Having come up just short in the final last year, the Granada Hills girls’ tennis team left nothing to chance in Wednesday afternoon’s Open Division rematch versus top-seeded Palisades at Balboa Sports Center in Encino.
Breanna Nguyen took all three of her sets at No. 2 singles and the top two doubles teams both swept as the second-seeded Highlanders (14-0) won 16 to 11½ to capture their 13th City Section crown and first since 2019.
Round-robin scoring was used for the first time last year and Palisades edged Granada Hills 15½ to 14 in the final for its fifth title in six years since the four-team Open Division was added.
This time, three sets went to tiebreakers and the Highlanders won all of them, including No. 4 singles player Elen Zargaryan upsetting Palisades’ No. 1, Sophie Szeder.
“This is a close-knit group and I’m glad we were finally able to get over the hump today,” said Granada Hills coach Troy Aiken, who took over the program in 2020. “We had match point to potentially win it last year, so the girls were highly motivated to get back here and finish the job. Getting through that head-to-head first round with the lead was our goal and we did that.”
Georgia Brown and Priscilla Grinner, who paired to win the City individual doubles title last fall, swept at the No. 1 spot, 6-4, 6-1, 6-0, to stay undefeated this season while Amy Nghiem and America Fragoso prevailed 7-6 (5) after squandering three set points in the 12th game against Palisades’ No. 2 duo of Penelope Michal and Simone McClary.
Sayuri Parandian won her first two sets at No. 1 singles but fell behind 3-0 to Palisades’ Nicole Nguyen in the third rotation and took an injury timeout to receive treatment. She battled back to tie the set 5-5 before losing, but by not defaulting she allowed a teammate to sub in for her if needed for the last rotation.
“I’ve been injured since last Friday and didn’t play in the semis to rest up for today,” Parandian said. “I think it’s just tightness and soreness from playing too much. I was hoping I could win a few more games at least.”
The teams were meeting in the finals for the 12th time in 13 seasons. The schools have combined to win the last 22 City upper division titles.
With the outcome already decided the last two singles sets were not completed due to time.
This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.