New England takes the field by storm at National Women’s Intersectionals
PLANTATION, FL - Despite the rains and heavy humidity in Plantation, Florida at this year’s National Women’s Intersectionals, the New England players had a lot of fun and met many new people. A total of 360 women participated from 11 USTA sections, and 37 women represented USTA New England in the various age groups. Not only did five out of our seven teams come home with medals, but for the first time in the tournament’s history, a New England 80s team took gold. Our 35s & 75s teams earned silver; our 45s came in third, and our 85s came in fourth.
Starting in 1987, this yearly USTA Sanctioned team tournament is open to all USTA sections. Teams from New England have always been competing in the various age groups since its inception. The tournament alternates its playing sites between clay and hard court, and between the east and west coasts.
Play began on November 7 for the 55s and 65s, on November 8 for the 75s, 80s, and 85s divisions, and on November 11 for the 35s and 45s. The earlier rounds had to contend with Hurricane Nicole. So, for the schedule to stay even remotely on track to have the medal rounds on time, most of the matches in that earlier part of the week were relegated to eight-game pro sets.
Our 80s team started its run for the gold by defeating Midwest, Pacific Northwest and Texas. In the barn burner finals against Middle States, Captain Sheila Weinstock (Weston, MA) went the distance against Judy Levering, winning in three sets. Weinstock then teamed with Lida Lloyd (Chestnut Hill, MA) to win at first doubles and secure the match. Jessie von Hippel (Cambridge, MA) and Sabine Schwarzer (Nantucket, MA) competed fiercely but fell short at second doubles.
Sue Kimball (Oak Bluffs, MA) led the charge for the 75s that swept Florida, Middle States, and Mid-Atlantic before falling to SoCal in the finals. Kimball won in a tight three-setter for
the sole point in the medal round. Kimball and Christine Creelman (Winchester, MA) lost in a tight three-setter. The other members on the second-place team were: Alyson Bolduc (South Burlington, VT), Eszter Chase (Barrington, RI), Sherwood Daniels (Richmond, VT) and Lee Delfausse (Concord, NH).
The 35s started Friday, a day later than planned, and benefitted from clear skies. For a team that nearly didn’t make it to the site, they hit the ground running, sweeping SoCal and going 4-1 vs. Northern before losing to Southern in the final with Alicia Salas (Darien, CT) taking a point at third singles. Connie Chiang (Newtonville, MA) led this strong group with Roopali Hall (Stamford, CT), Kasia Preneta (East Longmeadow, MA) and Ana Radeljevic (Chestnut Hill, MA).
- Women's 80s team with their medals.
- Women's 45s Intersectionals team.
The 45s team, captained by Aileen Eleey (Quincy, MA) and Charlotte Stainer (New Canaan, CT), had a great win over Pacific Northwest with Eleey and Chance Fechtor (Watertown, MA) clinching the win in a third-set breaker. The group then lost to Southern and scored the bronze over Middle States. Ericka Bueno (Winthrop, MA) and Aleta Cebere (Cambridge, MA) rounded out the roster.
In the 85s, Captain Judy Smith (Brookline, MA), Margot Turk (New Canaan, CT), Lauri Leach (Wellesley, MA) and Esther Williams (Cambridge, MA) played two solid matches against Midwest and SoCal.
A highlight there was the 8-6 win by Smith and Turk over SoCal’s Dori Devries, the top player in the country, and Sheila Palmer. In the playoff round, Smith showed her smarts and skill at the singles spot with a 6-4, 6-7, 6-2 win.
In its first round, the 55s team battled the eventual division winner, Mid-Atlantic, lost a tight one to Southwest 2-3, and fell to Midwest. Everyone played well and several matches were close. The 55s team consisted of Davida Dinerman, captain, (Ashland, MA), Yvette Kruger (Natick, MA), Nancy Grimes (Bedford, NH), Deb Simpson (Winchester, MA), Sandy Allen (Burlington, MA) and Sue Corey (Newton, MA). Simpson had two great wins in singles and doubles vs. Southwest.
The 65s team had some exciting matches in its journey, drawing the second seed, SoCal in the first round. They then faced Midwest and Eastern. Mary MacDonald (Tewksbury, MA) captained the team with Sue Bushman (Jamaica Plain, MA), Debbie Crowly (Ellsworth, ME), Joan Weir (Williamsville, VT), Helga Immerfall (South Burlington, VT) and Deb Pruitt (Cambridge, MA). Immerfall and Weir both had their best matches against Eastern. Pruitt and Crowley had a tight 8-6 win against Midwest.
Mary MacDonald summed it up with this, “I would have to say the hurricane won, but everyone gave 100% effort and represented New England tennis well. Supportive teammates, fair competitors, fun dinner conversations, still a fun week, despite the weather!”
A special thanks to Bernadette Lehmann for making the trip as the team’s trainer. And an extra shout out to Molly Hahn. Although she was unable to compete this year, she worked behind the scenes for many months, helping the division captains recruit players and coordinate logistics prior to the competition. The players also greatly appreciated the funds which the USTA New England generously contributed to each player.