Led by singles, St. Francis High tennis thumps Crescenta Valley

LA CRESCENTA — Crescenta Valley High’s and St. Francis’ tennis teams have enjoyed similar success thus far this season.

Both the Falcons and Golden Knights have notched key wins in nonleague play to catapult themselves to an impressive first stretch of the season.

St. Francis, however, made quick work of the Falcons and won handily, 13-5, including two Crescenta Valley forfeits in the doubles bracket when the match was well-decided. It was the fourth match this week and third in as many days for the Falcons.

“There was a lot of hype coming into the match with CV,” said St. Francis’ No. 1 singles player Kristian Esteve, who didn’t drop a game in his three sets. “We haven’t played them in a while; at least I haven’t, so I just went for my shot. If I lose the point, then fail quickly.”

The senior then explained his motto: “Fail quickly, it basically means that once the point is over, get up and move on to the next one. I read it in a newspaper article. I think it was a baseball player who said it.”

Esteve’s success against the Falcons’ singles competitors was matched by his teammates, No. 2 Mostafa El-Harazi and No. 3 Alex Kavakian. El-Harazi cruised to a 6-2, 6-1, 6-1 sweep, while Kavakian finished his day with scores of 6-1, 6-1, 6-2.

“Their singles are very solid,” said Falcons Coach Sam Hyun, whose team went 2-2 in the four matches this week, with wins over South Pasadena (13-5) and La Cañada (11-7) and the other loss coming in Pacific League action to Hoover. “They’re way better in singles, but our doubles were solid. We learned some things from their No. 1 doubles team like switching and calling out plays that we’ll have to practice on.”

Crescenta Valley’s No. 2 doubles team of Robert Lee and Young Woo Peak won two of their three sets, 2-6, 7-6 (7-4), and 6-4, as did No. 3 Alex Jang and Hyun Su Kim, who defeated St. Francis’ No. 1 duo of Greg Alle and freshman Jack Freer, 7-6, and scored a 7-6 (7-2) tiebreaker victory over Alfred Lee and Gean Carlo Ciulla.

Alle and Freer didn’t have much trouble getting by Crescenta Valley’s No. 1 team of Aren Abrahamian and Jason Chang (6-1) and Lee and Peak (6-2) before dropping the final set of the match.

“We lost two tiebreakers I thought we’d win,” St. Francis Coach Ron Zambrano said. “Overall, though, I’m impressed. This team beat La Cañada, so I thought we’d have a harder time.”

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