Win 18 & Over League 4.5 Titles
Victoria Chiesa | October 21, 2019
The Mid-Atlantic men's team from Washington, D.C. and the women's team from Southern California were crowned champions at the 2019 18 & Over 4.5 USTA League National Championships in Surprise, Ariz.
Captain Vivek Hariharan's team from the nation's capital was dominant from the start, going 4-0 ahead of the knockout rounds and winning 65 percent of games played--the most of any of the 17 teams competing at the site.
Losing just 10 sets across the first four matches, the team clinched victory with a pair of 3-2 wins over teams from the Middle States and Southern sections in the semifinals and final, respectively.
Hariharan's winning roster also featured Todd Campbell, Kyle Sprow, Victor Burga, Jonathan Vissering, Taimi Ando, Nicholas Fenichell, Chell Lamm, Simon Miller, Gabe Zakkak, Thibaut Perol, Alex Braksator, Chris Ryan, Jimmy Sherpa, Christopher Cosca, Laith Layous, Tariq Al-Agba, Michael Liu, Eric Ripkin and Hung Nguyen.ADVERTISEMENT
"This weekend was the culmination of a magnificent three-year journey for this team," co-captain Burga said. "The team started as a way to have fun playing tennis and hanging out afterward with a close group of friends, and over time, as we recruited more talent, we began to set our aspirations higher.
"I believe that strong bonding led to the huge success we had on the court this weekend."
As one of two teams to go 4-0 ahead of the semifinal stage, the SoCal women's team faced off against Pamela Kane's team from the Middle States section and Philadelphia, after they beat Holly Toguchi's Hawaiian squad--which had also been 4-0--in the semifinals, 3-2.
Though the Middle States team won both singles matches, a strong performance by the team based out of Lower Peters Canyon Park in Irvine, Calif. in doubles helped earn the victory.
Over three matches, the winners lost just one set, but Kristen Hoppe and Kari Keese sealed No.2 doubles in a match tiebreak.
Co-captained by Margaret Chang and Hoppe, the roster also included Jinna Johnson, Leeann Hsueh, Izumi Barkovitz, Joyce Le, Jenfei Hsieh, Christina Catipay, Sally Moriya, Annie Ngo, Mayu Kawamura, Roseann Harris, Stella Nguyen, Stacey Pintado, Kirtine Yang, Cindy Campbell and Tatiana Betancourt.
"Team SoCal had a truly unforgettable Nationals experience," said Hoppe. "We were blessed to have such a talented, cohesive and fun group of women, as well as an amazingly supportive cheering entourage.
"Every single player and fan contributed to our success, clinching tight matches when it mattered and cheering the players on every step of the way. From traveling together as a team to meeting great people and players in other sections, it was a weekend of great memories that will last us a lifetime!"