Both the Falcons and Golden Knights have notched key wins in nonleague play to catapult themselves to an impressive first stretch of the season.
“There was a lot of hype coming into the match with CV,” said St. Francis’ No. 1 singles player Kristian Esteve, who didn’t drop a game in his three sets. “We haven’t played them in a while; at least I haven’t, so I just went for my shot. If I lose the point, then fail quickly.”
The senior then explained his motto: “Fail quickly, it basically means that once the point is over, get up and move on to the next one. I read it in a newspaper article. I think it was a baseball player who said it.”
Esteve’s success against the Falcons’ singles competitors was matched by his teammates, No. 2 Mostafa El-Harazi and No. 3 Alex Kavakian. El-Harazi cruised to a 6-2, 6-1, 6-1 sweep, while Kavakian finished his day with scores of 6-1, 6-1, 6-2.
“Their singles are very solid,” said Falcons Coach Sam Hyun, whose team went 2-2 in the four matches this week, with wins over South Pasadena (13-5) and La Cañada (11-7) and the other loss coming in Pacific League action to Hoover. “They’re way better in singles, but our doubles were solid. We learned some things from their No. 1 doubles team like switching and calling out plays that we’ll have to practice on.”
Crescenta Valley’s No. 2 doubles team of Robert Lee and Young Woo Peak won two of their three sets, 2-6, 7-6 (7-4), and 6-4, as did No. 3 Alex Jang and Hyun Su Kim, who defeated St. Francis’ No. 1 duo of Greg Alle and freshman Jack Freer, 7-6, and scored a 7-6 (7-2) tiebreaker victory over Alfred Lee and Gean Carlo Ciulla.
Alle and Freer didn’t have much trouble getting by Crescenta Valley’s No. 1 team of Aren Abrahamian and Jason Chang (6-1) and Lee and Peak (6-2) before dropping the final set of the match.
“We lost two tiebreakers I thought we’d win,” St. Francis Coach Ron Zambrano said. “Overall, though, I’m impressed. This team beat La Cañada, so I thought we’d have a harder time.”