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Teams Of The Week, Oct. 16-18

September 29, 2009 10:50 AM

Here's a report from three of the Southern teams competing for a USTA League National Championship. They will be playing Oct. 16-18.

Heart of the Delta Racquet Club
Senior Men’s 4.0
Belzoni, Mississippi
National Championship: Oct. 16-18, Indian Wells, Calif.

By Captain Huey Townsend

 Mississippi Senior Men 4.0 2009 Section Champions
In a town of 2,663, the Senior 4.0 Men of Belzoni, Miss., had a problem:  there were only three Senior 4.0 Men’s tennis players in town.  They knew they wanted to play in the Mississippi Delta USTA tennis league, but they had to find more players.  They contacted  virtually every senior 4.0 man within a 25-mile radius – all of whom were from towns almost as small and some even smaller than Belzoni – and they were able to field a pretty good team.

The guys can be found on the courts every weekday afternoon except Friday at 5:15, Saturday morning at 8:30, and Sunday afternoon at 1:30.  There is always a game at these times.  To be in the game, one simply calls the fellow at “tennis central” and he puts his name on the tennis list working it to groups of four.  Since there is no tennis pro within the 25 mile radius, all practice is simply play – no drills for these guys!

There are some really good cooks on the team, so the guys enjoy getting together for food, fun and fellowship, too.  One of the team members recently hosted a lovely celebration party at his new lake house.  All the members of the team and their wives were there for a fun-filled evening with all the conversation being tennis, tennis and more tennis.  The team and their wives are looking forward to the trip to sunny California where they plan to put the Mississippi Delta on the tennis map, as well as take in the sights of the area and certainly try the local cuisine.      

 North Carolina Women's 3.5 2009 Section Champions
Hanna Honeys
3.5 Women
Lake Norman, N.C.
National Championship: Oct. 16-18, Tucson, Ariz.

By Captain Denise Hanna

The team is diligently preparing for the National Championship.  Besides playing tennis several times a week, most of them participate in weekly drills.  Captain Denise Hanna and Co-captain Jan Rupert spend hours studying the competition.  They saw the pay off for their efforts at both State and Section Championships.  From the beginning, their team was all about belief.  Believe was their team’s motto and it got them through rain outs, snow outs, close wins and close losses.  Having no use for drama or tears, they simply stayed the course, dug deep and consistently believed in their team’s talent and will to win.  And in those rare cases when the team didn’t win, they chose dancing over tears - believing in Hanna’s maxim: “There’s no crying in tennis.”

To celebrate their win at the Section Championship, Hanna hosted a team party.  Doubles player Gail Vaughn was awarded the MVP of States for stepping up to play singles in the semi-finals and finals.  The team already knew they had won the State Championship, so their overzealous cheering was more of a distraction than a help and she lost the third set tiebreak in the finals.  Emma Butler who remains undefeated since the season began was awarded the MVP of the Section Championship for digging deep and getting the deciding win numerous times.  The team is looking forward to spending time together in Tucson and creating wonderful memories that will last a lifetime.

 Georgia Senior Women's 4.0 2009 Section Champions
Senior 4.0 Women
Athens, Ga.
National Championship: Oct. 16-18, Indian Wells, Calif.

By Captain Dianne Bahnsen

Our invitation to sections was provide through a wildcard. However, prior to start of the Section Championship, one of our No.1 doubles players suffered a knee injury two weeks before the tournament and could not participate.  All of our players stepped up to the challenge, however, and competed well at the tournament in Birmingham, winning all but one of the round-robin matches.  At the end of the tournament, we had clinched the title against a very tough Louisiana team by losing one less set.
 
To prepare for the National Championship, we have played weekly matches against some very good 4.0 and 4.5 players in the Athens area.  The competition has allowed the opportunity for our game and strategy to improve.  Also, we have sold raffle tickets (for a two-night stay at the Ritz Carlton at Lake Oconee) to help defray the cost of our trip to California.  This has excited our supporters and has been a lot of fun for us, too.  We are looking forward to the National Championship in Indian Wells; we're hoping to also get in a little golf and a little sightseeing while we're there!

 

 

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