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Lilit Vardanyan is leader of Burbank tennis pack

Accomplished singles player and Bulldogs on verge of capturing a share of first league championship in 11 years.

October 21, 2013|By Jeff Tully, jeff.tully@latimes.com
(File Photo )

Lilit Vardanyan didn't burst upon the high school girls' tennis scene two years ago as a freshman at Burbank High. In fact, she had no freshman season at all with the Bulldogs.

Although she was an accomplished junior player, Vardanyan didn't get a chance to prove herself after the right-handed player was sidelined prior to the season with a right-wrist injury.

Instead of competing with the Burbank team, something she was looking so forward to, Vardanyan was forced to take a physical education class, and was given an activity where she wouldn't further injure her wrist.

"I was in dance class, and I just hated it," said Vardanyan, who took more than a year off playing tennis in an attempt to mend her ailing wrist. "It was a really sad time for me. I would be in class and I would be starring into the mirror and telling myself 'I could be playing tennis right now.' It would just make me cry.

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"And then there was the tutus, I don't even want to think about that."

Still hampered by the injury last season, Vardanyan missed some matches and played hurt in others as a sophomore. In the Pacific League tournament, she was relegated to competing in doubles.

"Doubles was fun, but I wish I could have played in singles," Vardanyan said.

With Vardanyan not at full strength, Burbank finished second in league in 2012 behind champion Arcadia.

Despite her wrist giving her problems every now and then, Vardanyan has enjoyed a wildly successful junior season this year with the Bulldogs. Not only is she steering first-place Burbank toward a Pacific League championship, but she is dominating opponents in the process.

"It has just been an amazing season for me," Vardanyan said. "Just being a part of this team and just everybody coming together to play as a team has been great. We all pull for each other and cheer each other on."

With just one match remaining in the regular season — Thursday at home against Glendale — Vardanyan has a 52-1 record, with her lone loss coming against touted singles player Natalia Munoz of Hart High. In addition, she won all six of her sets in two matches against Arcadia.

"Lilit is a good player, and I think the injury she has been suffering with, the wrist, just comes from over-practicing," Burbank Coach Loi Phan said. "She plays so much; I've tried to get her to not play so much.

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