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UC IRVINE NOTEBOOK / CHRIS FOSTER

Leading by Example, Lindee Reclaims His Game for Anteaters

May 06, 1997|CHRIS FOSTER

Cameran Lindee pretty much rehabilitated himself. All it took was some soul searching and a title--team captain.

His previous three seasons on the UC Irvine men's tennis team were more notorious than noteworthy, at least from Lindee's perspective. He had played well at times, but said he became known for falling apart when matches games got tough.

He certainly wasn't living up to his pre-collegiate reputation. Lindee had been ranked fourth in the Southern California Tennis Assn. boys' 18 division as a senior at Loara. He had won 226 of 228 high school sets. He even had a court named after him at the school.

Yet, as an Anteater, he never seemed to attain such status.

"Looking back, I was kind of the big fish in a little pond in high school," Lindee said. "I was seeded No. 1 in CIF. I had a court named after me. I was at a school where everyone knew my name. It was a lot different when I got to a school where there were 20,000 other people. It was a reality check. I think I put too much pressure on myself and the game wasn't fun.

"I thought, 'OK, this is your senior year, you better do something.' "

Lindee is 14-6, playing mostly No. 3 singles, this season.

Maybe it hasn't been a rocket to the top, but he hasn't sputtered either. Lindee has played well and has even gritted out a few come-from-behind victories that he so often lost in the past.

The change was evident to Coach Steve Clark even before the school year began.

"Cameran had what I call junior-itis coming out of high school," Clark said. "A lot of guys are ranked high in the juniors and start thinking, 'I should beat this guy because I've always been better than him.' But those guys improve.

"When I told him that he was going to be the captain at the banquet last year, I think Cameran realized that this was now or never."

Lindee not only improved his game, but also took a stronger leadership role.

"I had some bad practices in the fall," Lindee said. "We have a young team, with a lot of freshmen. It could have given them the idea, 'Cameran is screwing around, so I can too.' I couldn't give them the excuse."

Lindee has struggled at times this year. He had a poor fall and was separated from doubles partner Steve Tallakson. The two were 18-5 last season and were named first-team All-Big West Conference.

But Lindee didn't crumble. Instead, he worked harder and helped others.

"I took some of the freshmen aside a bunch of times," said Lindee, who was 12-19 as a singles player last season. "I said, 'Look at the career I had. I was hopping in the juniors, like you, and look how I turned out.' I haven't had the worst career, but I should have expected more out of myself. I had to tell them not to do what I did."

He backed up those words. In the Anteaters' third match, Lindee was down against California's Nathan Jackman. At that point, Irvine assistant coach Dick Bohrnstedt tried to bolster Lindee's confidence.

Said Lindee: "He said, 'Hey, you're still in this match.' I said, 'Coach, I'm going to win this match.' He looked at me as if, 'I can't believe Cameran just said that.' "

Lindee ended up winning. He continued to win those matches. Lindee faced six match points in a singles match against Nebraska and came back to win. He faced two match points last week against Loyola Marymount and won.

"I used to lose those matches all the time," Lindee said. "I wasn't patient. My name was kind of synonymous with making stupid shots."

*

The Anteaters face Washington Friday at Pepperdine in the first round of the NCAA Region VIII championships. The teams played earlier this season, with Washington pulling out a 4-3 victory. The match was decided when Nick Williams beat Thomas Bohun in a three-set tiebreaker.

*

Willie Ruiz, an assistant coach for the men's soccer team, was a first-round pick by the Arizona Sandsharks in the Continental Indoor Soccer League's draft last week. Ruiz, an Anteater assistant the past two seasons, played at Cal Lutheran from 1989-93. He was an NCAA Division II All-American in 1993.

*

Skye Green broke her school record in the 400-meter hurdles for the third time this season, posting a time of 58.42 seconds to finish second at the Steve Scott Invitational Saturday. But her most impressive performance came in the 1,600 relay.

Green and teammate Popi Edwards erased Long Beach State's 50-meter lead. Edwards cut the lead in half and Green made up the rest, winning at the finish line.

"Long Beach kind of jumped us by using their best runner second," Coach Vince O'Boyle said. "That was what opened up their lead.

"Popi really caught up to the pack of the runners, other than Long Beach. You could tell that gave Skye a lot momentum seeing that. Popi ran a 55 [seconds] and Skye 54. Those are moving splits."

Anteater Notes

Basketball player Leticia Oseguera and swimmer Gwen Yoshizumi have been selected to attend the NCAA Leadership Foundation Conference May 27-30. . . . Terry Stupy, a former UCI baseball player, was named to the NCAA Division II 30th anniversary team. Stupy was a catcher on the Anteaters' national championship teams in 1973 and '74. . . . Golfer Mike Lawrence was named second-team All-Big West Conference.

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Coming Attractions

Here is a look at key upcoming events for UC Irvine.

* Men's tennis faces Washington at 9 a.m. Friday at Pepperdine in the first round of the NCAA Region VIII championships. The winner faces UC Santa Barbara at 9 a.m. Saturday.

* Men's and women's track and field compete in the Occidental Invitation at Occidental College Saturday beginning at 3 p.m.

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