The men’s tennis team clinched the Western State Conference title Thursday, winning six out of nine matches over the Pierce College Brahmas.
Head coach Bob Mackay nabbed his second conference crown in nine years.
“I think the kids really enjoyed the victory today and I got to play everybody,” Mackay said.
On a breezy spring afternoon, the Vaqs tennis team took to the courts against Pierce. Freshman Dro Dermegerdichian was up against Thales Castro on court two.
Dermegerdichian kept it competitive in the early points and was down an early break to put him behind.
“I had a late start and as the match went on I lost some momentum,” Dermegerdichian said.
Frustration mounted as Dermegerdichian missed an overhead smash that would of put him right back into contention.
Teammate Oleg Simonyan was on court three next to Dermegerdichian and came over to offer a few tips of advice. Dermegerdichian fought his way back into the set at 4-5.
During the first set, both players had to meet at center court to discuss a few calls during the match.
After a couple break points, or points to even the set, Dermegerdichian lost the match and eventually the set at 6-4.
The Vaqs and the Brahmas who had finished their sets came to watch the remaining matches as people gathered around for a fierce second set.
The second set was all Castro. Dermegerdichian fell into was in a 4-0 hole during the second.
“I had some opportunities but couldn’t execute,” Dermegerdichian said.
Dermegerdichian did not give up, fought his way back and found himself down one game at 4-3 with Castro. Despite a great effort, it wasn’t enough for Dermegerdichian and he lost the match 6-4, 6-3. Afterward, both players shook hands and talked about the battle.
“My second serve is what I struggled with and he [Castro] took advantage of that,” said Dermgerdichian.
On court one sat a row of fans watching freshman Hosep Orojian and Pierce’s best, Richard Catabona, go head to head in a singles match that went the distance. After two opening sets, it was all tied up at 1-1.
“In the second set, I just went away mentally,” Orojian said. “I was just out of it.”
Orojian and Catabona traded fierce forehand smashes from sideline to sideline and could be heard across the courts in the third set. Eventually, everyone’s focus was on the last two players.
Orojian was leading 4-1 until Catabona came charging back to make it a 4-3 set. Eventually, Orojian gained his composure and beat Catabona to end the singles action 6-1, 3-6, 6-3.
“It’s hard to beat Richard,” said Orojian. “I played him once and won 7-5 so I knew coming into the match it was going to be tough.”
In tennis, a player must win by two even if they reached six wins in the set.
“He’s a really good player,” Orojian said.
After about three hours of action, Glendale wrestled the Brahmas and set their sights on the playoffs.
Glendale took on Ventura, who they beat on Feb. 25 for the first time since coach Mackay’s inception as the tennis coach.
“We’re so strong from top to bottom that if anybody has any weaknesses were going to exploit them,” Mackay said.
Mackay said that the Ventura match could be an opportunity for him to rest some of his key players.
The Vaqs head into the Southern California playoffs with Ventura and Santa Barbara. Glendale enters as the No. 5 seed and will face No. 3 San Diego Mesa. The Olympians are coming off a big win against Ventura.