Coach Lewis Forrest walks from court to court during each Woodbridge girls tennis match, watching and concentrating on the games at hand. The six-year coach occasionally talks aloud, to himself or through the fence to a player. He is anxious, concerned, even a little nervous, but quiet, so quiet. An observer would never believe he is the ogre he says he is.

Team spirit is evident in his appearance -- a green Woodbridge hat, green and gold shoelaces, green sweatpants and a gold sweatshirt identifying him as the 'Coach'. The slogan "NO MORE MR. NICE GUY" on the back of the sweatshirt refers to his hard knocks attitude.

"The girls gave me this {shirt} three years ago. That's when I was really mean," he says half-kiddingly. "I've mellowed since then."

Some of the players may not agree. At practice he works his team hard and long. And he's tough. A practice may last up to three hours, complete with running and conditioning, short serving and volleying drills, stroke practice and scrimmage matches. He demands respect and enforces discipline, and year after year he has a winning team with a positive attitude.

The Vikings finished the regular season 12-0, (they are 30-1 in two seasons) with the top four players having near perfect records. Lisa Arakaki's 12-1 record dominated the number one position all season and gave her the Commonwealth District singles title. She advances to the Northwestern Regional Tournament next week in Roanoke. Alison Bradley, who challenged and won the number two position three weeks ago, is undefeated, as are number three Alison Cackowski and number four Kerri Mullen. Arakaki and Cackowski have won every match as the top doubles team, including the district championship to advance to regionals.

"I think of these girls as my daughters. I don't let them call me by my first name. They don't talk back," said Forrest. "I come from the old school, I command good manners and politeness. They know what I will tolerate."

Kris Richards, a freshman who joined the team late in the season after moving from Hawaii, quickly learned what was expected of her. She described the benefits of difficult practices and demanding coaching.

"Coach works us real hard. It's the challenge that keeps everyone on the team. We practice, practice, practice. He gets angry and he yells sometimes but he's only saying it because he cares.

"I've improved all my strokes, I've learned a lot about sportsmanship. I like being on a team and having people support me."

Support is the most obvious characteristic among the Vikings and has been a key aspect for their continuous success.

For each of the last six years Woodbridge and Gar-Field have fought for the Commonwealth District championship, except in 1983 when Potomac won. That year Woodbridge and Gar-Field tied for second. They usually face each other in the last regular season match, a preview of the district final.

"We love to beat each other. There is nobody I'd rather beat than Lewis," exclaimed Gar-Field Coach Nancy White. "It's a fierce rivalry but in a positive respect."

Although Woodbridge defeated the Indians, 8-1, last week, that match was only "Act I, Scene I" according to Forrest. The only sure thing is that Woodbridge will host the first district playoff match. Winners of the semifinal matches (Woodbridge vs. Stonewall Jackson; Gar-Field vs. Potomac) play today for the championship.

Forrest and White are birds of a feather when it comes to winning and coaching. As rivals they work all year for the chance to beat each other. But off the court the two veteran coaches have the same goals. "If I know that Nancy has a great team I'm not going to sit {around}. I'm going to work my team to be great too," Forrest said. "But the first thing I stress is academics. That's the most important thing. This {tennis} is just a microcosm of life, it's got its ups and downs. You learn to deal with it like you deal with life."

White agrees. "You have to identify the girls that are truly interested. Then you nurture them, develop them, and drive them like a slave driver. We encourage them and make sure they keep their grades up. Communication is the key."

That communication is what improved the quality of competition in Prince William County in the past few years. After many poor showings in the Northwestern Regional tournaments, there was a county-wide effort to develop girls tennis, according to White. "A few years ago we decided we weren't going to be weak anymore. We worked the girls. The coaching has gotten better. We asked the {Commonwealth District} coaches to discuss teaching techniques. "Every year we get a little stronger."

As a result Woodbridge made it to the regional team finals last year before losing to E.C. Glass of Lynchburg, 8-1. Gar-Field's doubles team of Nah Le and Heather Mason won the county's first regional tennis title ever. The Indians' Kathy Hall was the regional singles runner-up.

Forrest is known for his overflowing roster and strong development program. He has been known to choose a freshman over an upperclassman to insure long-range success. "I build with the younger ones, that's where your strength is coming from. I've already prepared my team for next year," he explained. "You have to plant the seed years in advance. You say to them 'look here, you will be these seniors in a few years.' I try to encourage in them to continue to work. I let them see that there is a place for them on the team."

Despite the 23-member squad, Forrest finds time for some individual instruction. He also enlists the help of parents and members of the boys team, which plays in the spring. "When you first get on the court and play he'll come around and tell you what you are doing wrong. He demonstrates it and he'll do it until we {understand}," said Richards, who recently moved from 15th position to 13th. "He shows you over and over. He really knows what he is talking about."

Arakaki, has been familiar with Forrest since she was 12. That is when the 5-foot-2 senior started watching her sisters, Susan and Kathryn, play for him.Up until the Gar-Field matchup, in which she lost to Lisa Ward, 6-2, 6-4, she was undefeated. That loss was avenged Tuesday as Arakaki defeated Ward, 7-5, 6-1 for the district title.

"He {Forrest} helps get us pumped up. He creates a really good team spirit," explained Arakaki, who was the team's number four player last season. "A lot of times you can't depend on talent, you have to be mentally prepared.""He {Forrest} always gets you mentally ready. He works so hard we want to give him back what he gives us," Cackowski said.

The first year is used as practice to work on mental errors, according to freshman Jennifer Bearden. Once confidence starts building, playing form is emphasized.

"Everyone is so encouraging. He {Forrest} boosts you. By my senior year I want to be number two. He tells you if you work hard you can be number one. His attitude helps. Just knowing he's there really helps.