NorCal Mixed 40 & Over 7.0 Adult League Team Wins National Championship
USTA NorCal teams have dominated at the 2022 USTA League National Championships with six teams earning the title of champion, including the Mixed 40 and Over 7.0 team from Rinconada Park, who was recently crowned top of their division in Surprise, Ariz. on November 11-13.
We caught up with captain Christy Ma to hear about the team’s journey at Nationals where they brought home the gold.
Plus, stay tuned for an overview of all of the teams who went to Nationals and represented our NorCal section coming soon!
Mixed 40 & Over 7.0 Team Captain Christy Ma
First of all, it’s not easy being a first-time captain bringing this team this far and also winning the National Championship.
I want to say it’s indeed a team effort and I am so blessed to have a talented team of 17 strong players where every single one is a great asset. We fought together, we won together, and we had fun together. At our final Sectionals match, tears came down my face when I knew we claimed the Sectional Champion title and would be advancing to Nationals. It was an unforgettable experience. All of the hard work is worth it.
We came to the National Championship in Surprise, Ariz., and I can say it was a roller coaster ride. In the first two matches, we defeated our opponents 2-1 and 2-1 only, and in the third one we lost 1-2 when meeting PNW. They are very strong players—tall, have big serves, and are very good at net play. They gave us a hard time and we lost the deciding line in a super tiebreak. After the three rounds, we ranked No. 7 among the 17 teams. It was hard for us because the possibility of getting into the top four almost seemed mission impossible.
Well in my heart, I still felt there was a chance, and it was important we try hard to win, as we came this far and we shouldn’t give up even if there is a slight chance. In our final round robin, we put a strong three lines and we defeated Southern 3-0 with straight sets wins, which made us No. 4. Then when another team defeated SoCal, our ranking even went up to No. 3.
After all, anything can happen in Surprise. Isn’t it?
As such, we advanced to Sunday playing against Hawaii in the semi-final. They were a very crafty team. The guys had tons of spin and can drop shot and their girls were super consistent. Although we lost Line 1, we won Line 3, which left deciding Line 2 still in play. It was such an exciting moment watching the deciding line playing, which ultimately came to be a split set match and went into a super tiebreak. My heart beat fast like never before with ups and downs and some sudden halts. The super tiebreaker went to 9-7, and our player Gil served on deuce to the opponent’s girl player. The girl returned, Gil ran and chased the ball and hit a great cross-court that the girl missed at the net. Yay! That is in fact what brought us to the final. We barely won against Hawaii by three points with 10-7 super tiebreaker.
During our final match against Eastern, I replaced a player with fresh legs. It all went well and we won Lines 2 and 3. Our Line 1 players still fought fearlessly at center court going into the first set tiebreak, and we did it! We claimed the national champion title.
As a first-time captain, I want to share with other captains and players about our success:
The team needs to have the same goal and people with the same passion, commitment, and trust.
Listen to your heart. Even though it’s on your left, it’s always right.
Try your best, never never give up.
Practice, practice, and practice.
Along with skills and people, luck is also needed and that’s something you can’t control, so just enjoy the journey.
It has been an incredible journey and a lifetime of memories for us all. Thank you all for supporting us. NorCal, let’s go!
From Co-captain Shan
We’re incredibly grateful that USTA provides us the chance to play and meet different teams locally and at Sectionals. USTA has a fantastic system to allow players of all levels to compete and develop their own skills. Love USTA, we all felt more encouraged to pursue our goals such as winning Sectionals and qualifying for Nationals and to challenge each other along the way. Meeting other players in the USTA community made this sport and our practices even more meaningful—even though we were competing against each other, at the end of the day we were able to connect with our opponents with competitive, yet friendly matches. Out of 22,000 players and 1,800 teams in the USTA nationally at this level, we’re very fortunate to have won the championship. But above all, we feel lucky to be able to participate at Nationals. We did it through hard work, a lot of hard work and step-by-step planning. Thank you USTA for this wonderful platform.