Arbor View girls relish return to postseason

Arbor View’s girls tennis team wasn’t exactly riding a hot streak into this season. The Aggies hadn’t made the postseason as a team since 2008 and were coming off a two-win season that was best forgotten.

The return of an old friend as coach, the addition of two freshman singles players and a renewed work ethic has made last season a distant memory and turned Arbor View into a threat.

The Aggies (7-4) will make their first trip to the postseason in five years when they visit Bonanza (10-3) in a Sunset Region quarterfinal at 3 p.m. today.

Arbor View is the Northwest League’s No. 3 seed, the best seed in the program’s history.

“We have wonderful freshmen who are contributing to our singles, and our doubles are more experienced,” said senior Elen Safarian. “It’s given us hope. We didn’t have much of that last year.”

Safarian, and freshmen Catherine Arizmendez and Devin Diesko have anchored the singles portion of the Aggies’ lineup and helped the team to its best record since 2008, when Arbor View finished 8-4.

“Those two got started early, they were in youth tennis camps, and when they got here, it injected some enthusiasm into the program,” said Arbor View coach George Arizmendez, who returned this season for his second stint as the team’s coach. “There were some girls from last year who couldn’t sit back. They saw the young kids, the underclassmen, and it was motivating to them.

“It’s a more complete lineup. It’s deeper, and it’s making everyone better.”

Safarian also has developed into a top-of-the-lineup singles player.

“She brings intelligence, and just a level of calmness to the team,” George Arizmendez said. “She has been big for us.”

Arbor View also has gotten solid contributions from its doubles teams, led by seniors Imonie Coward, Lauren Gilmore and Janiria Robinson.

The Aggies have just four seniors on their roster.

“Everyone is really close,” Diesko said. “We’re friends and we work really well together. We all just really want the team to be better.”

Being better is something the Aggies have a realistic chance of doing this season.

Arbor View has made three trips to the postseason in the program’s history, but never advanced past the first round. Each trip ended with a loss to Bishop Gorman.

A win today would put the Aggies in a region semifinal for the first time.

“Everyone needs to be focused and go out there and play the best that they can play,” Safarian said.

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