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Servite Ends Its Season Strong Again

May 06, 1997|DAVE McKIBBEN | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Servite quietly wrapped up its third consecutive Golden West League boys' tennis title Thursday with a 16-2 victory over Westminster. The Friars, unranked in the county but ranked fifth in the Southern Section Division III poll, finished the regular season 18-2 overall and 10-0 in league. Their only losses this year were to Los Alamitos and Esperanza.

The Friars have gone 29-1 in league over the past three seasons.

"That loss was my fault," Servite Coach Dick Fumanti said. "I played my junior varsity team in the last match of the season last year and we lost, 10-8."

It's no coincidence Servite started winning its league titles when No. 1 singles player Ryan Moore arrived on campus.

"This is the best team we've had since I've been here," Fumanti said. "We've got seven tournament players now and we should be better next year. I'm sure Ryan Moore being here has a lot to do with that."

Moore, a junior, is one of Southern California's top-ranked players in the boys' 18 division. He is coming off a quarterfinal finish in the boys' interscholastic tournament in Ojai and is a candidate to win this month's Southern Section individual tournament.

*

The Canyon boys' volleyball team should make the playoffs, barring a complete collapse in the next two weeks. That the team is on the floor at all is amazing.

Two players, outside hitter Craig Scott and setter Brad Evans, suffered broken hands early in the year. Meanwhile, Coach Matt Stresak arrived from Germany, where he was training national-class volleyball players, later than expected in January. In early February a full-time job Stresak thought he had lined up didn't materialize, so he quit as Canyon's coach.

Two fathers, Larry Evans and Bob Gutierrez, stepped in as volunteer interim coaches.

But the week the Century League race began, Commanche Athletic Director Steve Anderson assigned basketball Coach Rob Alexander to take over the team. Alexander, however, had no previous volleyball coaching experience, so he took a crash course from girls' Coach Trent Jackson.

"It was like everything that went wrong, did go wrong," Anderson said. "For a three- or four-week period it was a very difficult time. But this is a team of good athletes that needed to be pulled together. Rob was the final piece that made things complete."

On Friday the Commanches extended 10th-ranked and unbeaten Villa Park to four games before losing.

Anderson said Jackson is expected to coach both boys' and girls' teams next season.

*

One of the problems with the Corona del Mar girls' basketball program has been its lack of a feeder program, but former coach Garth Flint is trying to remedy that.

Flint took a one-year sabbatical, but when Zellie Dow stepped down recently, Flint said he didn't want to return to his old position. He's hoping to develop a feeder program for Corona del Mar through National Junior Basketball.

The Newport-Mesa All-Star team recently won the Huntington Beach regional playoffs in the season that just ended.

Though there could be some players who have come through the program that could reach the varsity next year, Flint said in "probably two years, maybe three" the program should start having an impact on the varsity level.

"I think it will take a couple of years for this to come together," Flint said. "People don't know about it. That's been our job at NJB--to let people know about it.

"As much as I like him, I'm tired of Charlie Brande [volleyball club coach] taking all the talent."

Athletes in that community have traditionally pursued volleyball rather than basketball.

"It's going to take several years for this to work out," Flint said, "but it's coming."

Times staff writers Martin Henderson and Paul McLeod contributed to this report.

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