Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy tennis falls to third seed

In earning a playoff berth out of the Mission League for the first time since 2002, Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy tennis Coach Ron Zambrano said the Tologs reached their ultimate goal.

While the Tologs’ stay in the postseason lasted one round, Zambrano wasn’t disappointed. He sees it as a major stepping stone in shaping the program’s future.

“I’ve begun to see them play to their potential,” Zambrano said Wednesday after Flintridge Sacred Heart suffered an 18-0 road loss against third-seeded University in a CIF Southern Section Division I first-round match. “The goals I had were for them to come together, play better and making the playoffs.

“We got all that done. I’m just proud to have gotten this far. I’m already excited about next year.”

Zambrano said Flintridge Sacred Heart, which finished 6-9 overall, couldn’t counter the experience and depth displayed by University (17-2), the Pacific Coast League champion.

“We had some decent sets, but we just couldn’t get the points,” said Zambrano, whose team took third in the Mission League. “They had 24 players and a ton of experience.”

By comparison, the Tologs fielded a 12-player field. Five of them — Lana Sarkisian, Nicolette Harutunian, Camille Katz, Breanna Ryan and Holly MacVaugh — are freshmen.

With the core of their lineup back, Zambrano said he expects the Tologs to battle for a playoff spot next season. They finished behind Harvard-Westlake and Louisville in league this season after going 3-9, 2-8 in league last season for fifth place.

“We don’t want to wait that long [in between playoff appearances] again,” said Zambrano of the 10-year drought. “Now, we just want to be able to keep it going and be in contention for the playoffs.”

MacVaugh said the Tologs showed gradual improvement throughout the season.

“I didn’t know at first if we were going to make the playoffs when the season started,” MacVaugh said. “It probably wasn’t expected.

“Then you could see us getting better throughout the season. We played well together.”

University will meet Brentwood or San Clemente in a second-round match Friday.

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