When #TeamSoCal arrives at the USTA Women’s Intersectionals next fall, the rest of the nation will take notice. Why? Because at this year’s championships at Phoenix Tennis Center, Southern California put on a team tennis clinic by capturing four gold medal trophies to reign supreme over their USTA counterparts from across the country.
Beginning with Women’s 35s helmed by Stepanka Hastings, Team SoCal looked formidable. At first singles, Quynh Le opened competition with a 6-0, 6-0 win to set the tone for a team sweep in the second round robin match-up. Julie Anna Gerken also posted two unblemished sets in her singles, as SoCal dropped only 12 of 72 games throughout. The trend continued in Round 3, as SoCal swept singles opposite Norcal, eventually prevailing 4-1 overall. Texas gave the SoCal 35s a challenge in Round 4, but Dominika Olszewska’s 6-0, 6-0 win led the path to a 3-2 win and a spot in the final.
In the 35s final, Southern California toppled Texas for a second time, earning gold for team captain Stepanka Hastings, Qyunn Le, Julie Gerken, Valerie Tan, Aurelie Usall, Sara Morse, and Dominika Olszewska.
The #TeamSoCal Women’s 45s were particularly strong in Phoenix, winning 14 of their first 15 matches heading towards a gold medal victory. Sweeping Pac/NW in the opening round, Dina McBride & Kathryn Settles closed the deal with a 6-1, 6-1 doubles win before McBride moved to first singles against Texas, kicking off a 5-0 sweep by winning the opening match-up. McBride later stumbled to open singles play in Round 4, but her team was undeterred and swept the remaining matches, including Debbie Spence-Nasim’s 6-0, 6-0 victory in second singles.
The 45s gold medal team was comprised of captain Debbie Spence-Nasim, Dina McBride, Ros Nideffer, Nathalie Herman Bagby, Kathy Settles, and Debbie Higa.
Catherine Anderson’s unblemished win in first singles set the precedent for #TeamSoCal’s Women’s 75s captained by Suella Steel, as the team dropped only five total singles games in the first two rounds of play. After defeating Texas and Northern California in dominant fashion, the trend continued with a 3-1 win over Southern. Credit Anderson and Steel, who together played undefeated tennis in both singles and doubles. In the championship match, #TeamSoCal continued to impress with a 3-1 team victory over Southern, earning gold for captain Suella Steel and teammates Cathy Anderson, Teri Eggers, Lurline Fujii, and Uta Hegberg.
In the 80s division, Dori Devries was on fire for much of the tournament, collecting two wins in each of the first two matches for #TeamSoCal. In Round 1 opposite Midwest, Devries led the team sweep with victories in singles and doubles (with Barbara Oldfield), and did the same in Round 2 against Eastern. The team earned a 3-1 win in their third match and corralled the gold medals with a roster of Devries, Oldfield, Sheila Palmer, and captain Roz King.
Team captain Tina Karwasky kicked off Women’s 65s singles with a 6-1, 6-3 over Mid-Atlantic at the start of a singles sweep in the first round of play, including wins by Carol Gay and Ann Stanley. Team New England had some fight in them entering Round Three, taking Karwasky to three sets and upsetting Stanley in singles. But #TeamSoCal had the shots to answer, notching a 4-1 team win. USTA Southern brought the fight in Round 4, overcoming Southern California in a 3-2 team decision. Sue Morgan & Kathleen Bennett notched a doubles win for SoCal.
The 65s silver medal squad included captain Tina Karwasky, Ann Stanley, Carol Gay, Judy Louie, Kathy Bennett, Sue Morgan, and Masako Beppu.
In Women’s 55s, TeamSoCal finished fourth behind captain Tracey Thomson, SCTA Senior Hall of Famer Robin Harris, Colleen Ferrell, Una Davis, Jane Pascoe, Karen Hass, and Rainey Miller.