First published in the Feb. 26, 2022, print issue of the Glendale News-Press.
By Nathan Cambridge
Ready or not, the Pacific League boys’ tennis season has arrived. For Hoover High and Burroughs of Burbank, the start was a season-opening matchup for both schools.
Burroughs was definitely ready for the Tornados, opening the new campaign with an 18-0 shutout victory over Hoover in Pacific League play on Tuesday afternoon.
The matchup against Burroughs was not only the Tornados’ first competitive action of the season, but also the first time they had a chance to meet their new coach.
“Getting to know the boys’ names first off and seeing how they do under pressure,” Hoover coach Mher Ivynian said of what he got out of Tuesday’s encounter. “We have a lot of things to work on in practice, but there is a lot of heart out there.”
In total, the Bears outscored Hoover in games won, 108-21.
It was an especially auspicious debut for the top two Bears singles players, who are both freshmen and saw their first high school action against Hoover. Burroughs’ No. 1 in singles was Bernard Woods, who started his high school career with a 6-0 win over Hoover No. 1 singles Daniel Shakaryan. He then dispatched Hoover’s No. 3 and No. 2, Albert Poghosyan and Ben Lim, respectively, 6-2.
Markos Mkrtchyan was Burroughs’ No. 2 in singles and fared essentially the same. The freshman started with a 6-1 win over Lim. He followed that with a 6-2 win over Shakaryan before finishing 6-1 over Poghosyan.
Burroughs’ No. 3 in singles, Micheal Fraser, allowed just four points in his three wins. The junior began 6-2 over Poghosyan, followed by 6-0 over Lim and ending with 6-2 over Shakaryan.
“It was a little bit cold,” Fraser said. “I like playing in warmer weather, but otherwise it was a fun first game of the year.”
The No. 1 doubles tandem of Bears Bevan Maxwell and Vivek Bhakta beat the No. 1 Hoover tandem of Edgar Balasian and Chris Kim 6-2 in the longest-running set of the first rotation. The Burroughs duo then dispatched Hoover’s No. 3 team of Andre Badalyan and Noah Kurien 6-0. In the final rotation, with the match already won, Burroughs subbed in Niyanth Mahesh for Bhakta and beat No. 2 Hoover doubles Alec Avedisian and Vincent Abechian 6-0.
Burroughs’ No. 2 duo of senior Zion DuMonde and sophomore Miles Howell stayed together throughout. They started with a 6-0 win over Avedisian and Abechian and followed that with a 6-3 win over the Hoover No. 1 entry, before finishing their day with a 6-0 win over the No. 3 Hoover duo.
The No. 3 Burroughs doubles, Charles Powell and Sean Konkle, won their matchups in the first two rotations, starting with a 6-0 win over their counterparts from the Hoover side. They then beat the Hoover No. 2 doubles 6-0 for what was the 10th and match-winning point in the second rotation. The pair gave way after that to substitutes Theodore Pynchon and Kaian Bates, who finished the final set of the entire match with a 6-4 win over the Hoover No. 1 doubles duo.
“A lot of the boys just fought it out no matter what,” said Ivynian, Hoover’s coach. “It was tough conditions, but we tried our best today and we are only going to move forward and do better.”