Teams representing Escambia and Lee-Charlotte celebrated over the weekend after winning titles in the 3.5/4.0/4.5 divisions at the 2021 Tri-Level Sectional Championships and securing their spots in the 2021 Tri-Level National Invitational to be held next year.
Inclement weather was a major opponent on the courts during the event, held Nov. 19-21 at the USTA National Campus in Orlando, as teams not only had to battle their opponents but also the rain and wind.
Emerging from flight play in the men’s competition were Duval County (Charles J. Williams YMCA, Jacksonville), Lee-Charlotte (Florida Gulf Coast University, Fort Myers), Miami-Dade County (Doral Park Country Club, Doral), and Orange-Seminole (Lake Cane Tennis Center, Orlando). In the semifinals, Lee-Charlotte knocked out Orange-Seminole 2-1 with wins on doubles courts 1 and 2, while Miami-Dade swept Duval 3-0 to advance to the championship match.
In the final Lee-Charlotte would come out on top, with a clean sweep of Miami-Dade on all three courts. The most contested court was doubles line 3, where Lee-Charlotte pair Forest Dennis and Richard Albright pulled out a 0-6, 6-4, 1-0 win. Jacob Toffler and Matt Rob Maguire took court two with a 7-5, 6-1 score while Miami-Dade Antonio Necuze and Ricardo Matos Casas retired on line one, giving Lee-Charlotte’s Connor Molina and Kevin Tran the win.
In the women’s division, Collier County (Naples Grande Beach Resort, Naples), Escambia County (Shoreline Park, Gulf Breeze), Hillsborough County (HCC Tennis Complex, Tampa), and Orange-Seminole (USTA National Campus, Orlando) all breezed through their respective flights to move on to the semifinals. Hillsborough triumphed over Orange-Seminole 3-0 while Escambia defeated Collier 2-1 to progress to the final.
The final was held in a round-robin format, with Escambia coming out on top with a 1-0 win. The Escambia squad dropped only three of eight sets and won a total of 34 games.
Tri-Level League is a doubles format designed to provide a unique team league opportunity by combining players of differing NTRP levels on teams in local competition, advancing to state/regional championships, and to the national championships for the 3.5/4.0/4.5 divisions. The winners of the 3.5/4.0/4.5 divisions, the Escambia County women and Lee-Charlotte men, will advance to the 2021 USTA League Tri-Level National Invitational, to be held March 4-6, 2022, in Omni Rancho Las Palmas, Calif.
Men’s 3.5/4.0/4.5 Division
Final: Lee-Charlotte County (Florida Gulf Coast University, Fort Myers) d. Miami-Dade County (Doral Park Country Club, Doral) 3-0
Championship Match Results:
4.5 Doubles: Connor Molina/Kevin Tran (LeeChar) d. Antonio Necuze/Ricardo Matos Casas 4-6, 7-6 (retired)
4.0 Doubles: Jacob Toffler/Matt Rob Maguire (LeeChar) d. Eli Panell/Diego Mujica 7-5, 6-1
3.5 Doubles: Forest Dennis/Richard Albright (lee/Char) d. Jorge Rassi/Eduardo Saborit 0-6, 6-4, 1-0
Lee-Charlotte County Season Roster: Connor Molina (captain), Kevin Tran (co-captain), Gavin Szoka, Ignacio Castro, Forest Dennis, Matt Rob Maguire, Rejai Goodridge, Liam Ryan, Jacob Toffler, Alexander Vega Soto, Richard Albright, Blake Roth
Women’s 3.5/4.0/4.5 Division
Final: Escambia County (Shoreline Park, Gulf Breeze) finished ahead of Hillsborough County (HCC Tennis Complex, Tampa) 1-0 to 0-1 in round-robin play
Escambia County Season Roster: Lori Gonzalez (captain), Carel Demanss, Claudia Simmons, Arlene Doyle, Shellie McCall, Charlotte Stark, Whitney Sumrall, Kim Pennington, Kristyn Miller, Whitney Calametti, Jennifer Passeretti, Rachelle Isakson
For more info on Tri-Level or other USTA Florida Leagues, or to sign-up for a league, please visit www.ustaflorida.com/leagues.