Burbank Girls Tennis Tripped By Whitney 10-8

The Bulldogs played with skill and enthusiasm, but still lost to the Wildcats in the CIF Southern Section Division III quarterfinals.

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(Photo by Austin Gebhardt)

By Rick Assad

On a near-perfect day to play tennis, where the weather wasn’t too hot or too cold, the Burbank High girls’ team went toe-to-toe with visiting Whitney and despite a strong effort, the Bulldogs fell just short, losing 10-8 in a CIF Southern Section Division III quarterfinal match on Monday afternoon.

Though their season is over, it will be remembered for a very long time and with immense pride.

A season ago, the Bulldogs placed fourth in the Pacific League and failed to qualify for the postseason.

This season, Burbank ended the league campaign in second place with an 8-3 mark. This is no small accomplishment.

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The Wildcats are now 17-2 in all matches and have a 12-match winning skein.

The match began with each team gaining three points in the opening round, but the Wildcats were slightly stronger from this point forward.

The Bulldogs (11-4) arrived at the quarters after beating Walnut 12-6 in the opening round and then drilling La Salle 14-4 in the second round.

Whitney’s road to the quarterfinals saw the Wildcats defeat Millikan 11-7 in the first round and then take out Ventura 14-4 in the second round.

The season began with three straight victories for the Bulldogs but then lost to powerful Arcadia 15-3.

Two wins followed including a triumph over Burroughs 13-5, but the Apaches earned a 15-3 win over Burbank.

Two more wins followed for the Bulldogs that included a 14-4 blitz over the rival Bears, but the pesky Apaches then beat the Bulldogs 15-3.

Burbank, pictured in an earlier CIF playoff match, and visiting Whitney were even after the first round of Monday’s quarterfinal match. (Photo by Austin Gebhardt)

Burbank closed out the regular season with two victories that included a 16-2 win over Burroughs.

After winning the first two matches of the season, the Wildcats lost to Los Alamitos 12-6.

They then rebounded and claimed three consecutive victories before falling to Mater Dei 11-7. The next dozen matches were claimed by Whitney.

Burbank’s No. 1 doubles team of Brianna Kobramasihi and Meeneh Mirzaians went 6-1, 4-6 and 6-1.

Elli Sumera and Nairi Zeytounzian are the Bulldogs’ No. 2 doubles tandem and they went 6-1, 3-6 and 6-3.

“I think it was a really great way for me to end my senior year. Obviously my first two years we only made it one round through CIF and last year with COVID wasn’t the best season,” said Sumera, who played her last match at the high school level. “But I’m just really happy that we got out and we played our hearts out and we made it this far.”

Sumera liked the way this team never gave up. “I’m really proud of our team. We did a really great job this year and we got really close,” she noted. “I was just happy to have an enjoyable season for my senior year and go out strong.”

Sumera went on: “I’m happy we got this far. I was happy with anything after last year, finishing fourth and not making the playoffs,” she said. “The girls were so supportive this year and I was so lucky to have such an amazing team. I think I can speak for the entire team that we’re happy we got this far.”

Burbank’s No. 3 duo of Liliyan Hawrylo and Arpi Krikorian also had a solid afternoon after going 6-4, 2-6 and 6-0.

The Bulldogs earned a point in singles as No. 3 Sena Hammel edged Lauren Fong, Whitney’s No. 3 by the score of 7-6 (7-5). A second point was picked up by Burbank in singles play.

“Our goal is always to never give up. First round was tied. The whole idea is to keep battling no matter what,” Whitney coach Dave Moorman said. “Keep that pressure off yourself and play point by point. They’re fighting out there. Our goal is to walk off the court and know we battled.”