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VALLEY/VENTURA COUNTY SPORTS | HIGH SCHOOL TENNIS PREVIEW

It Figures to Be Hall of Fame Year

March 19, 1998|PAIGE A. LEECH | TIMES STAFF WRITER

The boys' tennis team at Campbell Hall High is getting down to business this season.

"Unfinished business," said Coach Steve Kuechel, who is in his 15th season at Campbell Hall.

The Vikings return all nine players from a team that won 20 consecutive matches before losing to perennial powerhouse San Marino, 13-5, in the Southern Section Division IV final.

This year, Kuechel expects a repeat performance, with one distinct difference: a season that ends with the school's first section championship.

"It's a nice feeling knowing that we have a chance to win all of our matches again," said Kuechel, whose squad is 7-0.

"The kids really want to get back [to the final] again. Realistically, if we play our best match, we have a good shot at [the title]."

The Vikings rely on No. 1 singles player Adam Zunder, a sophomore who was 53-7 last season and ranked No. 19 among 16-year-olds in Southern California, and two excellent doubles teams.

"The key for us is our doubles," Kuechel said. "We are very strong there."

The No. 1 doubles team of Josh Glass and James Chun was 62-2 last season and hopes to record 100 victories for their career this season.

To strengthen his team, Kuechel teamed Justin Castillo, a No. 3 doubles player last year, with Nick Nadjarian.

"We've got two No. 1 doubles teams now," Kuechel said.

Campbell Hall, coming off its finest season under Kuechel, has beaten Hart, 14-4, and Calabasas, 13-5.

The Vikings were perennial also-rans before last season and couldn't beat Delphic League-rival Brentwood for 14 years.

"We would always lose to Brentwood [in league play] and finish second, and we would always lose in the second round of playoffs," Kuechel said.

Campbell Hall broke the spell last season with impressive victories over Calabasas and Santa Ynez, and beat Brentwood three times.

"Before, we couldn't get a win over a big team," Kuechel said. "Now all the kids believe we're going to win and they expect to win.

"We [exceeded] our expectations last year. This was supposed to be the year and now this is the year."

Other teams to watch:

Harvard-Westlake (Mission League)--The only team in the region to win a section title last season is poised to make another run.

First-year Coach Marty Klein says the team is stronger than last year.

The defending Division III champions did not lose a set in the first two rounds of the playoffs and defeated Westlake, 10-8, in the final.

Westlake (Marmonte)--All nine players return from a group that won 22 consecutive matches before losing to Harvard-Westlake in the Division III final.

The Warriors, who have moved to Division II, are loaded. Senior Darren Joe, The Times' regional player of the year, was 49-2 last season, including 23-0 in the Marmonte League.

Calabasas (Frontier)--With all but one player returning, the Coyotes will be tough to beat.

No. 1 Nicholas Weiss and No. 2 Alex Menichini, both ranked in the top 30 in the 16s, anchor a talented and experienced team.

Glendale (Pacific)--Southern Section individual quarterfinalist Ji Chung graduated, but an exceptional group returns for the defending league champion Dynamiters, who won 20 consecutive matches before losing in the Division I quarterfinals to Loyola, 12-6.

Senior Philip Yim, ranked No. 39 in the 18s, was 54-6 last season.

Hoover (Pacific)--The defending league champion doubles team of Michael Khanlarian and Arin Norijanian returns.

Hoover, which was 15-5, again is Glendale's top rival.

Quartz Hill (Golden)--The best players from a 17-3 team return. Quartz Hill was undefeated in league play, paced by Kumar Dharma in singles, and brothers Ankit and Shivam Patel in doubles.

Rio Mesa (Channel)--The Spartans will again challenge Santa Barbara for the league title with Derrick Goldie and Tyrel Carson in doubles and solid singles play.

Granada Hills (Northwest Valley Conference)--Seven players return from a team that won 12 consecutive matches before losing to Palisades in the City Section 3-A Division final.

Chris Yoo, a four-year varsity player who was injured for part of last season, is at No. 1 singles.

(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX / INFOGRAPHIC)

AT A GLANCE

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