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2008 USTA Florida Combo Adult 6.5 & 7.5 Section Championships

January 13, 2009 10:34 AM

By: Tori Townsend

The 2008 USTA Florida Combo Adult 6.5 & 7.5 Section Championships finished Sunday, Jan. 12, 2009 after a weekend of exceptional tennis, sunny skies and great team camaraderie. Approximately 500 players representing 51 teams from throughout Florida traveled to Volusia County to compete in the event. The 24-court Florida Tennis Center (FTC) in Daytona Beach served as the tournament site.

“The New Year started off with a bang with the Combo Section Championships, involving hundreds of USTA Florida league players,” said Norm Ott, Tournament Director. “It was very nice to see how well everyone got along which contributed to the overall success of the tournament; it was smooth sailing throughout the weekend!”

The level of play throughout the weekend was exceptional, which was evident by close match results. Added perks throughout the weekend, such as professional pictures for all teams (www.ustaflorida.printroom.com) and a new Cyber Center, added something special for every player to enjoy. Success was especially sweet for four teams who took home the prestigious title of section champion.

Winners & Finalists
Winner & Finalist Photos


In the 6.5 women’s division, a team from Jacksonville, captained by Yetta Goolsby, claimed the section title as they defeated a team from Gainesville/Lake City, captained by Tamara Gordon, 3-0 in the finals. The team, which plays out of Southside Tennis Complex, had a tough road to the championship.

“We had some really good matches,” said Goolsby. “Our first match, we lost all three courts in third set tiebreaks [against a team from St. Pete/Clearwater]. We had a lot of tough matches, but we expected that at this level.”

In their final match on Saturday, all eyes were on the team because their results dictated whether a team from South Miami-Dade advanced to the championship.

“We knew something was going on when everyone was watching our last match on Saturday,” Goolsby said.

In the semifinals, Jacksonville played against a tough team from Tallahassee, captained by Gina Field. Although they defeated Tallahassee 3-0, the matches were very competitive. Gainesville/Lake City defeated a team from North Palm beach, captained by Deborah Levitt, 2-1 in the second semifinal.

“When we played, it was all about the team; it wasn’t about who played the most matches,” Goolsby said. “I just reminded everybody that even if they didn’t play that last match, everybody was a part of us getting there.”

In the 6.5 men’s division, a team from Gainesville/Lake City, captained by Mark Martin, went undefeated the entire weekend to win the championship. After playing just two years together, this was the team’s first Combo Section title.

Action Shots
Action shots

“We won all three matches in straight sets,” said Martin, whose team plays at Westside Park. “The Combo event is fun because I think the different levels playing together is enjoyable and it helps the lower level guys play better.”

Before the finals could even take place in the men’s 6.5 division, a three-way tie had to be decided in flight II between, Ocala, Sarasota and Charlotte County (Punta Gorda); all teams were tied with 2 wins and 1 loss.  The tiebreak came down to who had the least sets lost, which favored Punta Gorda since they had only 7 losses as compared to Sarasota’s 8 losses.  In the finals, the Gainesville/Lake City team defeated Punta Gorda, captained by Jim Round, 3-0. 

Gainesville player Bart Hutton said the friendship between the team helped them pull out a victory.

“We are a very close-nit team,” he said.  “I love playing USTA League Tennis and I will continue playing as long as I am healthy enough to play!”

In the women’s 7.5 division, a team from Jacksonville, captained by Lane Manis, claimed the section title. They play out of Boone Park and defeated teams from South Miami-Dade, Treasure Coast, and Daytona Beach in their flight contested Friday and Saturday to advance to the semifinals on Sunday. In the semifinals, Jacksonville swept a team from Gainesville, captained by Joy Ann Parker, 3-0. In the second semifinals, a team from Pensacola, captained by Tamara Moore, defeated a team from Tallahassee, captained by Diana Johnson, 2-1 to advance to the championship match against Gainesville/Lake City.

The 7.5 women’s final was exciting as Jacksonville defeated Pensacola, 2-1, taking the No. 2 and No. 3 doubles positions while Pensacola snagged the No. 1 doubles position. This was the team’s first year together and first Combo victory.

Team Pictures
Team pictures

“This was a wonderful experience and it is always better when you win,” said Manis, who noted that every player on her team is a senior, yet they won the adult division. “We all play mixed doubles and that has really made our game stronger.”

She continued, “We have wonderful synergy as a team. My sister is on the team, we are all good friends and some of us play daytime tennis together.”

Looking to defend their title in the 7.5 men’s division was Pensacola. Captained by Calvin Moore, the defending champions played a team from Tallahassee in the finals. However; Tallahassee, captained by Scott McAnally, overpowered Pensacola in the No. 1 and No. 3 doubles positions for the victory, while Pensacola won the No. 2 doubles position in straight sets. The newly crowned champions play at Forrest Meadows Tennis Complex.

“We competed at 7.5 sectionals for the past three years and each year we made it to the semifinals or finals but couldn't pull it out,” McAnally said. “This year, we had a great team effort from all of the guys to pull together and win team matches the hard way - two out of three courts in five out of six matches. This was just a continuation of our season where at least once, everybody pulled out a critical match when they had to.”

The Tallahassee team won six out of six third set tiebreakers to keep them in the hunt for the championship trophy.

“The team definitely showed a new level of mental toughness to pull out the closely contended matches,” McAnally said. “Great friendship and great teamwork came together at the right time, giving us the opportunity to win the state championship.”

“The city of Daytona Beach recently resurfaced and lined the courts specifically for this event, which was a great benefit to the players,” said Sandy Marshall, USTA Florida Director of Leagues. “The facility remained in excellent condition throughout the weekend due to the hard work of the FTC’s current director, Tom Kelly and his maintenance staff including Cio, Brad Lohman and Aaron Brown.”

USTA Florida thanks all teams for participating in the fifth annual Combo Championships. Special thanks to USTA Florida volunteers Ruth Ann Ott, Deb and Mark Anderson and tournament director Norm Ott. Your participation in USTA League Tennis helps support the game we all love.

“The event was a fun-filled weekend of tennis and leisure for all participants,” Marshall added. “If this is an indicator of what our league players have to look forward to during the 2009 championships, USTA leagues are going to be highly contested at the local level!”

ResultsWinner & Finalist Photos

Adult Women – 6.5

  • Champions: Jacksonville
  • Finalists: Gainesville/Lake City

Adult Women – 7.5

  • Champions: Jacksonville
  • Finalists: Pensacola

Adult Men – 6.5

  • Champions: Gainesville/Lake City
  • Finalists: Charlotte County (Punta Gorda)

Adult Men – 7.5

  • Champions: Tallahassee
  • Finalists: Pensacola

 

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