Hoover High boys' tennis just edges rival Glendale

GLENDALE — With playoffs already assured for the Hoover High boys' tennis team and out of the question for Glendale, all that was left to play for was bragging rights Thursday.

That was enough for both sides, as both engaged in a fierce Pacific League clash that ended with the Tornadoes, who’d already secured third place in league, squeaking by their cross-town rival, 10-8, at Glendale High.

“It’s nice to beat our cross-town rival and end the season on a win. My singles players carried us all season and my one team carried us all season and they were able to do it again,” said Hoover Coach Julie Hoppe, whose team finished the season 9-7, 7-5 in league and as the No. 3 team in league.

For Glendale (5-10, 3-9 in league), the league finale was reminiscent of what it’d experienced all year.

“This was kind of a picture of our whole season,” said Nitros Coach Bob Davidson, who saw his team drop three of four sets that went an extra game. “We were very, very close, but just a few breaks here and there turned it around.”

While Hoover collected three sweeps on the day, none was more dramatic than that from its No. 1 doubles team of Arthur Arutunyan and Danny Kim. In its first two sets, the group trailed, 5-4, and rallied back for 7-6 (7-5), 7-5 wins and won its final set, 6-4.

“We were having trouble with our first two sets, but as partners we knew we had to help each other out, motivate ourselves and get our energy back and get our confidence to take it back and win,” Arutunyan said.

Added Kim: “It’s really important [to beat Glendale]. This may not be football or basketball, but we still consider [Beat Glendale Day] for tennis pretty big; it’s really big.”

Oleg Simonyan (6-3, 6-0, 6-1) and Emile Ohanyan, the Tornadoes’ top two singles players, both won all of their sets.

Ohanyan saved the match from being decided on games with a dramatic 7-6 (7-5) victory over Glendale ace Arin Meserkhani in the final set of the day. Hoover’s sophomore won his other two matches, 6-0, 6-2.

Even had Ohanyan lost to Meserkhani, Hoover had the win locked up with an 83-72 lead in games before the final set was counted.

While Glendale didn’t have any sweeps on the day, all three of its double teams — Mher Krikor and Nawaf Tokatly (7-5, 6-1), Sam Sarian and Mike Akopians (6-4, 6-2) and David Casaburi and Davo Ismailian (6-4, 6-3) — won two sets.

Meserkhani (6-4) and Artiom Ambartsoumian (6-4) provided the Nitros other two wins in singles.

“Our effort was great,” Davidson said. “We played our hearts out today and I’m very proud of that.”

Both Hoover and Glendale will compete to the Pacific League prelims Monday at Pasadena High at 2 p.m. to determine the top singles players and doubles teams in the league that will advance to the CIF Individual Tournament.

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