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High School Roundup : Coach, Players Do the Expected as La Jolla Wins 2-A Tennis : Vikings’ 21st Team Championship Comes at the Expense of Bishop’s in 5-2 Section Final Victory

Becoming coach of La Jolla High’s boys’ tennis team is like facing a fat lob:

There is a good chance you will smash it for a winner, but fail and you seem an oaf.

“Yes, there was a lot of pressure to win CIF--we were expected to win,” said first-year coach Bob Titzer, whose players did win the CIF San Diego Section 2-A title Thursday by beating Bishop’s, 5-2, at Morley Field.

La Jolla, which won three consecutive titles in the 1960s and 14 in a row starting in 1970, now has 21 titles. Whether this one was in the bag depends on whom you ask.

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"(Winning the title) wasn’t expected so much before the start of the season,” Titzer said. “But when you beat Mt. Carmel, Torrey Pines, Poway, Vista, Bonita Vista--the best 3-A teams--we believed.”

Said senior Chad Morse: “We had no doubt we were going to win this year. After we beat Torrey Pines and Poway, how could we lose to a 2-A school?”

For a while, Bishop’s, an Episcopal school with 150 boys in grades 9-12, removed certainty from the outcome.

In the teams’ previous two meetings, only Tom Phanco, ranked 24th nationally among 18-year-olds last year, won as Bishop’s lost each time, 6-1.

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Thursday, Phanco (26-2) beat Morse, 6-3, 6-0. Later, Mark Sottosanti and Graham Guess dealt La Jolla’s David Monk and Kevin Mosher a 6-1, 6-3 loss--their first of the season. But La Jolla’s No. 1 team of Dan McKenzie and Dennis Kim ensured the victory by winning the most-watched match of the day, 6-3, 6-4, against Gil Boton and Chris Hickson.

This was not just another Viking title. Titzer made changes. For the first time, players were not allowed to skip practice in order to work with a private coach. Also, conditioning was stepped up.

The players complained little, said Titzer, a former player at Southern Indiana University who is pursuing a master’s degree in physical education at San Diego State.

“He pushes us more than other coaches,” said Kim. “He is the best.”

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The schools last met for a section title in 1984; that year, each team won 14 sets, but La Jolla won the title by virtue of its 103-100 advantage in games.

“At least this time we played better,” said Bill Scott, Bishop’s 11-year coach. “We’re a 1-A school in every other sport. We’d like to be 3-A in tennis. That way, we wouldn’t have to play La Jolla in the finals.”

Bishop’s finished 16-5. La Jolla, which lost only to Beverly Hills, finished 20-1.


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