CdM boys' tennis handles Los Al

CORONA DEL MAR — The coach may be new for the Corona del Mar High boys' tennis team, but the French fry rule is still in effect.

It's a longtime program tradition for the Sea Kings. After a match in which just one player loses sets, that player is required to bring French fries for the whole team to practice the next day.

On Wednesday it was the sophomore transfer from Oregon, Ryan Andrews, who lost twice to visiting Los Alamitos, understandable as the Griffins have a tough singles lineup. CdM parents smiled as they explained the rule to Andrews' mother, Sandra. She was a good sport, also smiling as she soaked in the fast-food fetish that she would be providing for the Sea Kings on Thursday.

Andrews' losses at No. 3 singles were not a negative. CdM Coach Jamie Gresh said Andrews had his best day of the season.

There were simply no obvious flaws in CdM's dominant 16-2 nonleague victory over Los Al in a battle of CIF Southern Section Division 1 powers.

It is still early in the season, but the Sea Kings (6-0), ranked No. 2 in Division 1, perhaps proved that they and three-time defending champion University are the class of section this year. Los Alamitos (6-2) came into the match ranked No. 3 in Division 1.

CdM and University could possibly meet this weekend in the final of the Corona del Mar All-American Invitational Tournament. They definitely will meet Tuesday at CdM, in the Pacific Coast League opener.

"I think we're hitting our stride," Gresh said. "Across the board, we have very good depth. I have a lot of interchangeable parts, with guys being able to play different roles, whether it's singles or doubles."

CdM sophomore Chaz Downing, who typically plays singles, was moved to doubles Wednesday due to a calf injury. But he swept at No. 2 doubles with his partners, freshman Pedro Fernandez and sophomore Tyler Gaede.

Juniors Carson Williams and Josh Kliger remained undefeated at No. 1 doubles, and the No. 3 team of seniors Andrew Nguyen and Paul Kacik also swept.

"Jamie had hyped up this match, so I think the team was really mentally prepared to come in strong," Nguyen said. "We were going to give it 100%. We came out and gave it our best, and it was a good match."

Nguyen and the lefty Kacik have lost just one set this year. It's their second year playing as a doubles team for CdM.

"We played all year last year together, so we've grown together as a doubles team," Kacik said. "Whenever coach puts me with other people, I don't feel the same. Andrew and I connect more as a doubles team. He'll get the shots that I won't get, and he knows what those shots are."

Senior Alec Adamson did not lose a game at No. 1 singles, remaining perfect this year, and freshman Bjorn Hoffmann also swept for the Sea Kings.

Los Al senior Camden Marco and freshman Riley Smith each won a singles set. But Smith came out with a shoulder injury after his 6-4 victory over Andrews in the first round. The Griffins had no substitutes, so they defaulted Smith's final two matches.

The Sea Kings were up, 5-1, after the first round, and swept the second round to clinch the match.

No. 3-seeded Corona del Mar appears poised to make a run in the All-American Tournament, which begins for the host Sea Kings with a match against Jesuit High of Carmichael at 11 a.m. Friday at CdM. And there was talk Wednesday that this year's Sea Kings could be better than the 2012 team that advanced to the championship match for the first time in nine years.

CdM lost talented doubles players like graduates Alex Murray and Zach Williams, while top freshman Henry Gordon moved to Texas. But newcomers like Fernandez, Andrews and Hoffmann have impressed.

"Definitely more depth," Nguyen said. "We're more well-rounded."

The strong start appears to have only aided the Sea Kings' confidence.

The French fries will taste good on Thursday, too.

Twitter: @mjszabo

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