Pasadena Poly tennis thumps short-handed Flintridge Prep

NORTHEAST GLENDALE — It's been two very different starts to the Prep League season for the Pasadena Poly and Flintridge Prep girls' tennis teams.

The Panthers have settled on a lineup constructed by new coach Sheryl Bakalov, while the Rebels are still a work in progress, looking to find what pieces fit together. Missing three regular contributors, due to a college visit, sickness and other commitments, complicated things further for Prep Coach Patty Baron Friday when Poly visited the Scholl Canyon Tennis Center.

Poly took advantage of a Rebels team in flux with a 16-2 victory.

The Panthers (5-2, 2-1 in the Prep League) won eight of nine doubles sets, which was an encouraging sign for Bakalov, who has been working on strengthening her doubles teams this year.

“We are building up our doubles and making them stronger because we have a young team, so we're getting them prepared, but our singles is pretty tough this year,” Bakalov said. “We have a good lineup of singles girls as well. This is probably what we're going to have most of the season.”

Bakalov was rewarded by her doubles with a sweep from the No. 1 team of Aria Griffin and Brooke Olson, 6-3, 6-0, 6-0, and No. 3 team of Erin Lee and Gisela Bakers, 6-4, 6-3, 6-0.

“We are definitely getting into our rhythm. It's a balance between listening to our new coaches and trying to help them out,” said Griffin, of all the changes Poly has gone through this year.

Baron was forced to mix things up with Abby Letts, half of her No. 1 doubles team, on a college visit and Annie Lowery, who plays No. 2 doubles, out sick.

“I have made progress [putting the lineups together], it's a matter of the girls coming out and being here so we can work toward that,” Baron said. “They come and they go.”

The Rebels haven't had a team at full-strength much this year, outside of a few nonleague matches, Baron said. The focus for Prep, which had its wins come from singles player Roya Ghessari (6-2) and the doubles team of Irene Kim and Maile Murphy (6-0), right now is player development.

“That's what we're doing, that's where trying — basics, basics, basics, basics,” Baron said.

The Panthers, meanwhile, earned another sweep from Anna Lamb at No. 2 singles, 6-0, 6-1, 6-0, and also saw Elissa Boghossian win both of her sets, 6-4, 6-0, before being subbed out in the third round for Julia Wohl (6-0) in No. 1 singles.

Singles player Juliet Johnson (6-0, 6-0) and the doubles duo of Samantha Collins and Audrey Wu (6-3, 6-2) also won two sets for Poly in No. 3 singles and No. 2 doubles, respectively.

“Things are a lot different from last year so we're just trying to work with that,” Olson said. “I also think we are doing wonderful. We are starting off with a great season, great record. … I think we're going to do really well [in league] this year. I think we're going to do better than last year.”

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