The senior women's 3.5 team at the Innisbrook Hilton Resort earned a trip to the USTA/Florida Section State Tournament with its win over Lakewood Country Club Saturday.
Innisbrook, unbeaten in its north-division competition among five teams entered a best 2-of-3 match playoff with Lakewood, the south-division winner among six teams. The first two playoff matches were won by Innisbrook 2-1, with Lakewood defaulting one of the three doubles positions each match due to injury and shortage of players.
"This year's senior team is basically the same as last year's that finished second in the division," said Judy Murphy, Innisbrook's captain and the league's coordinator. "Only Barbara Raum and Bonnie Neiman are new to the team this year."
The Innisbrook team frequently plays together and on various leagues, such as PADL, Satellite and Racqueteers, Murphy said. Partnerships vary.
In the determining playoff match Saturday, Anne Hammond and Jocie Doucette lost 7-6 (8-6), 7-6 (7-4) in the No. 1 position to Lakewood's Alice Belanger and Judy Charlton. Lakewood defaulted the No. 3 position to even the team score 1-1.
Innisbrook's No. 2 team Raum and Phyllis Baker-Gary outlasted Fran Matwijczyk and Elaine Concord 6-4, 4-6, 6-4.
"We plan to keep on working and, hopefully, keep on winning," Murphy said. "We all are playing regularly and will begin to schedule some specific practices for the team. We're looking forward to doing well at state."
Joining Murphy, Neiman, Raum, Baker-Gary, Hammond and Doucette on the nine-player squad are Kathi Roberts, Midge Spaulding and Jean McKenzie.
The state tournament is May 16-18 in Pinellas County, hosted by Countryside Country Club and Royal Racquet Club in Clearwater.
OTHER SENIOR WOMEN'S TEAMS: The women's 4.5 senior team, captained by New Port Richey's Ria Graham, qualified its team for the state event with matches against the 4.0 local champion, Treasure Island.
Graham and her squad of eight players won 10 of 12 points in a pro set qualifier. Members of the 4.5 team are Rudy McGeachan of New Port Richey, Connie Smith from Crystal Beach, Gina Rogers of Oldsmar, Barbara Brutus and Hank Skoczen of Safety Harbor, Kay Clark from Palm Harbor and Patty Brannon and Marion Murch from Clearwater.
The fourth senior women's team qualified for the state tournament is Feather Sound Country Club's 3.0.
SENIOR MEN'S PLAYOFF: Innisbrook's 3.5 senior men's team lost 2-1 to St. Petersburg Tennis Center Sunday to give the center the overall division title among 16 teams and the right to advance to the state tournament in May.
The Innisbrook team, captained by Conrad Berhorster, included Jim Utley, Willie Coquelet, Glenn Merrer, Bob McKenzie, Jerry McDowell, Ellis Gant, Lester Drew and Dick Roberts. Innisbrook was unbeaten in the north division among five teams.
The state tournament for men is also at Countryside Country Club and Royal Racquet Club in Clearwater May 16-18.
MIXED DOUBLES CHAMPS: Pasco and Pinellas players based at Innisbrook won the USTA/Florida District 12 Mixed Doubles League among eight teams and will compete in next month's state tournament at Palm Coast. Innisbrook lost just one team match in its division in the 14-week league.
Playing for Innisbrook are couples Dale and Malcolm Slive, Maureen and Ron Sternberg, Barbara and Jim Raum and Debbie and Ed McGinley. Cheryl Cravener, Wendy Kall, Anne Marie DiToro, Deborah Searce, Reinhard Lauterbach and Tom Butler round out the team. Malcolm Slive is the captain.