USTA League Presented by Chrysler
3.0 Adult National Championships
Las Vegas, NV
October 12-14, 2007
Sunday, October 14
It was a gorgeous day in Las Vegas, as the Caribbean women and Texas men won their respective titles at the 3.0 USTA Adult League National Championships held at the Darling Family Memorial Tennis Center.
Caribbean (Ponce, Puerto Rico) cruised with a 5-0 victory in the finals over New England (Darien, Conn.), but it was not always that easy for the team from Puerto Rico. The Caribbean women had a remarkable semifinal match against Midwest (Indianapolis, Ind.). The Caribbean team raced out to a quick 2-0 lead after taking a pair of doubles lines. Midwest rallied, taking the remaining doubles line, then squaring the match with a third set tiebreaker win at #2 singles. Caribbean clinched the match with a final set tiebreaker.
New England defeated Missouri Valley (Overland Park, Kan.), 4-1, to reach the finals.
In the third place match, Missouri Valley squeaked out a 3-2 win over Midwest.
The Texas (Plano) men defeated Caribbean (Caduga, P.R.), 3-2, in a hard-fought title match for the championship. Berco Neiman broke a 2-2 tie at the #1 singles line to clinch the victory. This is the second Adult National Championship for captain Bob Bender, who also led his team to the promised land in 2004.
The third place match centered on some true Hawaiian warrior effort. Blaine Murobayashi, overcame a sprained ankle, early in the second set, at the #1 singles line, leading Hawaii (Honolulu) to a 3-2 win over Intermountain (Boise, Idaho). Murobayashi’s injury was so severe; he had to be carried on the shoulders of his teammates around the facility for the awards ceremony after treatment from the on-site trainer.
Texas earned the right to play Caribbean in the finals after Texas defeated Hawaii, 3-2. Texas won the #1 singles and #2 and 3 doubles, before retiring the remaining matches to rest their players for the final. Caribbean cruised past Intermountain, 4-1.
Final day results from the 3.0 USTA Adult League National Championships:
Women’s Semifinals: New England 4, Missouri Valley 1; Caribbean 3, Midwest 2
Women’s Third-Place: Missouri Valley 3, Midwest 2
Women’s Championship: Caribbean 5, New England 0
Men’s Semifinals: Texas 3, Hawaii 2; Caribbean 4, Intermountain 1
Men’s Third-Place: Hawaii 3, Intermountain 2
Men’s Championship: Texas 3, Caribbean 2
|3.0 Women's National Champions: Caribbean (Ponce, PR)|
1st Place Women Caribbean (Ponce, P.R.)
Front row (L-R): Sara Vazquez, Amanda Valez, Wanda Pancorbo, Captain Sonia Lasanta, Linda Araud, Waleska Almodovar, Iris Vazques, Michelle Lasanta, Mayrilee Santiago.
Back row (L-R): Maria del Pons, Sonia Colon, Veronica Velez, Natalia Casals, Alexia Llavona and Lillian Torres.
|3.0 Women's Finalists: New England (Darien, Conn.)|
2nd Place Women New England (Darien, Conn.)
(L-R): Carmine Gregory, Sarah Keating, Sarah Sealy, Brantley King, Sheila Mueller, Capt. Lorraine Barg, Denise Brereton, Michele Gedney, Janelle Hill, Denise Thomas, Molly Massie and Ellen McCue.
|3.0 Women's Third Place: Missouri Valley (Overland Park, Kan.)|
3rd Place Women Missouri Valley (Overland Park, Kan.)
(L-R): Niorn Nicholas, Katy Palmieri, Christine Schwermann, Capt. Mona Palmer, Candace Herman, Cindy Bowling, Amber Heineman, Melinda French.
|3.0 Women's 4th Place: Midwest (Indianapolis, Ind.)|
4th Place Women Midwest (Indianapolis, Ind.)
