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Awards & Achievements, October 2012

October 13, 2012 09:33 AM
Mackenzie Soldan
Grace Min Serves in the First Round of the Rock Hill Rocks Open
Natalie Pluskota
Jeannie Peabody, on left, and Dr. Jane Phillips Roy.
Britanna Cup winners, left to right: Jimmy Parker, captain Armistead Neely, Brian Cheney and Richard Johnson.
Southern players and organizations are constantly making their mark in the world of tennis. Here's a list of recent awards, achievements and news in October 2012.

University of Alabama’s Soldan Battles, Takes Tier I Singles At Collegiate Wheelchair Championships

Mackenzie Soldan originally from Louisville, Ky., but representing the University of Alabama, toughed out a tight, three-set match 4-6, 7-5, 10-4 over University of Arizona’s Pedro Rocha to take the Tier I singles title at the National Collegiate Wheelchair Championships. Facing stiff competition from some of the best collegiate players from around the country, Soldan relied on her experience as a former top-ranked U.S. junior player and a Paralympian at the 2012 Paralympic Games in London to take the title home for the University of Alabama, winning the round-robin by going 2-1 and taking the most sets from her opponents.


In addition to Soldan’s success, Alabama teammate Karolina Lingyte of Lithuania also had a solid performance, making the finals of the Tier II Singles group before losing to University of Arizona’s Kate Stuteville, 6-4, 6-4. Soldan and Lingyte enjoyed home-state advantage throughout the mixed draw, round-robin tournament, as it was played over three days at the Copeland-Cox Tennis Center in Mobile, Alabama. Soldan and Lingyte are also teammates on the University of Alabama’s top-ranked women’s wheelchair basketball team. For more information on the National Collegiate Wheelchair Championships, visit their website here.

Southern Players Grace Min and Natalie Pluskota Make Strong Showings At The Rock Hill Rocks Open
Seventh-seeded Southern player Grace Min of Norcross, Ga. reached the semifinals of the Rock Hill Rocks Open in Rock Hill, S.C.,before falling to in-form Canadian player Sharon Fichman, who made her second final in as many weeks, in two nail-biting sets 7-6(5), 7-6(5), . Min could hardly be disappointed, having won three matches, including an upset over second-seeded Romanian Edina Gallovits-Hall on her way to the semis. Notably, Min's semifinal will add to her ranking, which has soared to No. 184 in the world, over 150 spots higher than when she started the year.
While Min made the semifinals, Natalie Pluskota took home the hardware for USTA Southern, as the former University of Tennessee standout teamed up with former Arizona State player Jacqueline Cako to take the title 6-3, 6-2 over fellow Americans Chieh-Yu Hsu and Chi Chi Scholl. Pluskota also teamed with Cako to make the finals of the Vancouver Challenger back in July.
Peabody speaks at North American Federation of Adapted Physical Activity conference
Dr. Jane Phillips Roy, an Associate Professor of Exercise Physiology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, collaborated with Jeanie Peabody (pictured on left), a member of the USTA Wheelchair Tennis Committee, to present "Wheelchair Tennis: Starting a Program in Your Community" at the North American Federation of Adapted Physical Activity (NAFAPA) Conference in Birmingham, Ala. Roy is a native of Nottingham, England and played tennis on scholarship at the University of Alabama. She is a member of the 2012 USTA over 45 Southern Section Intersectional and Alabama Senior Cup teams. Peabody is a recipient of many honors and awards for her outstanding work in wheelchair tennis, including the Brad Parks Award.
Neely captains Britannia Cup champs
Armistead Neely, Atlanta, Ga., captained the team of Brian Cheney, Chandler, Ariz., Jimmy Parker, Santa Fe, N.M., and Richard Johnson, Ballwin, Mo. to finish first in the Britannia Cup tennis competition. The tournament was held in Umaga, Croatia.
Playing on the red clay against Spain in the finals, Brian Cheney lost to world #1 Men's 65 player Jorge Camina Borda, who displayed great touch especially with his drop shots. The captain of the team, Neely evened the match when his opponent retired at 0-5 with an arm injury. This set the stage for the deciding match. Neely huddled his four players together to decide on the pairings because all four players are excellent doubles players. He finally selected Cheney and Richard Johnson to play against the Spanish team of Borda and Jairo Velasco a former Davis Cup player. The first point set the tone of the match….five lobs from the Spaniards and five overhead replies by the Americans. The Spanish won the first set 3-6, but as the sun moved the American team found their rhythm and won a closely contested second set. The third set was even tighter as Velasco and Borda battled back from 3-5 to even the score at 5 all. It was here that Cheney and Johnson re-asserted themselves and won the final two games and thus the gold medal for the American team.
The ITF Seniors/Super-Seniors World Team Championships is the most coveted team event on the ITF Seniors circuit. Since its inception, the number of competitors attracted to this event has increased annually. The Seniors World Championships is divided into two groups, Seniors for the 35-55 and over and Super-Seniors for the 60-80 and over.



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