Hart girls tennis season closes with loss to Burbank in wild-card playoff match

Oct 10, 2017: Hart at Saugus Girls Varsity Tennis: Hart's Sarah Backer serves the ball during her singles match against Saugus at Saugus High School. Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/For The Signal
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Hart girls tennis coach Allan Hardbarger knew what his singles players were up against in their CIF-Southern Section wild-card playoff against Burbank.

“They’re so strong in singles,” Hardbarger said. “We were hoping to win the match through doubles and try to sneak something through our singles play.”

The doubles teams held up their end of the bargain but Hardbarger’s assessment of Burbank’s singles play was spot on.

Hart dropped all nine singles sets as its season came to a close with a 12-6 loss on a cloudy Tuesday afternoon at Hart.

“We were able to do a lot of damage in doubles but their singles players were just too much for us today,” Hardbarger said

Sarah Backer and Shannon Sindle were the only Hart players to win all three of their sets on the day (6-1, 6-1, 6-1). Mansi Sharma and Zoe Morris won two of their sets (4-6, 6-4, 6-3) while Rachael Nivichanov and Cameron Schwartz picked up a lone set win (4-6, 2-6, 7-6).

Zoe Witherspoon was Hart’s only singles player to win a game through nine sets (0-6, 0-6, 1-6).

After the loss, Hardbarger gathered his group one last time in the middle of the team’s home court. He was understandably emotional when thinking about the team’s group of seniors, including Backer, Morris, Nivichanov, Madison Bybee, Kayla Song and Delanie Blackman.

“We were very blue collar this season,” Hardbarger said, “We didn’t really have a superstar. Everyone just did their part.”

Hardbarger recalled a 16-2 win over Saugus on Sept. 14 as the high point of the season. With West Ranch and Valencia atop the Foothill League standings, the resounding win gave the Indians the inside track to the third league playoff spot.

“It pushed us to see what we could do and what kind of damage we could do in the playoffs,” Hardbarger said. “This is always the toughest day of the season but I couldn’t be prouder of the way they played for each other all season.”


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