(L-R): Elizabeth Baxter, Wendy Lloyd, Kerry Spalding, Tracy Gamble, Mary Stanley, Coach Juancho Rodriguez, Capt. Alta Gochnauer, Julie Finch, Tammy Embry, Susan Hill, Jennifer Riegner, Mary Breidenbach.
|3.0 Men's National Champions: Texas (Plano)|
1st Place Men Texas (Plano)
(L-R): Richard Huber, Tony Watanabe, Patrick Jameson, Ulrich Lorscheider, Capt. Robert Bender, R. A. Narayan, Greg Wiley, Berco Neiman, Joseph Hevey, Jr. and Sach Moghe.
|3.0 Men's Finalsts: Caribbean (Cadugas, PR)|
2nd Place Men Caribbean (Cadugas, P.R.)
(L-R): Francisco Sanchez, Joel Diaz Torres, Anibel Vazquez, Hector Rivera, Gerardo Cotto, Juan Agosto, Capt. Israel Leal Acevedo, Javier Flores, Omar Lopez, Edsel Astacio, Arturo Rosario, Guillermo Gomez and coach Carlos Soto.
|3.0 Men's 3rd Place: Hawaii (Honolulu)|
3rd Place Men Hawaii (Honolulu)
(L-R): Bill Kahoonei, Hermann Dombrowski, Richard Ige, Henry Delgado, Capt. Primo Castro, Jr., Blaine Murobayashi, Jerome Laurente, coach Reuben Badayos, John Lokia and Richard Devincente.
|3.0 Men's 4th Place: Intermountain (Boise, Idaho)|
4th Place Men Intermountain (Boise, Idaho)
Front row (L-R): Sunny Mitsri, Vixay Mitsri, Capt. Steve Flora, Richard Nishizaki, Richard Routh, Michael Dawson and Roger Martell. Back row (L-R): Charles Davis, William Jacobs, James Vavrek, Stephen Montamat, Doak Bailey and James Reed.
Saturday, October 13
Who’s Your Grand Daddy?
There must be something in the Clearwater, water. Florida boasts one of the oldest player in the tournament, Arthur T. Easterbrook, 72 and the youngest player, Stephen Frey, 26. The age difference between the two is a whopping 46 years. But don’t take it easy if you play Easterbrook. The 30 year veteran of the game credits tennis with why he is in such terrific shape that allows him to run around with the likes of 26 year old Frey.
|The Youth and Experience of Florida|
Honeymoon in Vegas part 2
|Newlyweds Stephen and Nicole Frey|
Nichole Frey is the perfect wife. After getting married to Florida men’s player Stephen Frey on September 29th, the couple decided to honeymoon in lovely St. Lucia. What Nichole was not expecting was to cut the honeymoon short because Stephen had to fly to Las Vegas to compete in this weekend’s 3.0 tournament. At first she was upset, as anyone would be, but then realized that tennis was a huge part of Stephen’s life and if she had to, cut short the honeymoon, Vegas was a pretty good place to go. The couple celebrated Friday night by dancing the night away at the Piano Bar in New York, New York Hotel and Casino.
Here is what the Frey’s weekend looked like:
Thursday: After a few delays, the couple finally flew out of St. Lucia and landed in Florida at 3:00 a.m. Friday.
Friday: The couple had an 8:00 a.m. flight that landed them in Vegas just in time for Stephens match at 1:15 p.m.. After relaxing in the room for a little, the couple hit the strip for a night of dancing.
Saturday: Nichole, Stephen and the rest of the Florida team arrive at the Darling tennis facility promptly at 9:00 a.m.. Hopefully they get to relax tonight. I need a nap after writing this.
Which Florida men’s player lost the chance to inherit his families marketing business by playing in this weekend’s tournament? His teammate told me that he blew off the marketing conference against his fathers wishes to compete in the doubles match. Not only did he lose the business (we’re hoping he eventually gets it back) but he lost his opening round match yesterday.
Anything for Love
The last 24 hours have been fast and furious, as well as fun, for a couple of players on the men’s team from Northern California.
Curtis Yee and Paul Chan started Friday by playing the #1 doubles line at 7:30 a.m. They started off well, taking the first set, 6-3, but fell in a couple of tiebreakers, 7-6, 1-0 to lose the line.
|Frequent flyers Yee and Chan|
The team was set to play again at 1:30 p.m., but these two weren’t going to make it. Yee and Chan headed straight to the airport in an attempt to make the wedding of their two close friends, Zoe Ng and John Padilla, back in San Francisco.
