The last time Team SoCal won the Maze Cup – a longstanding team competition between Northern and Southern California – the roster included names like Brandon Holt and Jada Hart. While those players moved on to become collegiate stars as USC and UCLA respectively, the Maze Cup has eluded SoCal ever since. But this year’s meeting at Berkeley Tennis Club was an opportunity for redemption. TeamSoCal had been denied over the last two years, and four of the last five years, in their yearly showdown with their peers from the North. This spring, however, a SoCal team of 16-18 year old boys and girls won bragging rights and carried the 45h Annual Maze Cup back to the southland.
That’s not to say that NorCal didn’t put up a fight. In fact, the final cumulative point total found both teams tied at 10 points apiece. In the end, a mixed doubled tiebreaker was all that stood between the evenly matched teams, and SoCal espcated with a 10-8 tiebreak win and sole possession of the Maze Cup trophy.
“The kids appreciate the history that is Maze Cup,” said Trevor Kronemann, SCTA Director of Junior Tennis and one of the Maze team coaches. “They see their names engraved on the trophy right next to the likes of Pete Sampras, Lindsay Davenport, and Rick Leach, among many other professional greats of the game.
Named after George Maze, Sr., a tireless volunteer for both the Southern California Tennis Association and Northern California Tennis Association, The Maze Cup has seen participants go on to enjoy storied professional tennis careers, including Pete Sampras, Lindsay Davenport, and Michael Chang. SCTA Board members Chris Lewis and Marianne Werdel both competed in the Maze Cup as junior competitors.
In 2018, Team SoCal featured a squad comprised of winners from both the Henry Talbert Tournament and Fullerton Tournament, along with two players selected by the Section. The winning roster included Anne Lutkemeyer, Justine Dondonay, Kimmie Hance, Anessa Lee, Charlotte Chavatipon, Stefan Dostanic, Eric Hahn, Bryan Kulikov, Zachary Svajda, and Alex Petrov.
“Considering we had lost the last two, and four of the last five (Maze Cup events),” Kronemann said, “everyone went in with the thought of bringing the cup back to Southern California.”
And that’s exactly what they did.