SOUTH PASADENA — In a-matter-of-fact style, Westridge tennis Coach Jerry Rivera said his team’s strength has been its singles players.
Rivera’s singles players have been dominant the entire season, and they continued that trend in the first round of the CIF Southern Section Division II playoffs on Wednesday.
Maral Tavitian, Lena Tavitian and Erin McDonald each swept their three sets, allowing just two total games in the process, in leading Westridge to a 14-4 victory against St. Lucy’s at the Arroyo Racquet Club.
Westridge (14-1), the two-time defending Prep League champion, will play Academy League-champion Sage Hill or wild-card Villa Park in Friday’s second round.
“All three of us have match experience outside of high school,” said Maral Tavitian, a senior who is 45-0 this season. “Nothing fazes us.”
St. Lucy’s didn’t come close to challenging Tavitian, her younger sister or McDonald.
Like her older sister, Lena Tavitian, a sophomore who is 44-1 this year, won her three sets, 6-0, 6-0, 6-0. McDonald, who is 40-5, won, 6-0, 6-2, 6-0.
“We stay even-keeled,” Lena Tavitian said. “We don’t let the emotions get the best of us. We came in prepared. We came in confident.”
They also came in with a goal in mind.
A year ago, Westridge advanced to the second round of the playoffs for the first time in 18 years before being eliminated.
This year, Westridge has a goal of advancing farther than last year.
“Last year was a big accomplishment,” Lena Tavitian said. “This year, we want more. We want to take advantage of the opportunity we have. We’re hungrier to win it.”
How far Westridge advances might also depend on its doubles teams.
Westridge’s Cameron Marsh and Amanda Matthiessen won two sets before Rachel Dillman substituted for Matthiessen to help Marsh win another set. The No. 2 doubles team of Annsley Matthiessen and Eileen Kwon captured two sets for the Tigers, who said they’ll face a tougher opponent on Friday.
“We need to play solid and we need to stay focused on Friday,” Rivera said. “We need doubles to step up. If we get four or five from them, we’ll be in good position to advance, hopefully to the third round, and maybe even further.”