Heading into the 2013 season, it appears as though the members of the Crescenta Valley High girls’ tennis team have put themselves in position to again contend for the Pacific League championship.
The Falcons return a large portion of their squad that finished third in league and advanced to the CIF Southern Section Division II playoffs.
However, there’s a question mark in the singles rotation that Crescenta Valley second-year Coach Sam Hyun would like to address sooner than later.
“We seem to be a bit more experienced than we were last year,” Hyun said. “We are set in a lot of areas, but we still need to figure out what we are going to do at No. 3 singles.”
While it’s likely to remain a concern of Hyun, at least until the first serve and volley of the season, he can take comfort knowing the Falcons likely will be a quality matchup against most teams.
The Falcons bring back senior No. 1 singles player Alexa Gregorian and Jackie Dilanchyan, who played at No. 1 doubles and earned All-Area accolades last season. Crescenta Valley will rely on Gregorian and Dilanchyan, both seniors, to provide leadership and rack up points.
“It will start with both of them,” Hyun said. “They know how to lead the way.”
Gregorian and Dilanchyan should receive plenty of support. Dilanchyan, who advanced to the league doubles semifinals last season, will probably be paired with senior Selin Ayvazian. Crescenta Valley’s other doubles teams will consist of senior Kyung Hei Seo with sophomore Ashley An and junior Annie Park with sophomore Alyssa Kim. The Falcons will also have senior Natalie Davidian in singles.
“Burbank and Arcadia will be tough,” Hyun said. “It going to come down to doubles for us to do well.”
Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy enters the season fresh off a playoff appearance after taking third in the Mission League. The Tologs took part in a postseason for the first time since 2002 under coach Ron Zambrano.
Zambrano would like to see the Tologs avoid another 10-year playoff drought and a strong nucleus of returning talent might have the Tologs in line for a return trip to the postseason.
“We come into the season excited,” Zambrano said. “We have a lot of experience for the first time in a while, so we should be OK.
“It will be interesting to see how we do. Our players have been hitting the ball better of late at practice.”
The Tologs will bring back senior doubles player Julia Byrne, along with sophomore singles/doubles athlete Holly MacVaugh, sophomore singles player Camille Katz and sophomore singles/doubles athlete Briana Ryan.
Glendale was the other team to advance to the postseason following a fourth-place finish in the Pacific League. The Nitros, under coach Bob Davidson, will feature a squad filled with mostly juniors and seniors.
Davidson said he expects the Nitros to be in a number of close matches throughout the season.
“We are making progress and I think we are going to be a little bit better in doubles this time around,” Davidson said. “The main question mark for us is who will play in singles?
“We still have a few holes to fill. There can be a few teams in league who can be battling for the last playoff spot in league.”
Glendale’s top players will be Veronika Galstyan (junior, singles), Danielle Fabian (junior, doubles), Imani Story (junior, doubles), Rouzana Hakobyan (junior, doubles), Mary Pailevanian (senior, doubles), Amanda Lieu (senior, doubles) and Kellie Gong (senior, doubles).
Hoover missed the playoffs last season after taking fifth in the Pacific League.
Hoover Coach Julie Hoppe said the Tornadoes should have better balance throughout most of the lineup.
“We have some combinations that we like,” Hoppe said. “It’s going to come down to how well we mesh in doubles and we hope it all fits together.
“I think league will be pretty tight again. There could be a few teams battling for the last two [automatic playoff] spots.”
Seniors Erlinda Kirakosyan and Alin Torosyan will see time competing in singles and doubles. They will be joined by singles players Sara Kim (junior) and Audria Amirian (senior) and freshman doubles athletes Natalie Kelechian and Tamar Chavdarian.
Flintridge Prep finished in fourth place in the Prep League last season and missed the postseason. The Rebels chose to move in a new direction and brought in a new coach in Hratchia Sargsyan, who ran the school’s boys’ team last season.
While Sargsyan continues to get a better makeup of the team, he will have singles players Roya Ghessari (senior) and Suzie Kim (freshman) slotted in the lineup.
“I think Roya and Suzie can make some noise throughout the season,” Sargsyan said.