By Rick Assad
A few minutes into Tuesday’s Pacific League girls’ tennis match between Burbank High and longtime rival Burroughs, some fairly dark and ominous clouds appeared overhead and dropped rain which halted the proceedings for several minutes.
Once the brief shower subsided, the host Bulldogs went back into action and put the pedal to the metal and prevailed 13-5.
“The first round they were a little hesitant,” Burbank coach Loi Phan said of his somewhat youthful team. “Maybe the rain threw them off or something. They pulled together and they played really well.”
This is pretty much a new squad Phan is working with and it’s taking some time to mesh.
“We’ve got young girls. This year we have brand new singles. We have nobody returning from last year,” he said. “Overall, it’s just great to have them come out and play.”
Burbank’s No. 1 singles player, junior Ellie Sumera, claimed three sets and the scores were 6-2, 6-0, 6-1.
At No. 2 singles for the Bulldogs (2-3 and 2-3 in league play) was freshman Cleo Wang and she darted through with a sweep. The scores were 6-1, 6-0, 6-1.
Sophomore Mauri Zytounzian played No. 3 singles for Burbank and grabbed two of three sets and the scores were 6-1, 6-2, 3-6.
Junior Isabella Munguia played No. 3 for the Bears (1-4 in all matches and 1-4 in league) and earned the only win in singles action, 6-3.
“I’m happy just to be out here coaching. For a whole year doing nothing. They haven’t played tennis for over a year,” said Burroughs coach Roy Bernhardt, who is in his 31st season at the school. “The thing was conditioning, let alone tennis. Tennis is one of those sports if you don’t play for a couple of weeks, you could almost start over in that area.”
Burbank grabbed five of the eight points in doubles action including the No. 2 pair of freshman Margaret English and freshman Molly Foenander, who went 6-2, 4-6, 6-4.
At No. 3 for the Bulldogs, freshman Brianna Kobramasihi and freshman Victoria Kalanter eased through, 6-2, 7-6 (7-3), 6-1.
For the Bears, they picked up a point by the No. 1 doubles team of senior Vanessa Safarik and senior Keili Brahms, who beat Burbank’s No. 1 doubles team, junior Lena Jabourian and junior Jena Jabourian at 6-2.
The No. 2 Burroughs doubles squad of junior Maddy Safarik and senior Valerie Lentine went 6-3 and 6-4.
The other point for the Bears was garnered by their No. 3 doubles team, senior Kyrsten Tyler and senior Nicole Concepcion, who defeated Jabourian/Jabourian at 7-5.
Junior Isabella Harris-Bermudez played No. 1 singles for Burroughs and didn’t win any points for the Bears.
Junior Lauren Pieri played two sets as the No. 2 singles player for the Bears and didn’t pick up any points, while freshman Ava Marye saw action, but likewise didn’t collect a point.
Sophomore Elane Shane also played a set in singles action for Burroughs, but didn’t garner a point.
Freshman Meagan Vo and senior Kaitlyn Glaim played one set at No. 3 doubles for Burroughs and didn’t win a point.
Pieri enjoys playing tennis because it can be a form of meditation and something to keep her mind off school.
“They’re fun. Most of the time you know some of the kids from the previous years. You just have to make the best of it,” she said of the rivalry. “It was pretty good. School’s a drag but coming here makes me happier. It’s a good relaxation.”
Pieri fared okay in the two sets, but felt she could have done better.
“You have to go in with a good mindset. No matter how good or how bad you’ve done in the past with these teams,” she noted. “You just have to try your hardest and if I don’t do so well, I say that I can do better the next time.”
Pieri was feeling a case of the nerves, but settled in. “I definitely could have done better in some of the games that I had,” she said. “I probably would have stopped slicing as much because I was nervous and do more groundstrokes.”