2016 Nationals Recap: GGPTC Women’s 3.5 team

By Akash Zaveri, captain

Our team was in a flight with three other teams -- Southwest, Missouri Valley, and Eastern.  Overall, there are four similar flights with the top team from each flight advancing to the semis on Sunday.

We played Southwest (team from Albuquerque, NM) on Friday afternoon and as expected, it was a very tough match.  We managed to pull out a 3-2 victory, with two matches going to super-tiebreakers.  The first match is always tough to go through and I was impressed to see the ladies compete the way they did in the heat.  

USTA League Championships, Mobile, Alabama. Photograph by Darren Carroll.

We had two matches on Saturday.  The first one was against Missouri Valley (St. Louis, MO) at 9 am.  We managed to win 4-1.  However, there were a couple of very tight matches that could have gone either way.  Our last match in the flight was against Eastern (Long Island, NY), which was another unbeaten team.  The match was for a spot in the semis on Sunday.  As expected, the matches were a battle.  All matches were extremely close and we barely managed to fight our way to a 3-2 victory.  I was really proud of the way our players played.  They had some extremely good doubles players and were ahead against our dubs lines at various points in the matches, but our ladies just never gave up and kept competing.  Similar for our singles players, especially Juliana Fitts.  This was her third straight singles match and she kept getting better with each match.  The team was delighted to make it to top 4 and I couldn't have been happier!

There is a players’ party organized by USTA on Saturday night and this was a great way for teams to end the season.  They had a buffet, drinks, DJ/dancing, raffles, and photo booths with props for the players! The team had a great time hanging out together and did some serious footwork on the dance floor :). 

The semis start at 7:30 am on Sunday and so we had a super early start.  We played an extremely good team from the Southern section (from Alabama) in the semis.  We lost 1-4 to a definitely better team.  It was heartening to see how well our ladies competed again. All of their players were very nice and fun to play against as well (true for most of the weekend).

When a team has a good season and wins most of the matches, it is always interesting to see how they react when they eventually lose.  The team was in great spirits though and kept cheering on our final line in the super-tiebreaker to get that one line after being 0-4 down.  They all acknowledged how lucky they were to compete at this stage against some top players in the nation.  There is a 3rd/4th place match held after the semis and we played New England team at around 11 am. Following some close matches, we managed to beat them 3-2 to clinch the third spot for NorCal.  Some of us were also able to witness some amazing finals matches between Southern and Pacific Northwest (eventual winner).  Those two teams were deserving finalists and played some extremely good tennis. 

We witnessed multiple matches from various teams and were amazed to see such a high level of tennis, especially in singles.  We consider ourselves very fortunate to be able to represent NorCal at this stage and be extremely competitive against these top teams, especially with the right attitude. Multiple opponents from other teams told our players that they were among the nicest to play against.  I hope we did a good job at representing NorCal.  The team was a bit sad that our amazing season had finally ended, but I do believe they will have more weekends like the one they just had.  They are a special group indeed and I feel very luck to be a part of the group. 

The players:

  • Kelly Bennett
  • Karen Billeci
  • Christine Boyle
  • Juliana Fitts
  • Kinsey Hart
  • Annabel Kleess
  • Kendall Laidlaw
  • Alison Leung
  • Andrea Leung
  • Jenny Lim
  • Kirim Matsuura
  • O'Kelly, Patti
  • Silke Roedder
  • Kate Stuckman
  • Sarah Tomita
  • Mari Uchida
  • Carol Yang