team new england unites at capital clash
James Maimonis, Communications and Engagement Coordinator | October 11, 2017
COLLEGE PARK, MD- USTA New England was represented well at this year’s Northeast Capital Clash. The 10 and Under green ball event brings USTA Sections New England, Eastern, Middle States and host Mid-Atlantic together for a weekend of team competition.
Four top-ranked girls and boys were selected from each section to compete at College Park’s Junior Tennis Champions Center. Team New England was comprised of: Girls- Lauren Zhang, Olivia Koziol, Emily Wang and Karolina Lincer. Boys- Ryan Hovorka, Justin Lee, Kailash Chari and Tim Vargas.
“Each section’s team is made up of kids that reside in their section but may not live anywhere near one another,” said USTA Mid-Atlantic 10 and Under Manager Rob Issem. “The kids may have seen each other at events before, but at the Capital Clash they’ll form a team and become friends.”ADVERTISEMENT
Team New England was coached by Massachusetts teaching pro and high school coach, Kelly Day, a huge advocate of team play and sportsmanship herself. Day’s primary objective for the weekend was to unify her team, have a great time and represent New England in the best way they could.
“I told the parents and the kids that this weekend wasn't about their ranking and it wasn’t about the individual match play, but about them being Team New England. Team New England sticks together, supports each other and gives it their all,” Day said.
Last year, New England captured its first ever Capital Clash title, but even in her first year coaching the team, the result came secondary.
“It was great to win last year but honestly my goal for the group coming in this year was to make sure they enjoyed the weekend together,” Day said. “You could see their love for competition and the heart they played with. It was awesome to see them support one another and cheer each other .They celebrated the victories together and were there to lift each other’s spirits when the matches didn't go as planned.”
Players competed in individual matches in both singles and doubles, with scores counting towards an overall team score. Doubles matches accounted for more than two-thirds of all matches played at the tournament.
New England finished in third place this year behind Eastern and Middle States, with Mid-Atlantic taking fourth.
“This was a very talented group of players. They all have solid ground strokes and I found their tennis sense incredible. Each point was important and they played incredibly hard,” Day said.
Tim Vargas won the New England Sportsmanship Award, an honor that was voted on by members of team New England.
“Overall, all the kids were amazing on and off the court. I really feel they understood what this weekend was all about. It was about being part of a team and representing the section you were playing for, and they all got it,” Day said.