and climbed within 5-4 before Levin won, 6-4.

Shortly after, the Nitros’ No. 2 pair of Story and Fabian rallied from a 4-1 hole to forge a tie versus the Tologs’ top grouping of Victoria McGregor and Lara Sarkisian before Flintridge Sacred Heart’s duo closed with the final two points in winning, 6-4.

“This match was pretty competitive and I like that,” Flintridge Sacred Heart Coach Ron Zambrano said. “My freshman girls are still learning the process of high school tennis and they’re coming around, so I’m excited.”

Zambrano was without his anticipated junior ace, Lorena Robles Alvarez, who is transferring in from Guadalajara and won’t be available, according to Zambrano, until early October.

In the meanwhile, Katz proved steady in going 3-0 in singles play, while Ryan and Milat also each added a victory.

Harutunian and MacVaugh also delivered two wins in doubles play for Flintridge Sacred Heart, which was playing its season opener.

Glendale opened the season with an 11-7 loss to Saugus on Tuesday.

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