Glendale Nitros edge closer to playoffs

SOUTHEAST GLENDALE — It did not clinch a postseason berth, but it sure came close.

With a 10-8 victory against Hoover High on Tuesday, the Glendale girls’ tennis team took the inside track to fourth place and the automatic postseason spot out of the Pacific League.

The Nitros (5-5, 4-4 in league) and Tornadoes (2-8, 2-6) each have four matches left in league, with Glendale holding a two-match lead, as well as the tiebreaker after defeating Hoover in both league matches this season.

“If we didn’t win this, we would’ve been really close to fourth place,” Glendale senior singles player Emily Levin said.

“Winning this solidifies [fourth place]. We were ready to win.”

Levin made sure her team won, as she had another stellar performance.

She who swept her three sets, 6-2, 6-0, 6-2, giving her a perfect 6-0 record against the Tornadoes this season. Glendale defeated Hoover, 11-7, on Sept. 6.

“Emily came through,” said Glendale Coach Bob Davidson, whose team trails Arcadia, Crescenta Valley and Burbank in league and is comfortably ahead of one-win Burroughs and winless Pasadena. “She had another great day.”

Levin captured her team’s eighth set — to Hoover’s five victories — before having to sit and watch her teammates attempt to win the final two sets.

The doubles team of Imani Story and Danielle Fabian won, 6-2, to give Glendale its ninth set win and a comfortable 64-52 advantage in games.

A substitute clinched Glendale’s win. Agnes Nazarian, who replaced Arpine Tsaturyan in the final round, defeated Hoover’s Cynthia Shamercian, 6-3, to seal the win.

“I was feeling fresh,” Nazarian said. “I was motivated. I wanted to win.”

Glendale took five sets in singles — with another win coming from Veronika Galstyan — and five in doubles. Its No. 3 doubles team of Lilia Blkhoyan and Mary Pailevanian won two sets, and Amanda Lieu and Rouzana Hakobyan, the Nitros’ No. 1 team, won one.

“After the second round, I said it’s going to come down to who wants it more,” said Hoover Coach Julie Hoppe, who gathered her players after 12 sets were played to motivate them to overcome a 7-5 deficit.

“We just got beat by the better team. We couldn’t do it. It’s matchups. They match up better than we do.”

Hoover’s No. 1 doubles team of Kristine Adzhemyan and Diana Karapetyan provided the Tornadoes with a strong performance, winning, 6-1, 6-3, 6-1.

But Hoover captured only one other doubles set — from the team of Audria Amirian and Erlinda Kirakosyan — and four in singles, with two apiece from Petra Beglarian and Sara Kim.

The loss might have knocked the Tornadoes out of postseason contention, while the Nitros took a giant step toward achieving their goal of reaching the playoffs.

“That’s been our goal all season,” Davidson said. “We felt like that was a realistic goal. We put ourselves in a really good spot. Now we have to finish strong.”

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