GIRLS’ TENNIS PREVIEW: Local Teams Share Plenty Of Optimism, Add Depth

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(Photo by Austin Gebhardt)

With a new season set to begin, the Burbank High, Burroughs and Providence girls’ tennis teams are putting the finishing touches on shaping their respective lineups.

There’s plenty for the Bulldogs, Bears and Pioneers to be confident about when they enter the court.

The three squads have added depth, perhaps giving them an edge when they compete against their league opponents.

Here’s a closer look at the teams.

BURBANK

The Bulldogs were the lone local girls’ tennis team to qualify for the playoffs last season. Burbank went 10-5, 8-4 for third place in the Pacific League behind Arcadia and Crescenta Valley. Burbank fell, 14-4, to host Camarillo in a CIF Southern Section Division I first-round match.

Of greater significance, Sena Hammel captured her first league singles championship last season, giving the Bulldogs something to build on this season.

“We were putting things together last season,” Burbank coach Loi Phan said. “We had lost some key players to graduation, but now we have a pretty solid group back and I think we’ll have a pretty decent team.

“We have lots of returners and we’re bringing in some freshmen. I think we can be a playoff team again.”

On Hammel looking to win a second league title in a row: “I think she’s got a shot. She just needs to work a little more on her overall consistency to her game. It would be great to see her win it again. We just have to see what the other teams in our league have.”

Joining Hammel in singles will be junior Bernadette Hovhanasian and possibly freshmen Daphne Harbaugh and Mira Hammel, Sena’s sister. The doubles lineup will likely feature junior Brianna Kobramasihi and juniors Jessica Han and Chihiro Kato, along with Mira Hammel and Harbaugh.

Burbank will compete in Division II this season.

BURROUGHS

The Bears will look to move up in the Pacific League after finishing 3-9 overall and in league for sixth place last season.

Burroughs will field a 13-player squad under the guidance of veteran coach Roy Bernhardt.

“I think our players are showing a lot of enthusiasm and are anxious to play,” said Bernhardt, whose team will stay in Division III. “We have four or five players who want to be team captain and I think we are capable of having a good season.

“Our league will be good again, but it will probably come down to our team having to beat Glendale and Hoover to make the playoffs.”

The Bears will have a lineup that might consist of senior Ava Mayre and juniors Hannah Lewis and Abigail Stell in singles. They will be joined in doubles by junior Hannah Mendoza and freshmen Leslie Femenias and Dana Pitsker.

PROVIDENCE

Things will look a bit different for the Pioneers, who turn to new coach James Jimenez to get them on track. Jimenez takes over for Rey Suarez, who led the program the past four seasons.

Providence went 1-14, 0-10 in the Prep League last season. The Pioneers played a varsity schedule in 2022 after competing mostly at the junior varsity level two seasons ago.

There’s reason for Jimenez, who is the school’s athletic director, and the Pioneers to be optimistic.

“I’ve been watching them practice since the summer and it’s about the players continuing to develop,” Jimenez said. “It’s about giving them the confidence that we are prepared and in condition. If we can be mentally prepared for competition, then that will help.

“It will be about getting up to speed to compete at the varsity level. We also know we will be in a tough league.”

The Pioneers could have a lineup that will include senior Sophia Kevorkian and junior Bailey Barrows in singles. Sophomore Emma Fernandez could play singles and doubles and freshman Lola Middleton will compete in doubles.

Providence, which will remain in Division V, will play its home matches at Burbank Tennis Center.

    Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center