Ng was actually supposed to be on the courts here in Las Vegas, as the undefeated #1 singles player for the Northern California women, but had already scheduled her wedding before the team qualified. Padilla is a successful 3.5 player.
Yee and Chan were scheduled to leave Las Vegas around 1 p.m., but due to weather constraints in the Bay Area, their flights were delayed. Yee found himself in a pickle, as his flight was pushed back to 4:00 p.m., meaning he would likely miss the 5 p.m. nuptials. He convinced the ticket agent into letting him on a plane to Oakland that left a little earlier.
After landing in Oakland, Yee took BART (Bay Area Rapid Transport) home to San Francisco, where he quickly showered and changed before driving to the wedding, making it just in time.
Chan’s flight landed at 4 p.m., but he was unable to make it to the wedding on time. He arrived just after the ceremony, but was able to enjoy the reception and dinner.
Following dinner, Yee’s night was just about to begin. He raced to the airport in an attempt to catch his 10:20 p.m. flight, but didn’t get to short term parking until 10:05. He dumped his car and hustled into the terminal to find that his flight back to Las Vegas had been delayed an hour. He amazingly made his flight and arrived in Las Vegas at 1:30 a.m. with enough to catch a few hours of sleep before he had to pick up Chan, who arrived at 7:30 a.m.
By 10 a.m. Saturday, the pair was back on the court again, playing #2 doubles. If neither Yee and Chan win again, its not a total loss as they both racked up tons of frequent flier miles.
More Bay Area Wedding Bells
Love really is in the air in the Bay Area. Karen Chao and Paul Willard, who play on the women’s and men’s teams here, respectively here, were married a few weeks ago and are taking a pre honeymoon here in beautiful Las Vegas where they will explore the strip, see a show and enjoy some great food. You can read more on them at the NorCal website.
Gift Giving Time of Year
A favorite among the attendees of the National Championship Series is the section gift swap. Many sections bring gift for their opponents.
The Southern California men tried to gain the upper edge of their Hawaiian opponents by giving them a bottle of champagne. The Hawaiians returned the favor by giving the teams they played conch shell necklaces.
On the ladies side, Southern California showed off their Hollywood style by giving out George Clooney pins, so L.A. Eastern and Caribbean women tried to get the party started by giving out “I Love NY shot glasses” and Caribbean rum, respectively. The Middle states tried to win over opponents and us media guys by giving us all Pennsylvania pins. We appreciate the gesture.
The most creative gift was by the Northern women who hale from Minnesota. They handed out a zip lock bag filled with a local favorite candy bar called “the salted nut roll” and a homemade first-aid kit that included mints, a quarter, hair pins, Advil, a band-aid and Pepto-Bismol for their opponents upset stomachs and bruised egos.
|El Paso shows off their fancy gift bags|
Practice Makes Perfect
After one day of play, there were only two teams who go into today’s matches with perfect 10- 0 records. They are the New England women and Texas Men. In a close but no cigar department, the Hawaiian men went 9-1 with the one loser being voted off the Island. Aloha!
|Alta Gochnauer tries to follow in her daughter's footsteps and win a title this week|
Hopefully, there is a direct flight from Indianapolis, Ind., to Las Vegas, as teams from Indianapolis (Midwest Section) has sent its 3.5 and 3.0 teams to “Sin City” the past two weekends. The 3.5 women won the USTA National Championship last week, while their cohorts at the 3.0 level hope to do the same this weekend at the Darling Family Tennis Center.
Besides both squads being from Indianapolis, they are more familiar with each other than you’d think. Each team has family members playing on each respective squad. Sara Gochnauer and Pam Baxter are members of the 3.5 championship team, while Alta Gochnauer and Elizabeth Baxter are teammates on the 3.0 squad.
To clarify the breakdown, both teams have mother-daughter connections. Sara is the daughter of Alta, while Pam is Elizabeth’s mother.
Both teams play out of the Butler University courts and dub themselves, “Butler”.
The Gochnauer’s are a tennis family. Alta got Sara to join the “Butler” team a year ago and she played at the #1 singles position this year.
