| By Kathy Miller

Before I give the league report for this issue, I wanted to take a minute to honor a very special woman: Susan Alvy. Susan lost her battle with cancer on Nov. 10. She was the manager of Rockville Racquet, a Long Island board member for the USTA League, winner of the Hy Zausner Lifetime Achievement Award, along with being someone whose friendship I valued. Susan and I managed competing clubs. She was at Rockville and me just a few miles away at Carefree. From the start, we knew we didn’t need to compete with each other. We knew we shared many customers and instead of competing, we worked together. One would call the other and ask, “I’m putting a new 3.5 team doubles league together, what day is yours?” If I said, Tuesday, she made sure hers was Thursday and vice-versa. We bounced ideas and thoughts off each other all the time. Susan was always level-headed, smart, caring and I am going to miss her terribly. 

Susan ran a holiday tournament every winter break. My son-in-law, Keith Mattes, played in it for many years, and also developed a friendship with Susan. A day or two after she passed, Keith and I were talking, and he pointed out how much Susan loved that tournament. He said she truly loved tennis, loved watching the guys play and also loved talking with all of the competitors afterwards. I spoke to Susan’s sister Judy and we decided we would continue the tournament, re-naming it the “Susan Alvy Memorial Holiday Men’s Tournament.” The tournament was played at Carefree Racquet Club, from Dec. 20-Jan. 1 and will forever keep Susan’s name tied to what she loved. Susan, you will be missed.

The Mixed-Doubles League is in full swing, having begun the beginning of November. We have teams at the combined levels of 6.0, 7.0, 8.0 and 9.0. Play will continue through April, with playoffs for all divisions, regional championships for the 7.0 & 8.0 Divisions and the Sectional Championships for all four levels the end of May/beginning of June.

Captains for the 18 & Over, 40 & Over, and 55 & Over Leagues will be receiving information for registration by mid-January. If there any new captains or players, please let me know.

Lastly, a few words from four of our teams that attended Nationals this past fall:

Andrew Camacho, Captain of the 8.0 Mixed Team From Long Beach
It was an incredible experience getting to play at Nationals. Just the beauty of the scenery and the background made it so special. Our team, and most others, had issues with it being so cold for the morning matches. So we didn't start out how we wanted to, but we picked it right up and swept our next two matches which still kept us in it. In our final match, we needed to win one more court to win our flight. Instead, we lost it and finished fourth in the flight. It's crazy to be that close to finishing first, and then getting knocked to fourth because of one court. It was bitter sweet not advancing. At least now, we didn't have to wake up early.

The highlight had to be winning the 8.0 Captain's Sportsmanship Award. It was a real honor. We received a big banner for the club. And you cannot win that kind of award without an awesome team of people behind you. Lori D'Antonio, especially, helped out so much behind the scenes to make sure we represented our section really well. Lori also helped get our team there by organizing fundraisers and raffles and designing sweatshirts to sell.

I hope those who are deserving get to experience it at least once in their lives. Every team is thrilled to be there and are so nice. You find yourself applauding good points for other teams and giving high fives to strangers. That's really what it's all about.



 

Darlene Sotomayor, Captain of the 6.0 Mixed Team From Christopher Morley
Our 6.0 Mixed-Doubles team out of Christopher Morley came in second place in our flight. Our players fought hard and the competition was very strong as was expected. We met a lot of nice people, made new friends, and a good time was had by all.



 

Michelle Stoerback, Captain of the Women's 18 & Over 4.0 Team From Sportime Kings Park
The team is captained by Michelle Stoerback and Diann Starcke, and is coached by Tina Buschi. Our team, Sumo Citrus, swept their respective flight 4-0. We made it to the semifinals and ended up in fourth place. Our coach, Tina, the adult director at Sportime, traveled to Arizona with the team.



 

Jen McCormack, Captain of the 3.0 Women’s 18 & Over Team From Blue Point
Our 3.0 Women’s 18 & Over team from BluePoint, N.Y., headed to Nationals with an amazing 17-0 undefeated USTA season. Our journey to Nationals was infused with support from our family, friends and our home court. Although we left Nationals a little shy of winning the championship, only to lose by one court to the team that eventually took the National title, we walked away proud knowing we were part of the top three percent of the players playing nationwide at the USTA 3.0 Level.



 

Ann McGrath, Captain of the 55 & Over League 7.0 Division Team From Point Set
Having been to Nationals on a 2013 55-plus Long Island team, we needed to form our own team, including only three players from the 2013 team.

Dale Conway, Nancy Johnson and myself have all been lucky enough to have had the experience of the USTA Nationals Championship and all the excitement that comes along with participating in it.

We wanted to share that experience with others, so we hunkered down and began recruiting players to try and form our own Nationals bound team. For us, it wasn’t all about tennis (even though that was important), but it was about the relationships and memories we developed that will carry on for a lifetime.

Our team motto was ‘No Coach, No Drama, No Fundraiser, No Frills.’ And that we were!

One of the players’ husbands who traveled with us to Sectionals and to Nationals said he had never met a team before that were all so connected and truly had that ‘all for one and one for all’ attitude.

We won two out of the three matches we played at Nationals, but it wasn’t enough for us to advance. We did create a lot of chatter at Nationals with our team gift which was a CD of songs we each selected individually and on the cover was our team picture.

One of our players stood and thanked all of us at our final team dinner. She said going to the Nationals was a life-long dream of hers and had been on her bucket list. She couldn’t wait to go home and cross it off!

Kathy Miller

Kathy Miller is the manager at Carefree Racquet Club and is also the Adult League Coordinator for USTA/Long Island. She may be reached at kathym65@aol.com.