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Valley Tennis scores big hit

June 1, 2008 03:22 AM

by Joe Deburro published in The Republican on Sunday, 6/01/08. 

A change in the method of determining standings made for some confusion early on but excitement overall in men's and mixed doubles divisions of USTA League Tennis' Valley League this year.

For the past few years, all Valley League divisions determined team standings by the cumulative number of individual match wins. Prior to this season, men's (overwhelmingly) and mixed (narrowly) teams voted to rank team standings by team wins.

So if a team wins a match 3-2, it's just as good as winning 5-0 (except if it came down to tiebreakers, but that's more complication than we need on a Sunday morning). For example, Team A wins all 10 of its matches 3-2; Team B wins eight of its 10 matches 5-0 but loses twice to Team A by 3-2. At 10-0, Team A finishes ahead of Team B's 8-2. Last year, Team A, with 30 individual match wins, would have finished behind Team B, with 44 individual match wins.

Men and mixed captains wisely decided that a team with a 10-0 record shouldn't finish anywhere but first place. After all, it's a team sport, not a cumulative individual match wins sport. Just my two cents' worth. And some day, maybe, in a perfect Valley League tennis world just like the rest of the team sports world, the first tiebreaker won't be individual match wins but ... team head-to-head results. Today I get four cents' worth.

No team went undefeated, but here are the Valley League's men's and mixed results:

In men's 4.0, the Amherst Gents of Arthur Carrington Tennis Academy in Amherst, captained by Nathaniel Whitaker, and the Enfield Slammers (Enfield Tennis Club, captain Rolly Ciocca) tied atop the standings with 10-2 records. Amherst took first via the first tiebreaker - good ol' individual wins - 41-36.

The Bangers (Enfield Tennis Club, Michael Dupuis) won the men's 3.5 title with a 10-2 record. T and T (Carrington, co-captains Ricardo Metz and Howell Lee) grabbed the second district berth because of ... good ol' individual wins. T and T and No Return (Ludlow Tennis Club, Rick Turek) finished tied at 9-3, with T and T winning the tiebreaker of 38 individual wins to 36.

Straight Sets (Carrington, Scott Finch) was first at 3.0 with an 11-1 record. Setups (Ludlow, Ken Miron) was second at 10-2.

The top two teams from each men's level advance to the USTA New England Red District championships Aug. 1-3 in greater Springfield.

Mixed 8.0 was a barnburner of a season, with three teams at 5-3 and a fourth at 4-4. Sunrise (Ludlow, Walt Kiley and Brian Dearden) broke out on top with 16 individual wins, and East Coast Swingers (Carrington, Jorge Vazquez) took second with 14.

At 7.0, Mad Scramblers (Carrington, Mary Kwan) topped the division at 6-2, with Deuces Wild (Berkshire West Athletic Club in Pittsfield, Laurie Andretta) second at 5-3.

Mama's and Papa's (Ludlow Tennis Club, Chip Babineau) won 6.0 with a 7-1 record; Long Shots (Ludlow, Pat Murry) was second at 6-2.

First- and second-place mixed teams are headed to Portland, Maine, June 20-22 for the New England championships.

ADULT BEGINNER LESSONS: The Springfield Tennis Club's four-week program of lessons for adult beginners starts Saturday. Class meets every Saturday in June from 1 to 3 p.m. at the club-maintained clay courts at Forest Park.

The program is geared toward adults who have little or no experience or for those who haven't played in a while. Instructors emphasize the fundamentals - forehand, backhand, serve and volley, scorekeeping and etiquette.

The cost is $20. To preregister, send a check payable to the Springfield Tennis Club to STC, P.O. Box 80507, Springfield, MA 01138. For more information, send an e-mail to admin@springfieldtennis club.com.

NET NOTES: June is always the month for The Republican's Sheldon M. Rosenthal Memorial Junior Tournament, scheduled June 18-22 at the Forest Park hard courts. Starting times are: June 18, boys 16- and 18-and-under singles, 3:30; June 19, girls 16s and 18s singles, 3:30; June 20: boys and girls 12s and 14s singles, 3:30; June 21: all doubles, 9 a.m. The tournament is free, new balls are provided for each match and trophies go to winners and runners-up. To enter, visit masslive.com/sports on the Internet or call 788-1210 weekdays after 5:30. Children under 13 cannot enter online. We'll publish the names of all entrants in The Republican on June 15, 17 and 18 ... The Springfield Tennis Club hosts social mixers the first Saturday of the month from June through October. The first of the season will be Saturday from 8 a.m. to noon at the Forest Park clay courts. Players of all levels will be rotated for one-set doubles matches; neither partners or reservations are required. For more information call Sandie Powell at 786-8099.