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Desoto Dominators Report from Jr. Team Tennis Nat'l Champs

October 25, 2008 12:14 PM

Over 500 juniors (64 teams) from across the country will compete in the USTA Jr. Team Tennis National Championships at the Mobile Tennis Center in Mobile, Alabama. This event marks the culmination of a year-long series of competitions at the local, state/district, and section levels. The National Championships serve as the crown jewel of USTA Jr. Team Tennis.

DAY 1Friday, October 24

Representing the USTA Florida Section at the 2008 Jr. Team Tennis National Championships 14 & under Intermediate division are the Desoto Dominators from Satellite Beach.  Led by head coach Michelle Slaughter, the team is grouped in Flight 3, competing against teams from Intermountain, Missouri Valley and Pacific Northwest.

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USTA Florida won their first two matches on Day 1 of competition, defeating an Intermountain squad named Team Agassi from Las Vegas in their first match (3-2), and then edged out a team from Missouri Valley in their second match (3-2).  Team player Billy Smirk of Florida sprained his ankle while playing his mixed doubles match against Intermountain; however, a trainer came to the court, wrapped his ankle and Billy continued to play.

“Even on one leg, Billy could not be kept off the court,” said Coach Slaughter.  “Billy was hopping on one leg some of the time and was determined to pull out a victory for the team.”

Billy did just that!  He and his partner, Dena Slaughter, won their mixed doubles match to give USTA Florida the deciding victory over Intermountain.
Saturday, USTA Florida faces a tough team from Pacific Northwest.  Wish them good luck!

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Day 2 - Saturday, October 25

Hi everyone!

Our first match this morning was against a tough Washington team from USTA Pacific Northwest.  Katie Sidor won our girl's singles match 6-0, 6-2 and we won our boy's doubles match as well.  The Washington team won the overall match; however, clinching the flight win.  Dan Morris even pulled out his favorite tie dye t-shirt to try to help win the mixed doubles match, but the other team was too good. 

We are currently in a fight for either fifth or sixth place, after we beat a Puerto Rico team from USTA Caribbean this afternoon.  The final match of the day featured Kaleigh Smyrk and Matthew Morris in a tight mixed double's match.  Our team lost the first set and fought hard to hang on to the second set in a tiebreak.  After winning the second set in the tiebreak, our team went on to fight their way to win the match in the third set, 10-point tiebreak with a score of 10-7.  The whole team cheered them on the entire match and it was quite exciting to watch.

The kids also had a lot of fun getting the pictures drawn by the caricature artist.  Tonight we are headed to the player party and buffet dinner at the USS Alabama Battleship Park.

Until tomorrow,

Michelle Slaughter

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DAY 3Sunday, October 26, 2008

Last night's party at the USS Alabama Battleship Park was a blast!  The team enjoyed dinner together then toured the USS Alabama Battleship.  They had a great time exploring the ship, making their way all the way to the top.  They also enjoyed rides in a flight simulator and danced to the DJ's music. 

Today's match was against the Middle States team from New Jersey.  Our boy's singles, girl's singles and girl's doubles all lost but were able to get enough games to keep us in the match.  Matthew Morris battled back from being down 1-4 in the first set all the way to a tiebreak.  He won the second set in a tiebreak and ended up losing a close third set tiebreak.  He represented our team proudly, showing excellent sportsmanship and a strong mental game.  Girl's doubles also went to a third set tiebreaker.  Our boy's doubles team won and the match was topped off with an exciting mixed doubles match.  Dena Slaughter and Billy Smyrk won their mixed doubles match and clinched overall fifth place for the team.  We are so proud of all our players' hard work and team spirit!

Thank you so much for this wonderful experience!

Michelle Slaughter

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The Florida Dominators, led by Captain Michelle Slaughter, represented the State of Florida proudly.  They gave their best effort, showed respect for all of their opponents and made a lot of new friends. Great job!

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