By Alan der OHANNESSIAN
Falcons tennis got mixed results in their Pacific League finals tournament Wednesday. In singles, Karen Ataian, the No. 3 seed for the tournament, won the battle for best player in the Pacific League. She earned it with her mental toughness and determination. In the semifinals, she beat her teammate, No. 2 seed Emily Borkowski, in a hard fought battle.
She lost the first set 6-3 before making a huge comeback, winning the second in a tie breaker 7-6 (7-5) and the final super tie breaker, 11-9 when the first player to gain 10 points wins.
But Ataian had another long and a grueling match waiting for her.
She was scheduled to face Francis Dean of Arcadia, the No. 1 seed of the tournament. Dean had a perfect record throughout the season and was the former Pacific League champion.
Before meeting Ataian, Dean cruised past Kathy Henry of Burroughs, the No. 4 seed, 6-1, 6-0.
Facing Ataian, Dean got off to a quick start, taking the first set 6-1, capitalizing on Ataian’s lack of energy from her previous match. However, the Falcon fought back, winning the second set 6-4, setting the stage for the super tie breaker.
In that match, both players went neck and neck until Ataian got a 7-5 lead and never looked back, winning the match 10-6 and the singles tournament. After the match, Coach Sarah Wiggins was obviously proud of Ataian’s performance. “She played a smart and steady game,” Wiggins said.
Even Arcadia’s coach had to acknowledge Ataian’s superiority.
“She hit a lot of big shots, put our girl on the defensive,” said Arcadia coach Jerry Dohling. “She just kind overpowered her as the match continued.
“For her to go out and beat her teammate in a long, grueling match and then having to do it again playing a tie breaker is amazing. We have to take our hat off.”
Despite losing in the semifinals, Borkowski, redeemed herself defeating Henry 8-3, nabbing third place. While the Falcons had had good reason to be happy in singles, it wasn’t the same couldn’t be said for the doubles team.
Vicktoriya Shumakova and Jackie Dilanchian, the No. 3 seed, lost their semi-final match to Ashley Basco and Meredy Gharabegi of Burbank, the No. 2 seed, 6-4, 7-5. Elizabeth Lieu and Nadia Pacheco of Arcadia, the No. 5 seed, defeated their teammates Annie Tung and Caroline Young in a tough battle, 3-6, 6-3 and 10-7 in the super tie breaker.
Pacheco and Lieu went on to defeat Basco and Gharabegi 6-3 and 6-3 to claim the title.
“We tried to stay focused, we knew we could beat them because we had played together a lot,” said Lieu. The day didn’t get any better for Falcons’ doubles team. They lost the match for third place, losing 8-4 to Annie Tung and Caroline Young of Arcadia, the No. 1 seed.