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LI Women Win Nationals

January 23, 2018 11:34 AM

Long Island has a National Champion USTA League team, as Sportime Lynbrook's 65-and-over 7.0 women captained by Leslie Wecksler and Patricia Molloy, won in Surprise, Arizona this past weekend. 

The team won the National Invitationals title. Team members are: (from left in photo with banner) Dale Conway. Nancy Johnson. Maureen Cornacchia. Nancy Rosenthal. Mary Jo Cecil. Leslie Wecksler (captain). Pat Molloy (captain). Julia Berkowitz. Sue D'Alessandro. Jane Muller. Cathy Caldwell and Arethia Williams.

Captains Molloy and Wecksler shared their thoughts about the big win:

What a surreal moment!  On Sunday, January 21st, the Molloy/Wecksler 65 7.0 team from USTA Eastern/Sportime-Lynbrook received Championship Medals for being the #1 team at the 65 7.0 Nationals/Invitational Tournament in Surprise, Ariz.

Just 45 minutes earlier, we were cheering on our teammates who had just won Court 2 but lost Court 3.  Now it was up to Court 1 to determine the Championship or 2nd place.  Our Court 1 players lost the first set and were down in the second 1-5.  Our teammates won the next 5 games and Southern (Louisiana) won the following game to tie the set at 6-6.  We quickly won the second set tiebreak and now had to play the 3rd set super tiebreak! Our team steamrolled our opponents and won 10-2!  What incredible tennis by our team and an extraordinary comeback! 

This amazing accomplishment felt unreal but was familiar to a core group of our team.  Last weekend was the fifth time we had competed at the Nationals in Surprise, with a 3rd place win (2011 60 7.0) and a Championship win (2012 60 7.0)!  The two-time Champions are:  Cathy Caldwell (captain of 60 7.0), Mary Jo Cecil, Dale Conway, Nancy Johnson, Pat Molloy (co-captain of 65 7.0) and Leslie Wecksler (co-captain of 65 7.0). Last year, our fourth time at Nationals, we had the honor of being the first 65 team to represent USTA Eastern and Long Island at the Nationals/Invitational Tournament.

Many of us have played USTA tennis together for years, but we didn’t become a cohesive, winning team until Tina Buschi, adult tennis director of Sportime Lynbrook, became our coach.  After one year of coaching, we earned a spot at Sectionals, followed by Nationals.  We attribute our original and continued success to Tina and her extensive knowledge of strategy, shot selection, etc. and to our work ethic and love of tennis.  We view Tina as an invaluable part of our team and were very appreciative when Bea Bielik, general manager of Sportime Lynbrook and Sportime Kings Park, financially supported Tina’s trip to Arizona.  Now our team was complete! 

Kathy Miller, USTA Adult League Coordinator - Long Island, was also instrumental in our success.  She ensured that we would compete against at least one other 65 7.0 team. It took a lot of time and phone calls but she was able to find a captain and put together another team.

Another person we have to thank is Mike Pavlides, past president of USTA Long Island and Scholastic Representative Chair/NassauAlthough we are not particularly superstitious, we felt that we had a little extra something on our side when Mike gave us pink USTA wristbands to wear during our matches.  Mike had given the same wristbands to the 55 7.0 Huntington Indoor team, and they went on the win the Nationals a few weeks before we did.

We have a great team! However, we are still working hard to improve. Our game is evolving as we age and in many cases, we are playing our best tennis. We are fortunate that we have the support of each other as teammates and friends and the support of other people as well. We are looking forward to another USTA 65 7.0 Championship next year!