Falcons win over Spartans comes down to wire

LA CAÑADA FLINTRIDGE — It went down to the wire when the La Cañada High girls' tennis team hosted Crescenta Valley Wednesday.

It all came down to the final set of the day when Claire Huh, who was subbed in the final round at No. 1 singles when starter Sawa Keymeulen had to leave early because of a previous engagement, took on Selin Ayvazian.

A Huh victory would deliver a Spartans victory on wins, but Ayvazian pulled out a 6-4 victory, which secured a 10-8 victory for the Falcons.

"It didn't know how close the match was," said Ayvazian, who won two sets Wednesday, 6-4, 6-3. "It's better if you don't know because then you have a lot of pressure."

If Huh had won, it would have forced a 9-9 tie and sent both coaches to count up the amount of games each side won to determine who was victorious. La Canada would have won on games in that scenario, 83-81.

"We were expecting an easier win from Selin [at the end]," said CV Coach Sam Hyun, who got a sweep from Alexa Gregorian in No. 1 singles, 6-3, 6-4, 6-0, "but she held in there and pulled it out. … They are better in doubles than we are, but we have more wins in singles."

La Cañada (4-3) was short-handed all day, but it never used it as an excuse. Keymeulen could only play two rounds, No. 2 singles player Sharon Kim wasn't available because of a school commitment and Spartans Coach Will Moravec doesn't expect Linnea Frazier, who played in No. 1 doubles with Alison Chang, to return this year after she dislocated her knee Friday in a loss to Burbank.

"Not having Linnea really hurts us," Moravec said. "It makes our doubles so weak when we had a good No. 1 and 2 doubles team with her. Now we have to move everything around."

Ultimately, La Cañada dug itself a hole it just couldn't dig its way out of against the Falcons (7-2), who got two wins from their No. 1 doubles team of Viktoriya Shumakova and Sarah Yaghoubi.

"The first round killed us," Moravec said. "We were up in a couple of those sets, but we just couldn't pull them out."

Crescenta Valley got a 7-6 victory from Natalie Davidian in No. 3 singles to start the day and saw Ayvazian go on a four-game run to overcome a 3-2 deficit en route to a first-round win, 6-3. Gregorian also won out over Keymeulen in No. 1 singles, 6-3, to give CV a 4-2 lead after the first round.

Even playing short-handed, La Cañada managed to tie the match at six sets apiece going into the final round.

Serena Zheng and Emily Swanson kept the Spartans in the match, as they swept, 7-6, 7-6, 6-2. The new doubles team of Chang and Sharyce Watanabe, who replaces Frazier, also had a nice day, as they won two sets, 6-2, 6-1.

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