Burbank High girls' tennis stops Crescenta Valley

LA CRESCENTA — With first place still up for grabs in the Pacific League, the Burbank High girls' tennis team returned to a site where it hasn't enjoyed much success recently.

Since Burbank Coach Loi Phan took over the program in 2007, the Bulldogs had not won a road match against Crescenta Valley. Backed by its solid singles lineup, Burbank saw its fortunes change Thursday.

Burbank received singles sweeps from Lilit Vardanyan, Meredy Gharabegi and Nicole Merrit to record an 11-7 win against Crescenta Valley and remain tied for first in league with Arcadia.

"Places like Arcadia and CV are tough places to play," said Phan, whose team improved to 12-2 and 9-1 in league and is ranked No. 5 in the latest CIF Southern Section Division II poll. "It's just a hard atmosphere.

"Against some teams, you have enough to win. CV is not a given You have to think about that going in. The goal was to do well in singles and get at least three wins in doubles."

The Bulldogs swept the two head-to-head meetings with the Falcons (8-5, 7-4). Burbank recorded a 12-6 home win against Crescenta Valley on Sept. 24.

Vardanyan won her three sets without losing a game. Gharabegi lost only two games and Merrit dropped only three.

"I think we all felt good and confident," said Gharabegi, a senior. "I had to make sure I went out there and didn't give games away.

"It's hard to play here. We had to stay focused because we want to have that opportunity of finishing first in league."

Burbank received one doubles win apiece from MacKenzie Emi and Gabrielle Markari (7-5) and Elizabeth Sanchez and Veronica Mendoza (6-2).

Crescenta Valley, which entered Thursday's match in third place, got doubles sweeps from Alexa Gregorian and Jackie Dilanchyan and Angela So and Ashley An. Gregorian and Dilanchyan won, 6-3, 6-1, 6-1. Seo and An won, 6-1, 6-0, 7-6 (7-3).

The Falcons also got a doubles victory from Annie Park and Katie Maskal (6-2).

Crescenta Valley Coach Sam Hyun said the Falcons showed marked improvement since the first meeting against the Bulldogs.

"They played much better and I'm satisfied with the way we played in doubles today," Hyun said. "We saw some progress with Angela and Ashley at No. 2 doubles.

"Burbank's singles players are good. [Merrit] is solid with her ground strokes and she's got a good future."

Burbank will wrap up the regular season with league home matches against Hoover and Glendale at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday, respectively, looking to win out against teams it's already defeated to assure itself a share of its first-ever Pacific League title. Crescenta Valley will have a bye Tuesday before finishing the regular season with a road match against Hoover at 3:30 p.m. Thursday.

The league prelims will be held Oct. 28 at Pasadena High. The league finals will follow Oct. 30 at Pasadena.


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