In the close knit community of Bayport-Blue Point on Long Island, there's a hidden gem within the area … a tennis club that has had 11 teams make it to the USTA National Championships. This year at Eastern Athletic Clubs (EAC), another team of tennis players, the Women's 3.0 team, fought long and fought hard and have advanced to the Nationals.
"One day, I stood upstairs and was watching the tennis players through the window, wondering if I can do that,” said EAC Women's 3.0 Captain Jen McCormack. “Then, Nancy [Finno, tennis director at Eastern Athletic Clubs] told me to try it out, and that was it."
Jen and her teammates started out playing in the beginner leagues, taking lessons, and building their game up through the USTA tennis program at EAC. Under the tutelage and intense coaching from Tennis Pro Gary McNulty, the team improved all summer long—first winning local matches, then Regionals, then Sectionals, and now they have advanced to the Nationals in Arizona.
When it comes to USTA Leagues, most teams scout throughout their home club and also recruit players from as far away as New York City and the Eastern tip of Long Island. Hoping that by recruiting the best players, they will become the next champion … this Women's 3.0 team, however, is unique. These women do not only play tennis together, but their children go to the same schools, they shop at the same stores, and they are all from the same small geographic area … a community team, from a community club that is headed to the Nationals.
Eastern Athletic’s Women’s 3.0 team of (top row, from left to right): Coach Gary McNulty, Caitlin Winnicki, Darlene Dempsey, Misha Monticciolo, Jaana Berlingieri, Annamarie O'Brien, Debra Paquette; and (bottom row, left to right): Josefina Essex, Donna Hallas, Jennifer Leggio, Captain Jennifer Suh-McCormack, Tracey Barry, Cindy Couluris, Darlene Maxwell [not in photo are Jeanine Coppola, Lauren Cutler and Nurcan Kurtoglu]