Hammel’s Bid For Second Straight League Title Foiled

Burbank High girls' junior tennis player falls in straight sets in Pacific League Tournament's singles championship.

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Sena Hammel began the season with the lofty goal of looking to win a second consecutive Pacific League Tournament singles championship.

Yet, the Burbank High girls’ junior tennis player had an inkling it might be a tough task to accomplish. The junior entered the tournament’s latest rendition Wednesday with an eye on possible additional glory.

Hammel’s quest for another title was denied after she fell, 6-2, 6-1, to Arcadia’s Anastasia Jorniak in the championship match at Burroughs High.

Hammel, the No. 2 seed, entered the match against the top-seeded Jorniak having split two head-to-head matches during the season. Jorniak had the upper hand throughout Wednesday’s battle.

“Some things just weren’t working for me, like my serving and putting more spin on the ball,” Hammel said. “I wanted to get back [to the championship match], but it was very stressful out there. I actually felt a lot of pressure to defend my title about halfway through the season.”

Hammel earlier posted a 6-2, 7-5 semifinal victory versus No. 3 Natalie Mirbegian of Crescenta Valley. Jorniak earned a 6-1, 6-1 semifinal win against No. 4 Claudia Chmielewski of Crescenta Valley.

Jorniak raced out to quick leads in both sets versus Hammel. Jorniak held a 4-1 lead in the first set before jumping out to a 3-0 advantage in the second set.

“[Jorniak] played very well,” Burbank coach Loi Phan said. “Both players belonged in the final and they played pretty evenly by splitting the two matches during the season.

“Sena came back to defend her title and she gave it a really good shot. She still has another year left and she’ll keep on improving.”

In doubles action, Burbank’s Mira Hammel, Sena’s sister, and Daphne Harbaugh competed after spending the regular season as Burbank’s Nos. 2 and 3 singles athletes, respectively.

The freshmen duo, seeded No. 7, fell, 6-2, 6-4, to No. 3 Michelle Ho and Annika Chan of Arcadia in a semifinal contest.

Mira Hammel and Harbaugh earned a 9-7 win versus No. 4 Mila Abadzheva and Elena Manvelian of Crescenta Valley in the third-place match.

The top-seeded tandem of Madelyn Khun and Srinidhi Saravanan of Arcadia recorded a 6-2, 6-1 semifinal victory against Abadzheva and Manvelian before topping Ho and Chan, 6-4, 2-6, 10-7, to earn the crown.

In the third-place singles contest, Mirbegian notched a 6-1 victory over Chmielewski.

The finalists in singles and doubles will participate in the CIF Individual Tournament, which will begin Nov. 20 at a site to be determined.

Arcadia won the league championship. Crescenta Valley took second, followed by Burbank, Hoover, Burroughs, Glendale, Muir and Pasadena.

The CIF Southern Section playoff brackets will be unveiled at 11 a.m. Monday. Arcadia, Crescenta Valley, Burbank and Hoover automatically qualified for the postseason.

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