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A fight for playoffs on courts

Local squads are preparing to battle it out to earn precious postseason spots.

February 22, 2012|By Charles Rich, charles.rich@latimes.com
(Cheryl A. Guerrero/Staff…)

With the final two automatic playoff spots from the Pacific League expected to be up for grabs, the Glendale High and Hoover boys' tennis teams figure to be in the mix.

Arcadia and Burroughs are expected to finish among the top two squads in the league with balanced and experienced lineups, leaving the Nitros and Tornadoes jockeying for playoff positioning and adding more spice to the cross-town rivalry.

How the Nitros and Tornadoes respond will likely be determined on the depth in their respective lineups.

At Glendale, the Nitros lost No. 1 singles player Nick Shamma, who is being home schooled. It's left Glendale Coach Bob Davidson in search of a suitable replacement.

"It's a major loss and he's somebody you can't replace," said Davidson, whose team placed third in league last season and advanced to the second round of the CIF Southern Section Division II playoffs. "He was one of the better singles players in the entire league.

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"So, now we'll look to find somebody else to put in that spot."

In recent seasons, the Nitros have had some stellar doubles teams to help them qualify for the postseason. Though they lost their top doubles team of All-Area honorees Elliot Kim and Jeff Asano to graduation, the Nitros will turn to their new No. 1 tandem of Sam Sarian and Rene Glandian for support.

"We are trying to get them to play more consistently," Davidson said. "They played great toward the end of last season and we want to get them back to that level again."

Hoover, which finished fifth in league before receiving an at-large berth into the Division II playoffs, will return the bulk of its lineup. Among those who will be back include junior singles player Oleg Simonyan, who was a driving force in helping the Tornadoes qualify for the playoffs for the first time since 2003.

Simonyan advanced to the Pacific League championship, losing to All-Area Boys' Tennis Player of the Year Garrett Auproux of Burroughs. Simonyan, an All-Area selection, concluded last season with a 35-15 record after his first appearance in the CIF Individuals.

In addition to Simonyan, Hoover will bring back singles player Emile Ohanian and doubles players Yeprem Chavdarian, Vardan Adzhinyan, Alex Karibyan and Artur Arutyunyan.

It's a lineup that might need some fine tuning in certain spots, but one that Hoover Coach Julie Hoppe said she's comfortable sending between the baselines.

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