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BOYS' TENNIS

Friars Making Themselves, Coach Look Good

April 17, 2001|DAVE McKIBBEN

Before the boys' tennis season began, Servite High Coach Dick Fumanti went out on a limb and proclaimed this would be his best team ever.

Apparently Fumanti knew what he was talking about.

The Friars are two victories away from completing their first undefeated regular season and a win away from clinching their sixth league title in seven years and their first Serra League title.

There are more milestones. Servite is ranked first in a Southern Section poll (Division IV) for the first time and the Friars' No. 3 Orange County ranking is their highest ever.

Servite had some good teams from 1995-98, when it had a great player in Ryan Moore, a Southern Section individual singles champion in 1997 and now a junior at USC. But Moore didn't have much help in those days, so the furthest Servite advanced was the Division IV quarterfinals, twice. In 1999, Servite reached the semifinals before losing to San Marino, 12-6.

Fumanti said the 1999 team doesn't compare to this year's squad.

"We even have a pretty good No. 3 doubles team," Fumanti said. "We've never had anything close to this much depth."

The Friars have so much depth that they were able to knock off previously undefeated and third-ranked Troy two weeks ago, 10-8. The loss was Troy's first in the regular season since 1999.

Leading the way was Servite junior Patrick Buchanan, who defeated previously unbeaten Jeff Das, 6-4, and raised his record to 38-0. Over three years, Buchanan is an amazing 144-3 in dual-match sets.

"He's not big, but he is strong and he has a lot more weapons now," Fumanti said. "He is putting a lot more pace on the ball and his serve is coming together."

Buchanan, ranked in the top 25 nationally in the boys' 16s, is competing this week at the Easter Bowl in Palm Springs. That's also where Servite's No. 2 singles player, Jonathan Sanchez, is this week. Sanchez, one of three talented freshmen in the starting nine, is 42-2, his only losses coming to Das and Sergiu Modoc of El Dorado.

Fumanti said Moore might have had a little to do with Sanchez coming to Servite from the Fullerton area.

"Sanchez knows the Moores well," Fumanti said. "They told them Ryan had a pretty pleasurable experience, so that helped. We don't recruit. We're just lucky, I guess."

Fumanti also feels lucky to have freshmen Tyrone Wang at No. 2 doubles and Steven Buchanan, Patrick's younger brother, at No. 3 doubles. Servite's No. 1 doubles team of seniors Richard Mauban and Marcus Martinez hasn't been so lucky. They are 37-6, but five of the defeats have come in tiebreakers and the other was a 7-5 loss.

Fumanti said Martinez and Mauban are often facing a player from an opponent's singles lineup. "We've got so much strength at singles, teams are stacking in doubles against us," Fumanti said. "It's smart. I would do the same thing."

Servite's doubles teams and singles players were supposed to receive their strongest test Monday against second-ranked Los Alamitos. But a scheduling change in the Serra League prevented Servite from playing a nonleague match that day. Neither team was able to arrange an alternate date. So for the first time in 10 years, Servite will not play Los Alamitos.

"The kids would have liked to play it," Fumanti said. "This is the first time we can match them. They're pretty strong, but I think we're very close."

LOOKING AHEAD

The rained-out match between Corona del Mar and University will be made up Monday. The match, which will be played at University at 3:15 p.m., will likely decide the Pacific Coast League title.

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If you have an item or idea for the boys' tennis report, you can fax us at (714) 966-5663 or e-mail us at david.mckibben@latimes.com

(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX / INFOGRAPHIC)

BOYS' TENNIS TOP 10

Orange County Sportswriters' Poll

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Pos. School League Rec 1. Corona del Mar (1) Pacific Coast 15-0 2. Los Alamitos (2) Sunset 13-2 3. Servite (3) Serra 16-0 4. Woodbridge (4) Sea View 13-4 5. Troy (5) Freeway 13-2 6. Capistrano Valley (6) South Coast 10-0 7. Dana Hills (7) South Coast 8-4 8. University (8) Pacific Coast 12-6 9. Canyon (9) Century 10-3 10. Sunny Hills (10) Freeway 9-4

*--*

Others: Los Amigos (14-1), Santa Margarita (10-5), Mater Dei (14-3), Esperanza (12-2).

Last week's rankings in parentheses

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