Glendale Community College doubles squads make Ojai runs

Unlike past years in which the prestigious Ojai Tournament served as an entity unto itself for community college tennis, this year, players had to qualify out of conference tournaments.

The 113th annual Ojai Valley Tournament was the final event for junior college tennis, with the Southern California Regionals and state tournament taking place under the umbrella of the prestigious tourney.

“It was a lot different. You had to qualify this year,” Glendale Community College men’s Coach Bob MacKay said. “Every match meant something.”

And in the doubles ranks on both the men’s and women’s sides, Glendale Community College went out swinging.

The highlight likely came from the ladies, as unseeded Alexandra Amor and Sofia Tavitian of GCC advanced to Saturday afternoon’s quarterfinals and lost a heartbreaker to Orange Coast College’s Michelle Cyrus and Mia Hashimoto, 6-7 (2), 6-4, 10-8. They got there by upsetting the top seed Friday afternoon.

“We came all the way back, but unfortunately we let the horse get a little too far ahead,” said GCC women’s Coach Bob Donaghy of his duo, which trailed, 9-2, at one point in the final set. “We finished in the top eight of 128 teams. That’s 128 of the best teams in the state. That’s pretty darn good.”

On the men’s side, eighth-seeded Andrew You and Gaspar Macalutas advanced to the quarterfinals, but lost to second-seeded Andrew Amor and Adam Duong of American River, 7-6, 3-0 (retirement) after GCC withdrew due to injury Friday afternoon.

“We had a chance to advance [Friday],” MacKay said. “We should’ve won that first set.”

There was local success elsewhere at the tournament.

Sixth-seeded Ally McKenzie reached the final round of the girls’ 16 tournament after upsetting second-seeded Erin Freeman of Downey, 6-4, 6-3, on Friday afternoon to move into Saturday morning’s semifinals. In the semifinals, McKenzie was stopped by seventh-seeded Ryan Peus, 6-1, 6-0.

Previously, McKenzie opened up Thursday with a 6-3, 7-6 (4) victory against Haruna Tsuruta of Ojai. On Friday morning, McKenzie began with a 6-1, 6-0 sweep of San Marino’s Madeleine Gandawidjaja, 6-1, 6-0.

Myles Webb of Glendale drew the No. 5 seed in the boys’ 14 singles draw and made a run before he was defeated by top-seeded Kento Perera of Santa Barbara, 4-6, 6-2, 6-3, in Friday’s quarterfinal round.

Webb began the tournament Thursday morning with a 6-1, 6-0 sweep of Daniel Lin from Northridge, before defeating Ojai’s William Li, 6-4, 6-1, later Thursday. On Friday morning, Webb outlasted ninth-seeded Ben Goldberg of Pacific Palisades, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4, to move into his showdown with Perera.

Elsewhere in the boys’ 14s, Glendale’s Vahe Yacoubian lost in the opening round Thursday to Dariush Jalai of Rancho Palos Verdes.

In the girls’ 16 tournament, Cassie McKenzie of Glendale swept Isabella Busacca, 6-0, 6-0, in the round of 32 on Thursday afternoon, but then lost Friday to Siena Peri of Los Angeles, 6-4, 6-4.

Glendale High product Robert Yim, a regular at Ojai, took part in the men’s open singles tournament and won his opener against Oxnard’s Ethan Lopez, 6-2, 6-0, on Thursday afternoon. Later in the day, though, Yim was dispatched by Hawaii’s Dennis Lajola, the second seed, 7-5, 6-2.

Yim teamed with Travis Rettenmaier in the men’s open doubles as the No. 3 seed. The duo opened with a first-round win over Collin Altamirano and Stefan Menichella, 6-3, 6-3, but were upset by Kei Ezaka and Ren Nakamura on Saturday afternoon, when they withdrew due to injury.

In the girls’ 18 singles tournament, Arpi Bagumyan of Hoover was defeated in Thursday’s opening round by Yolanda Lan Pham of San Diego, 7-5, 6-1.

Rounding out play for GCC, 12th-seeded Phillip Lam and Dat Lee of Glendale swept, 6-2, 6-2, against Diablo Valley’s Ryan Dugan and Eric Lofquist on Thursday in the round of 64 before the duo lost to No. 6 Patrick Johnson and Simba Baratti of American River, 6-0, 7-6 (4).

Macalutas and You won their first two matches on Thursday and Friday afternoons by identical 6-3, 6-2 scores.

Macalutas was the only Vaquero to qualify for singles and, as the 15th seed, advanced to Friday morning’s round of 32, where he lost to second-seeded Alessandro Moriano, 6-3, 6-3. He won in the round of 64 over Riverside’s Uilises Banos, 6-3, 6-4 on Thursday afternoon.

As for the season, MacKay was pleased.

“I was happy with our team,” he said. “It was a young team.”

In women’s doubles, Sydney Farzadkish and Ashley Sumudio lost in the opening round Thursday to Grossmont’s Marlayna Durant and Kinsey Volkart, 7-5, 7-5.

Tavitian put together a formidable singles showing, winning in the round of 64 with a 6-0 sweep against Reedley’s Lana Rotan on Thursday morning before a Friday morning upset of sixth-seeded Ariana Cobos of Monterey Peninsula, 6-0, 6-2. Tavitian’s run came to a close in the round of 16 against fourth-seeded Sonia Landeros of Ventura, 6-4, 6-3.

Amor won her first match in singles Thursday, defeating Candice Lee, 6-3, 6-2, before losing Friday in the round of 64 to eighth-seeded Karleyne Ishima-Oien, 6-0, 6-1.

Tavitian and Amor began their doubles quest Thursday afternoon with a win over a De Anza duo, 6-2, 6-0, before upsetting top-seeded Jaimie Miller and Chloe Vicari of Sierra, 6-3, 6-2.

“These girls, they have hearts,” said Donaghy of his entire team. “That’s why we did so well this year.”

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