The world’s largest tennis tournament with over 2000 participants was just completed the last week of July when the Southern Section of the USTA (United States Tennis Association) held the League championships for this region in Charleston, South Carolina. Two Pelham teams came away with Sectional titles in their divisions and earned the right to move on and compete at the next level for a national championship against other sectional winners. The women’s 4.0 team from the Pelham Racquet Club and the women’s 2.5 team playing out of the Pelham Tennis Center are now Southern Sectional Champions and will represent Pelham in their respective national tournaments. The 4.0 team will travel to Hawaii for the 4.0 Nationals and the 2.5 team will go to Palm Springs, California for their event.
After a convincing 5-0 opening win against Mississippi the 4.0 team found the rest of the Sectional tournament to be much more exciting and tougher as they had to have late individual wins to take the team match overall. Co-Captains Susie Barnes and Dee Dee Samples had to keep up with each court in each following round to secure team wins. Co-Captain Dee Dee Samples was in the middle of the action, being involved in the last match on court to decide the team match on three occasions. Against Louisiana the team found themselves down 1-2 with the teams of Samples & Amy Prewitt and Pelham Racquet Club staff member Chaney Mills and her partner, Misty Teitel still on court and needing both teams to win to pull out a team victory. Both teams came thru and the march toward the finals continued. Sherry Mitchell and Beverly Billingsley were the last doubles team on court versus North Carolina and made the most of their opportunity winning their match and continuing the team’s undefeated status. In the finals against Arkansas it was once again Dee Dee Samples and Amy Prewitt seeing the team match tied 2-2 and find their match tied a set apiece and moving to the 10 point match break. The match break would not only decide their court but also the team match and the Sectional title. Focusing on their game, Sample and Prewitt won the match break 10-6 to put the team on the road to Hawaii! Also playing a vital role was Spain Park tennis coach Virginia Tucker who won all five of her singles matches in the South Carolina heat to help the team by always bringing home a point in the singles position. Team members are: Co-Captains Susie Barnes and Dee Dee Samples, Suzanne Harris, Amy Prewitt, Beverly Billingsley, Katrina Trotter, Virginia Mitchell, Chaney Mills, Kristine Fitts, Mary Nelson Notaro, Misty Teitel, Virginia Tucker, Sherry Mitchell, and Judy Taylor.
The 2.5 women from the Pelham Tennis Center found the Sectional tournament as exciting and rewarding as their Pelham Racquet Club compatriots. The 2.5 division has a different format that makes a smaller roster possible. However, Co-Captains Kim Kugler and Lori Kerley had their team thinking positive and playing to win. Moving thru their round robin draw with 3-0 wins over both Mississippi and Louisiana they were eyeing the finals. Victories over Arkansas and the Tennessee wildcard team were both 2-1 team scores but made the run thru the round robin undefeated and looking forward to the championship round. In the finals versus Kentucky Lori Kerley and Katie Prodoehl hit the court ready and scored a decisive 6-0, 6-0 win. When Quida Carol Hickey and Kellye Bryant secured the team victory by turning their match around for a convincing 4-6, 6-2, 1-0 win the team decided to have Shannon Houser, whose singles match was the last match on court, retire her match so the celebration could begin! Team members are: Co-Captains Kim Kugler and Lori Kerley, Layne Lavett, Becky Hollingsworth, Shannon Houser, Kellye Bryant, Quida Carol Hickey, Meghan Carey Henig, and Katie Prodoehl.
The 2.5 team will play October 6-8, 2006 in Palm Springs, California. The 4.0 team is traveling across the Pacific to Hawaii for their event on October 27-29, 2006.
Winning a Sectional title in the very tough, competitive USTA Southern Section is a tremendous accomplishment. The opportunity to compete for a National Championship is a dream of all athletes involved in any sport. We know Pelham will be well represented by these ladies at each championship!
Good luck at the Nationals!