NORTHWEST GLENDALE — Emily Levin heard the final result, realized her team had just clinched a victory, and sprinted toward Veronika Galstyan, her teammate on the Glendale High girls’ tennis team.
Levin, a senior, hugged Galstyan and shouted with joy, celebrating a win against the Nitros’ cross-town rival.
Shortly after Levin notched Glendale’s ninth set win, Galstyan won her team’s 10th, clinching the Nitros’ 11-7 Pacific League victory against host Hoover on Friday. The Glendale win snapped a four-match losing streak in the rivalry.
“We’ve improved a lot,” Levin said. “Games like this are important to win, especially against our cross-town rival.”
The Nitros (2-2, 1-1 in league) and Tornadoes (0-4, 0-2) entered the match as rivals, but as similar teams.
Each team lacked experience on the varsity level, needing a win to raise their confidence after lopsided losses to start Pacific League play.
Glendale earned the boost in confidence.
“This win is definitely a confidence booster,” Levin said. “This will prepare us for other matches.”
Levin was the difference-maker, winning her three sets, 6-2, 7-5, 6-0.
“Emily had her best match of the season,” said Glendale Coach Bob Davidson, whose team lost to Burbank, 17-1, on Tuesday in its league opener. “She’s our captain. She was the difference today.”
Galstyan, a sophomore who played varsity last year, won two sets, 6-1, 6-2, as each Nitro — including substitute Anges Nazarian — singles player and each doubles team won at least one set. Arpine Tsaturyan also won in singles for Glendale, 6-2.
In doubles, the teams of Rouzana Hakobyan and Amanda Lieu and Imani Story and Danielel Fabian each won two sets. Lilia Blkhoyan and Mary Pailevanian also won a set.
“We’re getting good contributions from everybody,” Davidson said. “When you’re not strong at the top, you need to have good depth.”
Limited with experienced players, Davidson saw improvements in his squad. Hoover Coach Julie Hoppe had to use a player from the junior varsity squad just to be able to field a full team after losing doubles player Erlinda Kirakosyan, who suffered a broken left hand during a season-opening nonleague match against West Ranch on Aug. 29
“We have three spots, two in doubles and a singles player, who have no experience, not just in varsity, but in high school tennis,” Hoppe said. “There are so many things you can do to get that experience.”
Kristine Adzhemyan and Diana Karapetyan – Hoover’s No. 1 doubles team – swept their sets, 6-4, 6-2, 6-1, as Hoover remained competitive. No. 1 singles players Petra Beglarian won two sets and Sara Kim also captured one. Hoover lost one set, 7-6, and fell in three others by scores of 7-5. For Hoppe, those scores meant that her team has made progress.
“I think the fact that they see they’re competitive is positive,” Hoppe said. “Hopefully it’s going to inspire them to get better and win the next time.”