First published in the Feb. 26, 2022, print issue of the Burbank Leader.
Ready or not, the Pacific League boys’ tennis season has arrived. For Burroughs High School and Hoover High of Glendale, the start was a season-opening matchup for both schools.
The host Bears were definitely ready for Hoover, opening the new campaign with an 18-0 shutout victory over the Tornados in Pacific League play on Tuesday afternoon.
“I’m pleased as punch,” Burroughs coach Roy Bernhardt said.
In total, the Bears outscored the visitors in games won, 108-21. This included eight bagels — 6-0 wins — for Burroughs. In the nine singles sets, no Tornado won more than two games during the sweep.
“I think we came out here and we did the best that we could,” Bears senior Zion DuMonde said. “I’m really optimistic about the rest of the season. I think we have a pretty good team this year.”
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.
“It was really fun. I was a little nervous, but I got through it and it was really fun,” Woods said of starting high school play. “I was hitting really well and serving really well, so it was all good.”
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.
“It was so nice. I love it and it’s so crazy,” Mkrtchyan said of his high school debut.
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.
“We played together in practice, but mostly against each other,” Howell said of teaming with DuMonde. “It’s good learning from him. He’s a great server. It’s fun to watch.”
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.