USTA National Team Championship Women’s Intersectional

Former City Champions Kirsten Elim and Julie Ogborne Contribute to National Win for Mid-Atlantic Section

Hurricane Nicole.  Rain delays.  Abrupt schedule changes.  Three different match formats.  The Mid-Atlantic women’s team endured many challenges en route to their first-place finish at the USTA National Women’s Intersectional Team Championships in Plantation, Florida, November 7-13.  The winning squad included two Richmonders and former William & Mary players Kirsten Elim and Julie Ogborne, Gretchen Rush, Alicia Rowley, and Andrea Rice.

The 2022 National Team Intersectionals boasted its largest participation numbers in the tournament’s history with over 350 women competing from all of the USTA sections in seven age divisions.  Second-seeded Mid-Atlantic started the 55s event with a 5-0 win over New England, all in straight sets, and was expected to have a BYE on the second day of play.  A last-minute decision was made to double-up on match play due to the impending arrival of Hurricane Nicole.  The MAS team battled Florida in a shortened 8-game pro-set format and led 2-1 after singles play and were leading in both doubles matches when rain suspended play for a day and a half.  The semi-final resumed on the final day of play and with the score tied 2-2, the team of Elim/Ogborne clinched the deciding match 8-2 and MAS advanced to the final scheduled 15 minutes after the win!

In the championship final versus Southern California, the match format changed for the third time to 2 full sets with a match tie-breaker in lieu of a third set.  Southern Cal took a 1-0 lead after Kathryn Settles defeated Elim in a tough battle.  MAS rebounded with a straight-set win from Fredericksburg’s Rowley against Judy Newman and Ogborne trailed 4-7 in the 3rd set match tie-breaker before prevailing 10-8 over Kathy Archibald.  With MAS leading 2-1 going into doubles competition, only one victory was needed to clinch 1st place.  Rowley paired with former tour player Gretchen Rush and were leading 6-3, 3-0 while Elim/Ogborne were leading 6-0, 5-0 when a torrential downpour suspended play!  After a 90-minute delay, Elim and Ogborne won the next game and clinched the team win!  Rowley and Rush also won 6-3, 6-0 and all players raced to the airport to catch flights.

“This will always be a special title and memorable experience for this team.  Many of us have known each other for many years and battled for each other.  We persevered through much adversity and many obstacles.  This was a true team effort with every person contributing to this national title.  Our team had tremendous depth and was especially solid in doubles when the match was on the line,” said team captain Julie Ogborne.  MAS also won the national title in 2017 when Rice, Rowley, Elim, Ogborne and Leslie Butterworth defeated Southern 3-2.

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