New England

Spark Headlines New England 55 & Over Sectionals

James Maimonis, Manager, Media & Communications | July 26, 2021

WOBURN, MA - New England is sending five more teams to Nationals following the USTA League Adult 55 & Over New England Sectionals from July 23-25. Spark Fitness & Tennis in Andover, MA, which already saw a Mixed 40 & Over team qualify on July 18, will now be sending both 8.0 and 7.0 Men’s 55 & Over teams thanks to their Sectionals victories at Woburn Racquet Club on Sunday. Four Seasons Racquet Club in Wilton, CT, Lakeville Athletic Club in Lakeville, MA and Greenwich Racquet Club in Greenwich, CT will also be represented at Nationals thanks to their teams’ 55 & Over Sectional Championships. 


Forty-three men’s and women’s teams competed at Sectionals in Woburn, at Bass River Tennis Club in Beverly, MA, and at Winchester Indoor Lawn Tennis Center in Winchester, MA. Nationals will take place at USTA’s National Campus in Orlando, FL in October.


The following teams have advanced to Orlando: 


8.0 Men - Spark Fitness & Tennis - Captains Lenny Licari & Bob Benoit


This will be the second Nationals trip for Licari and Benoit’s 55 & Over squad. The team finished atop their four-team flight, compiling an 8-1 position record en route to three straight victories. The team needed to win two positions in its final match against Kings Highway Tennis Club to clinch the victory, and instead, it swept all three positions without dropping a set. 


The duos of Greg Herbert and Glen Mayberry & Robert Beaton and Bruce Phillips led the Spark squad with three match wins apiece. 


“I can’t believe we’re going back to Nationals after 6-7 years. It's a nice feeling to go back,” Licari said. “This core group has been together for about seven years and we all really like each other, that’s the key.”


7.0 Men - Spark Fitness & Tennis - Captain Al Uluatam


Al Uluatam’s men never gave up. The brand new team this season fought through a difficult local league schedule and narrowly escaped their three-team flight at Sectionals. In the finals, thanks to a No. 1 doubles win by David Repetto and Daniele Baliani, they saw themselves knotted at a position a piece against Farmington Valley. The team’s fate rested on the racquets of the number three pairing of Jeffrey Stone and Carmen Scarpa. 


After dropping a close first set, 5-7, the duo battled back to take the second, 6-4. With their teammates helplessly supporting through the glass, they pulled out a 12-10 victory in the third-set super tiebreak.  


“This is very exciting for us. We’re thrilled to have this opportunity,” Uluatam said. “We’re tough competitors. There may be other teams and players with better skills, but mentally we don’t give up easily. The team that clinched it for us could’ve given up, but they hung in there, and it was representative of how tough the team is.”


8.0 Women - Greenwich Racquet Club - Captains Sue Brown & Lisa Dawson


Sue Brown & Lisa Dawson led their Greenwich-based 8.0 team to a New England Section Championship. The team, which competes in both USTA League Eastern and New England Sections, defeated a team from The Woodlands Club in Falmouth, ME in the final, 2-1. 


“It’s special and very exciting. These are all my friends, and we were runners up here two years ago and runners up in Eastern two years ago, so to flip it around and get it this time was special,” Brown said. 


The No. 1 duo of Diane Martin-Tryhane and Denise Cohen picked up a 6-2, 6-3 win, while number three pairing, Susan Bartow and Dawn Hone, won 6-2, 6-0. 


In flight play, Greenwich edged out a team from Mid-Cape Athletic Club to advance to the final, despite dropping their head-to-head match, 2-1.   


7.0 Women - Lakeville Athletic Club - Captain Zoe Kelliher


Zoe Kelliher’s Lakeville team came away on top in the most highly-contested division of the weekend. Featuring 17 teams, the 7.0 Women were broken up into four flights of four and five. Lakeville, which was captained by Kelliher and coached by club teaching pro Alex Howard, finished 3-0 to sweep its flight and won all three positions in its semifinal match against a team from Longfellow Wayland. They followed suit in the finals, defeating a team from Cedardale, 3-0. 


Duos of Debra Pisarczyk and Zoe Kelliher, AnnMarie Orticerio and Teresa Smith and Heidi Bonito and Linda Armanetti all earned position wins in the final for Lakeville. 


“They’re amazing, we don’t quit,” Kelliher said of her teammates. “Everybody is a team player. There was some really good, competitive tennis played this weekend, so we just had to stay focused and take it one point at a time.”


6.0 Women - Supreme Courts, Four Seasons Racquet Club - Captains Catherine Giff & Margaret Honey


The 6.0 Supreme Courts cruised to their first ever New England Sectional Championship. Captains Catherine Giff & Margaret Honey led their team to an unbeaten flight and a 3-0 championship match against Grand Slam from Centre Court Tennis Club in Rhode Island. 


In the finals, Mari Inagami and Elizbeth Rose picked up a No. 1 singles victory, while Giff and partner Lisa DiCandido and Honey and partner Diane Millas took the No. 2 and No. 3 positions respectively. 


“Everyone is very dedicated and we all really like each other. What makes us so special is that no one is playing for themselves but for the team,” Honey said. “Catherine and I did a little shifting of our lineup for the finals, as we tried to figure out that first position. We structured it in a way we thought we’d be prepared to beat a tough Grand Slam team, and Mari and Elizabeth played great.”


To view photos from the championship, click here

To see complete results, click here

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