By Colleen Clery Ferrell, Southern California Section Captain
The 2019 USTA Intersectional Team Event moved back to a former site at the Naples Swim and Tennis Club, now the home of the ASC Sanchez-Casal Tennis Academy. Played on Har-Tru clay, the contests ended with Southern Cal earning a “Shared Gold” as Co-Champions in the 75 division with Florida, earning Silver Medals in the 65’s and 55 ‘s and a Bronze Medal in the 35’s. Fierce competition ensued on the court and sincere friendship with teammates and opponents were made off the court. Next year the event moves back to Phoenix on hard courts and will be played November 9-15, 2020. Here is a recap of the Southern Cal teams that participated.
35’s SCTA Team placed 3rd – Bronze
The 35 team consisted of Co Captains Stepanka Gamboa and Quynh Lee, along with teammates Stephanie Newell, Lauren Lancaster, Aurelie Udall and Sara Morse. They had a tough match against the Southern Team who won the division and fielded players from D1 colleges and former WTA Tour players. The SCTA 35 team had a great win against Texas and in the finals, played a good Pacific Northwest team to win 3-2 Overall, the tournament was a great experience in playing on har-tru green clay, learning to slide, learning to be patient, and making very smart strategic shots to bring home the 3rd place Bronze Medal.
45’s SCTA Team
The 45 team was captained by Cynthia Delgado. She introduced several players to Intersectionals for the first time. Lupita Curiel, Natalie Hill, Diane Gihiron, Lisa Crisafulli and Brianna Sullivan participated as rookies, along with veteran Nancy Sanchez. The team played four days and won their first match the last day against Pacific Northwest. They all enjoyed the experience on the clay surface and had a good time overall.
55 SCTA Team placed 2nd – Silver
The #2 seeded SoCal 55’s Intersectional team was pleased to take the silver medal this year. The team was comprised of Captain Karen Haas, Colleen Clery Ferrell, Jennifer Lyons, Judy Newman, Maria Nunez, Tracey Thompson, and Rainy Miller. They beat Mid-Atlantic in the quarters and 4th seeded Florida in the semis. In the finals against perennial powerhouse Southern, the singles players Tracey and Jennifer, at #2 and #3 respectively, were both up a set. Meanwhile, Judy was battling #1 in the world, Diane Barker. As Jennifer finished winning her singles match handily, Judy had just split, after having lost the first set. Soon after, Tracey had also split sets. It was neck and neck, until Southern squeaked out both the remaining singles, thus going up 2-1 after singles. The tough team of Michelle Williams/Sue Webb ended up sealing the match for Southern, just as Judy/Jennifer had just won the first set over Barker/Susan Love. Southern won 3-2. So close, but great tennis all around! The players were determined, worked hard, gave extra effort, stayed positive, and played as a team, bonding together more and more as the week progressed. But it was the fun off the court that turned into success on the court! It was an exciting week for all team members.
65 SCTA Team placed 2nd – Silver
The 65 Team, captained by Tina Karwasky, consisted of Kandy Chain, Carol Gay, Sue Sprague, Una Davis and Kathy Bennett. They faced a tough Midwest Team in their first match. Number 1 Karwasky won her singles in 3 sets, #2 Kandy Chain won in 3 sets and #3 Carol Gay won in straight sets. So Cal’s Una Davis and Kathy Bennett won #1 doubles in straight sets as well as #2 doubles Sue Sprague and Chain. This gave Southern Cal a 5-0 sweep. In the semis So Cal played a tough Florida team (with 2 ex tour players on their roster). Tina Karwasky #1 singles and Kandy Chain #2 singles both won gritty down to the wire 3 hour matches. Carol Gay lost in straight sets. The deciding point was won by the #2 doubles team of Bennett and Chain. The #1 team of Davis and Karwasky lost a 3 hour doubles match cliff hanger. The finals pitted So Cal against Southern. Karwasky and Gay lost at 1 and 3 singles in straight sets. Chain won in 3 sets in her singles at #2 singles. Southern Cal went into the doubles down 2-1, needing to sweep the doubles. Karwasky and Davis lost at #1 doubles to give Southern the winning point. Southern California came in second in the event but had to fight and claw their way to get to the finals. They showed a lot of fight, tenacity and team spirit.
75 SCTA Team placed 1st – Gold – Co Champions with Florida
The 75 team captained by Suella Steel, lost teammate Andi Polisky the week before the event due to injury. So they went with four players – Steel, Cathie Anderson, Anne Russ and Teri Eggers. The team cruised through the first two rounds by defeating Eastern 4-0 and 3-1 over Southern. Then the finals against Florida had them tied at 1-1 after the singles. Unfortunately rain arrived and stayed all day. Tournament Director Matt Gleason decided in the end to crown two Gold winners since they were even after the singles and unable to play the doubles. Captain Steel was elated as Southern Cal has won gold in this division for at least 7 years in a row and she was determined to keep the streak alive!!!
Roz King captained the 80’s team this year. Unfortunately, #2 singles player Dori Devries pulled out due to injury prior to the event. So King went with Sheila Palmer, Barbara Oldfield and new players to the event Dale Francis and Phyllis Cornish. Though the team could not defend their #1 position and 2018 title due #1 and #2 players’ injuries, they did introduce two new players to the event, who played every day and enjoyed the experience.