First published in the Oct. 9 print issue of the Burbank Leader.
Both the John Burroughs and Crescenta Valley High School girls’ tennis teams earned a spot in the top tier of the first half of this season’s newly imagined Pacific League schedule, which puts the best against the best and the rest against the rest for the second half of the schedule.
This equaled a rematch on the same courts where they matched up three weeks ago.
The visiting Falcons, led by their singles play, easily dispatched Burroughs, 14-4, Tuesday afternoon in Pacific League play.
“It’s good to see we’ve been practicing hard and a lot of the improvements are starting to show in our matches,” CV assistant coach Alex Jang said. “I’m really impressed by our singles lineup.”
The majority of Burroughs’ points came from the No. 1 doubles pairing of Vanessa Muga and Maddy Safarik, who went undefeated. Their first set against the Falcons’ No. 1 duo of Amanda An and Karis Yun was a comeback, ending in a 7-5 win.
“We realized we lost to them last time 4-6 and, we are what, [down] 2-5 already? We’ve got to make more progress than that,” Safarik said. “We just laser focused and kept everything in [bounds].”
Muga and Safarik made quicker work of the Falcons’ No. 3 team of Elena Manuelian and Mila Abadzheva 6-2 in the second round. In the third round, the Bears’ No. 1 tandem went up by three early, then had to deny the Falcons’ No. 2 team of Kristen Kim and Lexi Sheynin their comeback bid, finally winning 7-5.
“I think we did really well; we worked as a team. Maddy has amazing volleys,” Muga said.
In the singles draw, the Falcons’ starters won every set they contested. Crescenta Valley No. 1 singles Teleya Blunt was nearly flawless on the afternoon, beginning with a 6-1 win in her opening set over Bears No. 1 Isabella Harris-Bermudez. Blunt followed that with a set of bagels, blanking Burroughs No. 2 Lauren Pieri and then No. 3 Abby Stell 6-0, 6-0.
Chmielewski gave way to substitute Lili Tadevosyan to face Pieri in the final round. Pieri then earned the hosts’ lone point in singles with a 7-5 victory.
Crescenta Valley (5-2 in league) won the rest of the doubles sets. An and Yun bounced back from the first rotation to down Bears No. 2s Lindsey Mazarei and Hannah Lewis 6-1. They then made way for substitutes in the final rotation in Kayla Truong and Ramya Kumarasuriar, who won 6-2.
“Some of the sets were exciting. It was like I’m over there having a heart attack,” Burroughs coach Roy Bernhardt said. “It was fun.”