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They Won't Be Flying Like Eagles for a While

March 06, 2001|DAVE McKIBBEN

Doug Williams had been to only one Southern Section final in his 12 years as the boys' tennis coach at Santa Margarita. But Williams was thinking No. 13 was going to be lucky.

The Eagles returned their top three singles players--sophomore Garrett Snyder, junior Robbie Lamour and sophomore Matt Ozurovitch--from last year's team that lost to Woodbridge, 10-8, in the Division III quarterfinals. Williams was so pumped up about his lineup that he scheduled most of the section's perennial tennis powers: University, Woodbridge, Santa Barbara, Palm Springs, Pasadena Poly and Santa Barbara San Marcos.

Now that the season has arrived--and Williams has lost two of those top three players--the schedule appears a little daunting.

Snyder transferred to Corona del Mar the first week of school and Lamour left for Capistrano Valley before the start of the second semester.

"Now, I think we'll just be happy to get into the playoffs," he said. "My thinking is a little readjusted from what it was."

Williams readjusted his preseason goals after Snyder and Lamour refused to adjust to his off-season training regimen. Williams asks his players to participate in a tennis-specific strength and conditioning program, two to three days a week.

"I ask the kids to make a little investment in their fitness, but with enough flexibility not to let their individual games stagnate," Williams said. "My purpose is not to build guys who can bench 300 pounds. I just want the guys to be fit and flexible."

Williams said neither Snyder nor Lamour were interested in his conditioning and weight-training program.

"When it happened, it was a little bit of a shock," Williams said. "But that's their decision and I respect it."

Doug Snyder, Garrett's father, said he respects Williams but contends his son's reason for leaving had nothing to do with an off-season training program.

"Garrett went to school in Newport Beach in the eighth grade and he missed his buddies," said Snyder, who has homes in Coto de Caza and Newport Coast. "The conditioning program had nothing to do with it. My son's a little tougher than that."

Williams said he received a letter from Lamour's father, saying Robbie had a membership to a gym and that he didn't need any extra conditioning.

"The next thing I know Robbie is transferring to Capo," Williams said.

Snyder, ranked 17th in Southern California in the boys' 16s, is playing singles for top-ranked Corona del Mar. Lamour is playing singles at Capistrano Valley.

Williams is moving on, and he is not thinking about changing his philosophy on preparing his players for the season.

"I don't fool myself into thinking I've made these kids better tennis players," he said. "Hopefully, I'll add something to what they do.

"I'm just trying to run a complete program. We don't just roll out the balls before the season starts and see what we've got. I'm trying to run a team in an individual sport and that's a tough concept."

So far, Williams' team appears to be exceeding his scaled-down expectations. The Eagles lost their opener to University, 10-8.


Weather permitting, Corona del Mar meets third-ranked Los Alamitos today at Old Ranch Tennis Club in an early season test for both teams. Also today, defending Division II champion University is hosting defending Division I champion Palos Verdes Peninsula.


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