Middle States

It's Mom's Time to Shine

L-R: Christine Maguire, Michelle Roussey, captain Emily Denney, Kristin Lamb, Julie Wolfe, Stephanie Vo, captain Rachel Pavis, Kat Strock, coach Anthony DeCecco, Tiffany Baldino, Christi Lewis, Jenifer Benner, Kristen Bria, Chris Curtis, Cindy Kernagis and Alexis Sprecher.

High Strung 40+ 3.0 Place First in Women’s National League Championship


In the winter of 2021, High Strung Captain Rachel Pavis knew it was time to rebuild her team for spring competition. Not many can argue with her recruiting style. 


“When I asked a couple players to join the team I would tell them, ‘We are going to Nationals, you should be on our team’,” Pavis remembered. “I just had a feeling about this team – we all did.” 

Not many people can actually deliver on a “feeling”, but Pavis did. 


“Rachel set a goal for us to go to the next level,” co-captain Emily Denney said. “She reminded us of our goal at each stage: districts, regionals. It was that, and the depth of the team, that made the difference.”


Hardwork, dedication, preparation and confidence also made an impact.  


“The level of dedication from these women was incredible,” said Pavis. “We also had a network of teaching pros that were critical. Some of these ladies were practicing every single day with lessons, practice matches and round robins.” 

Captains Rachel Pavis & Emily Denney

As High Strung hit the courts in Surprise, Ariz., their hard work and training paid off, even against the strong competition they faced. In the end, High Strung won the Women’s 40 & Over 3.0 National Championship. 


This championship team made history as the first team out of Tennis Addiction in Exton, Pa., owned by the team’s coach, Anthony DeCecco, to accomplish such a feat (in 2017 a Tennis Addiction team placed second).


“As ladies playing at the 40 and over level, this is a huge stage for us,” Denney said. ”Most weekends we spend cheering for our kids (and for some, grandkids) at sporting events. It was fun for us to be the players this time and to have this teachable moment for our children.” 


That teachable moment? You are never too old to amaze yourself. 


High Strung team members thanked the network of teaching pros that helped them achieve success: Anthony DeCecco, Cindy Slachta, Alexander DeCecco, Kamala Kannan, and Jeff Rightnour. 


Pavis and Denney also thanked the Tennis Addiction and Whitford Country Club communities for all of their support and for rallying around the team. 


Congratulations to Rachel & Emily for being Captains of the Month! USTA Middle States is recognizing the incredible captains who have served the USTA League Tennis program in Middle States. Captains are being selected monthly and rotating by district, based on coordinator and player feedback. Know of a deserving captain you would like to be recognized? Email communications@ms.usta.com.
Skip Advertisement


Related Articles

  • Brooke Penny with Grandaughter
    One in a Million
    September 27, 2023
    “One in a million” is often seen as a compliment. To Brooke Penny, it means something quite different. It began one day in December of 2021, when the avid tennis player was not feeling like herself. After an initial doctor’s visit didn’t give any answers, she visited the emergency room. The CAT scan they performed showed a tumor on her pancreas. She was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and given four to eight months to live. Read More
  • Captain Sam Van and his team.
    Welcoming to All
    August 14, 2023
    Sam Van has been captaining the same USTA League team for nearly 15 years now. His team, the Philly Phighters, plays out of FDR Park in South Philadelphia and Van diligently coordinates match play every week for his players. He welcomes all who would like to play as well. We spoke to him about how he works with his team and what he enjoys about captaining. Take a look! Read More
  • For more than 30 years, Stephanie Howard has made her life about growing tennis. The 2022 Middle States Teaching Professional of the Year is dedicated, hardworking and loves what she does. Howard is the Director of Community Outreach at Princeton Tennis Program (PTP). PTP runs programming at Community Park and at the Eve Kraft Tennis Center in Princeton, N.J. Read More