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Lancaster Tennis Team Qualifies for Nationals

August 22, 2018

LANCASTER -- The New England Tennis Center’s Under 14 Junior Tennis Team has earned a berth in the United States Tennis Association’s 2018 National Junior Team Tennis Championships.

The group punched their ticket to the event by winning the USTA New England JTT Sectional Championships, held at Amherst College from Aug. 15-16.

The sectional event was a follow-up to regular-season league play, which led the first-year NETC squad to an Eastern Mass. final and a win against a talented Lakeville team, qualifying them for the sectional championships. The event included league-winning teams from all over New England.

The tournament format featured boys’ and girls’ singles and doubles, as well as a mixed-doubles pair. Scoring was determined by a unique total-games-won precedent. This scoring encourages competitors to fight to win every game regardless of set score.

On the first day of the sectional event, NETC displayed its prowess with a decisive win over The Edge Essex, 39-13, followed by a 40-7 trouncing of Hampshire Hills. The day, however, ended with a loss to a strong Norwalk Elite team by a close 31-26 score.

On the following and closing day of the event, the NETC squad, despite taking the loss to Norwalk, fought hard to recover and defeated a tough North Hampton team by a 37-11 score. At this point, NETC, with all their matches completed for the event, had to wait for Norwalk to complete two matches before a game total could be calculated. Considering the strength of the Norwalk Elite team, NETC had little chance of getting the win, but stayed onsite with fingers crossed.

Things turned in favor of the NETC team as the Norwalk team failed to score enough game wins in their last two matches, giving NETC a 142-141 total-games victory.

The USTA National JTT event will be played at the new USTA Tennis Center in Orlando, Florida, from Nov. 1-4.

The NETC Team is located in Lancaster and is coached by NETC pro and Nike Tennis Camp Assistant Director Ryan Holmes, from Boston.

NETC players, with hometown and tournament results in parentheses, include Kennedy Alexis (Westminster, 4-0), Ben Grace (Concord, 3-1), Emma Hakala (Bolton, 3-1), Connor Liona (Westford, 3-1), Stoney Shen (Acton, 3-1), Kristen Su (Westford, 3-1), Grace Versaggi (Carlisle, 3-1), Cooper Austen (Concord, could not attend).

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