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Boys' Tennis: Williams, Kliger instrumental to CdM's success

No. 1 doubles team, undefeated in playoffs, has helped Sea Kings return to Friday's CIF Southern Section Division 1 title match.

May 16, 2013|By Matt Szabo
  • Corona del Mar's No. 1 doubles team Josh Kliger, left, and Carson Williams will play University in the CIF Southern Section Division 1 championship Friday.
Corona del Mar's No. 1 doubles team Josh Kliger,… (SCOTT SMELTZER,…)

The trip from Corona del Mar High to Ojai's Libbey Park is only about 124 miles. If you don't hit too much traffic, you can get there in about two hours.

CdM juniors Carson Williams and Josh Kliger were two tennis players who didn't mind making that trip three weeks ago for the 113th annual Ojai Tennis Tournament.

Williams and Kliger had a strong tournament, getting to the quarterfinals of the CIF Doubles division at "The Ojai." They enjoyed their down time as well, watching a few of the Pac-12 men's tennis matches in town.

After losing the quarterfinal match, a tough three-setter to the eventual finalists from San Marino, CdM Coach Jamie Gresh didn't allow his top doubles team to fret. He challenged Williams and Kliger to win the tournament next year.

"I think it's a feasible goal if they're playing well," Gresh said. "I know it's a long way away, but as an individual thing, hearing that from your coach kind of gives you the confidence. They know I'm behind them, and that's what I see with their ability as a team. They have such a good lefty-righty combo, and they complement each other nicely."

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They came back from Ojai playing inspired tennis. Williams and Kliger are huge reasons why No. 2-seeded Corona del Mar is back in the CIF Southern Section Division 1 title match, where the Sea Kings will play top-seeded defending champion University at 11:30 a.m. Friday at The Claremont Club.

They are 39-4 overall this season, including a perfect 11-0 in the playoffs. Their styles mesh together well for CdM, with Kliger's big lefty serve and power game and Williams' solid overall play.

"Ojai was definitely a turning point for us," Williams said. "We were doing average, but we weren't really as into it. For me, at least, Ojai made me enjoy tennis a lot more and it just gave me a lot more confidence."

Last year Williams mostly played singles, with Kliger, a transfer from Marina High, in doubles. They played a little bit together as a doubles team, but didn't really click.

Both could have played singles this year, but with the addition of freshman Bjorn Hoffmann, CdM has a very solid singles lineup also featuring senior Alec Adamson and sophomore Chaz Downing.

CdM's Paul Kacik, who has also played doubles this year with fellow senior Andrew Nguyen, recognizes the greatness of Williams and Kliger. He has seen it before at CdM.

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