©Colette Lewis 2014
The first day of play in the USTA's Spring Team Championships extended until 9 pm, with some teams advancing easily into the quarterfinals and others needing mathematical calculations to move on.
In the boys division, the Buccaneers downed the Falcons 6-6, 11-10 and the Cowboys defeated the Jaguars 6-6, 12-10, with the second score being the number of sets won, the first tiebreaker. There was only one three-setter in the Buccaneers win with but the fact that William Genesen of the Buccaneers took a set from Alex Phillips at No. 1 16s tipped the scales in his team's favor. The grueling match, which lasted over three and a half hours, was the focus of the cheering for all the players on both teams who had already finishing their matches.
The Cowboys and Jaguars played two three-setters and although the Jaguars won both, it wasn't enough. One of the Cowboys who had plenty of opportunity to support his teammates was Faris Khan, playing the No. 1 12s position, after his 6-0, 6-0 win.
Unlike most of the players, who are meeting their teammates for the first time at this tournament, Khan trains with the No. 1 18s player on his team, Henry Gordon. Gordon, who lost to Walker Duncan 6-3, 7-6(4), enjoys the mentoring experience.
"This event is definitely unique and I like it a lot," said Gordon, a high school junior. "There are kids from all age divisions, and I'm kind of like a big brother here to all the younger kids. It's good watching all of them, seeing how they develop, it's real fun."
In his match with Duncan, Gordon was down two breaks at 3-0 in the second set, but came back, only to have Duncan take it in a tiebreaker.
"It was a tough loss, but I'm happy with how I competed," Gordon said. "I played well."
Although disappointed, Gordon said he knew he had to forget about it and support his team.
"Right after I lost it was tough, but right after I lost I made sure I cheered on my team a lot," said Gordon. "I don't know about other people, but for me that makes a world of difference in how I feel. Every single point counted today."
The match didn't go exactly as Cowboys coach John Sherwood thought it would.
"If I were predicting ahead of time, I would have said we would have been a little more successful at the top of our lineup in doubles and in singles, and it turned out completely the opposite," Sherwood said. "We won it with the younger players and the bottom of the lineup. Everybody fought hard and it really came down to who won the most sets. You've got to win one way or another, and at the end of the day, there's no pictures on the scorecard, it's still a win."
The girls matches, which began at 1:30 pm in warm and sunny conditions, didn't end until nearly 9 pm, with two matches going to tiebreakers, and the closest contest yet decided by number of games won. The Firecrackers and the Sharks were tied in points at 6, and in sets at 11, so the format's second tiebreaker, games won, was invoked.
Players from both teams gathered excitedly around the tournament desk where the calculations were being made. The anticipation caused the volume of their conversations to reach such a pitch they were asked to move a few yards back so those counting games could concentrate on the task of determining the winner. After the announcement that the Firecrackers had won 115 games to 110, the Sharks coach asked to check the numbers, so the Firecrackers had to wait for what they were calling a "recount." When the number was confirmed, another cheer came from the girls and their parents, and coach John Meinicke could relax.
"That was exciting, but that's what we came here for," said Meinicke, whose team trailed 3-1 after the doubles. "The kids worked hard and it was a lot of fun. We knew going into the last match that we had to win it and if we did, we'd be tied, and then it was just what the tiebreaker was going to be, and we weren't sure where we were, but we knew it was going to be close."
The Firecrackers Lea Ma defeated Somer Henry 6-2, 4-6, 6-2 at 14s No. 2, leading to the gathering at the tournament desk and the tallies necessary to determine a winner.
A few minutes later, the second girls match to end tied also needed calculations, with the Pirates defeating the Angels 6-6, 11-10, with Marya Lucia of the Pirates taking a set from Alyssa Dimaio at 12s No. 2 to put the Pirates into the quarterfinals.
The complete team results are below.
For all the individual results and the draw, see the TennisLink site.
Raiders def. Titans 7-5
Saints def. Seahawks 7-5
Vikings def. Bears 8-4
Eagles def. Lions 8-4
Buccaneers def. Falcons 6-6, 11-10
Patriots def. Broncos 9-3
Rams def. Panthers 8-4
Cowboys def. Jaguars 6-6, 12-10
Firecrackers def. Sharks 6-6 11-11 110-105
Red Hawks def. Bengals 8-4
Lynx def. Devils 9-3
Pirates def. Angels 6-6, 11-10
Lightning def. Stingrays 10-2
Leopards def. Blue Jays 8-4
Diamondbacks def. Dolphins 9-3
Tornados def. Ninjas 8-4