“I started when I was in third grade and took some time off,” said Sara. “This was my first summer to play in two and a half years. Mom played when she was younger and picked the game back up later on when the rest of the family got involved. My dad was a pretty good player”What Can't She Do?
|Tracy Gamble shows the ceramic cup she made for the team|
Tracy Gamble, who is a member of the 3.0 team, is a jack-of-all-trades. Besides dabbling in tennis, she was a librarian, an actress and a maker of pottery. She made her living as an actress in Chicago working locally on stage and commercially. She did a little dinner theater throughout the Midwest, as well. She made her way to Indianapolis and kept up the pottery. She has her own studio with most of her coming from commissioned projects.
“The majority of my work is functional wares,” said Gamble. “Basically, things you can eat and drink from.
Gamble contributes most of her tennis ability to the teachings of Juancho Rodriguez, the head coach of the 3.5 and 3.0 teams.
“I didn’t have game until I began playing with him,” noted Gamble. “I think (the teams) feel the same about him. He helps us so much in strategy with his coaching. We always have great workouts and he gets so much out of us. It’s amazing. He cares about us as individuals. He always strives and pushes us to do better.”
Friday, October 12
Fair Weather Sun
Temperatures dipped into the low sixties as play began on Friday, with the sun being bashful and not showing its face early on. However, as afternoon play began there were plenty of fans watching the competition including the sun, for a few minutes at least. The Darling Family Tennis Center is playing host to this week's events, with several matches being played at Red Rock Country Club. Play began promptly at 7:30 a.m. and concludes Sunday.
The weekend activities actually started on Thursday, with a captains' meeting, followed by the Players' Party.
|A winner without even hitting the court|
Winners Without Even Hitting the Court
The players' party kicked off the weekend festivities with plenty of food, drink and prizes. In a shocker, the Florida contingent won the majority of the prizes. Many of the other sections are now calling for a recount. Among the prizes were tennis bags, cinch bags and backpacks from Head/Penn.
|Dancing Down in the Desert|
Dancing Down in the Desert
How do the 3.0 women stay in great shape? By dancing the night away of course! At the players' party, members of the Florida and Caribbean sections took party in the electric slide. It didn't appear to affect the Floridians, as they won their first match 3-2 over Eastern.
|John D. Iokia toots his horn|
Stemming from the men's Hawaiian team's heritage, John D. Iokia blows the ceremonial conch shell before each match for luck. So far the shell has been a blessing for his team as they captured their morning match over Southern California. However, John should have stuck to conch blowing. Instead, John injured himself cutting a rug at the players' party and was unable to play today.
The Florida women are a tenacious bunch.
“We are fortunate to have 3 players dubbed “bull dogs” because of their tenacity on the court,” explained Marshall. “They never give up, and they like to WIN!”
Team Captain Kim Marshall formed the Ponte Vedra women’s league team by simply emailing fellow members of Ponte Vedra Inn and Club asking, “Who wants to play more tennis?” Seventeen members promptly responded.
“Our team is lucky to have several singles players; interestingly, many players prefer doubles,” adds Marshall. “Versatility has certainly been our strength!”
Let see if that pays off this weekend as play progresses.
Many small town neighbors exchange recipes. The Charlestown Smash Gals of Charlestown, PA (Middle States) take the neighborly attitude a step further.
As they explained, "we don't do lasagna," meaning they do a little more than just neighbors exchanging recipes.
Co-Captains Gail Osborne and Michelle Kesti are next door neighbors and are joined by five other teammates who happen to live in the same neighborhood.
Without a club or coach to call their own, this is their third season of playing together and they have become tremendous friends.
Ulrich (Uli) Lorscheider of the Texas men's team didn't make the trip from Dallas with the rest of his team. Lorscheider, who works for the Siemens Corporation was transferred to Munich, Germany in August. He has been a member of the team for two years and didn't want to miss out on the opportunity to play, so he flew 15 hours on Thursday to join his team.
Not to be outdone teammate Tony Watanabe's parents made the long trek from Hannoh, Saitama, Japan, outside of Tokyo, to see him play this weekend.