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USTA Jr. Team Tennis National Championships – Tweener Highlights

The Tundra Tweeners trip to San Diego was fun for all the Tweeners and their families.  Here are some of the highlights from the event:

1) The kids ended up getting to play teams from 5 different states:  Maryland, Utah, Minnesota, Massachusetts and New Jersey.

2) The Tweeners, who went 4-0 in team matches not played on Saturday, finished in 9th place overall.  Their overall record was 4-2, but they won their last 3 matches after losing both Saturday matches.  The Tweeners were the only team in the competition other than the National Champions from Texas that can say that!  Also noteworthy was how the Tweeners came up big in their two playoff matches.  First, they went 5-0 in tiebreaks in their first playoff match en route to a close win over a Middles States team from New Jersey.  In their final playoff match in the competition, down 26-29, Matt and Josh won the last 3 games of their match to force an over overall tie vs the Massachusetts team.  Rachel and Josh then got to play a deciding match tiebreak against Massachusetts’ best mixed doubles team, taking it 10-4, to cap off an exciting 30-29 win.

3) The Tweeners got to play perhaps the strongest team (Utah) in the competition on Saturday.   Utah ended up taking 3rd place, and perhaps would have been national champs had they not had to forfeit girls singles in their final pool match and in the National semifinal on Sunday due to two girls being unable to play for religious reasons.  The Tweeners put up a better score against Utah than the team from New York that they beat for 3rd place overall!

4) The Tweeners got to play last year’s National Champions (Minnesota) in pool play, losing a close 31-26 match. 

5) As luck had it, the Tweeners got to play a practice match vs the Texas team on Friday morning before the event started.  Texas ended up winning the National Championship three days later.  Texas’ mixed doubles team never gave up more than 2 games the entire competition until the final….except for in our practice match when Rachel and Josh took them to a tiebreak.  Phil and Elissa also played a strong match versus them.  Our kids held their own against the best of the best!

6) The coaches of the 14 other teams from around the country selected Rachel Allen for the overall Girls Sportsmanship Award.  Had the National USTA also incorporated a Team Sportsmanship Award, I have no doubt the Tweeners would have won a Team Award as well!  

7) The kids won Most Creative/Best Group costume at Sunday night’s Halloween Bash!  They were the life of the party attended by over 200 kids.  They were the first to hit the dance floor, and the last to leave….the DJ actually had to kick them off the dance floor over a half hour after all the other kids had left the party!  

8) Although the kids did not execute any successful conventional tweener shots in San Diego, Josh had the shot of the weekend when he hit the world’s first ever upside down tweener.  While laying on his back in the middle of the court after slipping, Josh hit a ball between his legs that were extended up in the air, then was able to get back up and eventually won the point! 

All in all, it was a special weekend to remember for a lifetime for the Midwest Section Champions and their families!!

Dane Allen

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