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Lady in Charge: Eiermann shapes up Southern squad

November 1, 2014 02:56 PM
Captain Lois Eiermann welcomed the challenge of leading a men's team, and the work paid off handsomely with a trip to Nationals.
By J. Fred Sidhu, special to USTA.com
 
Lois Eiermann had captained two USTA Southern women’s teams to USTA League Nationals in the past two years and had fun doing so. Yet as a small business owner – Eiermann heads up a hair salon, "Hair on Earth" in Mandeville, La., roughly 35 miles north of New Orleans – juggling the captain leadership duties in her professional life have always been a challenge.
 
In 2014, she wanted to take a break.
 
All that changed when Eiermann's husband, Tom, and his Adult 55 & Over 6.0 teammates at the Stone Creek Club and Spa in Covington, La., came calling. In need of a team captain, the men had seen the success she enjoyed with her women’s teams and persuaded her to come on board.
 
“They said, ‘You brought a team to Nationals and we want to go to Nationals,’” said Eiermann.
 
Initially, Eiermann had doubts about her team’s ability to make it all the way to the National Championships in Surprise, Ariz.. But the team has indeed arrived. “A lot of times, teams have players that have played together for a long time and these guys were not that kind of group,” she said.
 
The 52-year-old who has been involved in USTA League for 12 years, admitted that being the captain of a men’s USTA League team this season provided some truly tough calls. She mixed and matched up her players into new doubles pairings. Even though some were apprehensive about the lineups, the tinkering yielded better results.
 
After winning its league, the team advanced to the Louisiana State Tournament last April in Lake Charles, La. In windy conditions, with gusts up to 30 miles per hour, the squad came through to advance to the Southern Sectionals with a spirited comeback win in the deciding match.
 
At each step on the road to Nationals and the Surprise Tennis & Racquet Complex, Eiermann continued to learn and become more familiar with her team and which combinations would work best.
 
She has already had one challenge in leading a men's squad at 2014 Nationals – more of a laugh than a point of concern. When her team was called for its first match on Friday morning, one of her players went missing. She went looking for him and, as it turned out, the player was in a place she doesn’t have access to – the men’s locker room.
 
It was a rare moment this season in which Eiermann couldn’t put one of her players in the right place at the right time.
 
“These guys are great,” said Eiermann. “They have definitely gotten better every time [they play]. I’ve learned more about what they needed, which was to find partners to mesh with. That was the key."
 
“I really didn’t think they had the team to do it, but they proved me wrong,” she added. “Everybody has had their chance to shine. They’re all fighters, they fight hard. … It would mean a lot for all of these guys [to win.]”
 

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