Top-seeded Southern California was victorious recently at the USTA Boys & Girls 16's Intersectional Team Championships held at the Pierremont Oaks Tennis Club in Shreveport, La., winning for the fourth time overall and the first since 2006.
Coached by Brett Masi, the head men's coach at University of San Diego, the team was lead by members were Robbie Bellamy, Ashley Dai, Gregory Garcia, Abraham Hewko, Sivan Krems, Jana McCord, Ciro Riccardi and Alyssa Smith.
SCTA defeated Southwest, Pacific Northwest and Mid-Atlantic in the preliminary round-robin group stage. SCTA then beat Texas 5-4 in the semifinals and Southern 7-2 in the finals.
"We won four three-setters, that's what happened," second-year coach Masi told the Shreveport Times, which provided excellent coverage of the event throughout. "The kids stepped up and I'm really proud of them. Southern's a great team and they fought their butts off. We just came out on the right side on those three-setters. One match goes the other way and we could have come out on the other end of it."
Masi praised Bellamy for winning a clutch match down 4-0 in the third set. "The kid has so much fight in him," Masi said.
Southern California's McCord then overcame a second-set lull to defeat Mia King, 6-3, 1-6, 6-2, clinching the title for her squad.
"In the time between the second and third sets, it was running through my mind that I needed to win to push us over the top," McCord told the Times. "Our coach got my focus back on playing my best tennis. He told me not to worry about winning, to block that out and play my game.
"It seems surreal to know that we won and I played a key role. It means so much to me to do that for my team."
Results of the finals are listed below:
Boys Singles: Elliott Orkin (Southern) def. Gregory Garcia (SC) 6-3, 6-3. Ciro Riccardi (SC) def. Matthew Mendez (Southern) 6-4, 2-6, 6-1. Robbie Bellamy (SC) def. Zachary Kennedy (Southern) 6-3, 3-6, 6-4.
Girls Singles: Ashley Dai (SC) def. Kourtney Keegan (Southern) 6-3, 6-4. Alyssa Smith (SC) def. Sydney Campbell (Southern) 6-4, 6-7, 6-3. Jana McCord (SC) def. Mia King (Southern) 6-3, 1-6, 6-2.
Doubles: Bellamy/Riccardi (SC) def. Orkin/Marshall Sharp (Southern) 6-1, 6-4. Dai/Sivan Krems (SC) def. Campbell/Allison Miller (Southern) 6-3, 6-3. Kennedy/King (Southern) def. Hewko/Smith (SC) 7-6, 6-4.