When most tournament directors say that the event will be played rain or shine they mean it. Jessica and Nathan LeFevre faced a tough challenge this past weekend at the Shore CURE in Middletown Township, NJ. With the men’s open and women’s open to begin play in the morning and the “Professionals” draw to begin in the evening, they had to make quick decisions and be very creative with the draw. Why? Because a sudden snow/ice storm hit the tri-state area pretty hard and teams cancelled last minute.
Both the women’s and men’s draw stopped play early in the afternoon and semis and finals were postponed for Sunday morning. The “professional” draws featured seven of the top 25 teams in the country, including National Champions Mark Parsons and Mike Stulac. Unfortunately most of the “local” teams were strained at home and could not make the drive. Lubow-DeRose, Cosimano-Haller, Moore-O’Connor, Parsons and Broderick did not make it and a new draw had to be made. As of 5:00pm the new draw was done. Chris Gambino joined forces with Mike Stulac while the remaining three teams complete the draw: Berka-Eberle, LeFevre-Misitrano and Brebdberg-Wilkinson.
The weather was brutal. Heavy rain, slush and extremely windy conditions did not make it too much but it was the same for everyone. The excuse was always the same: Play paddle and raise money for two local charities, Cancer Support Community (The Diney Goldsmith Center) and the Cristine Meredith Miele Foundation.
When it came down to stepping onto the court, Berka-Eberle showed why they are one of the best teams in the country. It was a 6-3, 6-3 win versus LeFevre-Misitrano. Both sets were close up until the score was 4-3. The Chicago team played their best paddle in the last few games of each set and secured a spot on the finals.
The other semis featured Mike Stulac and Chris Gambino playing Sebastian Bredberg and George Wilkinson. Gambino-Stulac finally pulled off the first set by 7-5 after almost an hour of play and then closed the match by 6-2 in the second. Stulac actually believes that this young new team could soon become the new studs of paddle. In Stulac’s own words:
Every time I play them they get better with every game.
On Sunday the weather was much nicer. Blue skies and temperature in the 40s. Gambino-Stulac played long and steady points to defeat Berka-Eberly 6-2 6-3. Although after being 5-1 down in the second Berka-Eberly seemed to find their rhythm, their attempt of a comeback was not enough. Gambino and Stulac made no errors in the last game and took the title home. Gambino wins his second year in a row and also his second tournament in two weeks.
Other finals include:
- Men’s Open – Todd Axt – Walter O’Connor def. Joe Duddy – Brian Duddy 6-4, 6-0
- Women’s Open – Kerri Delmonico – Maria Manley def. Jessica LeFevre – Joanne O’Shaugnessy 6-4, 6-4
Just like Chris Gambino in the “Professionals” draw, Todd Axt and Walter O’Connor and Maria Manley also win for second year in a row. Click here to see a 100 balls rally from the “Professionals” final match. Check back soon for pictures from the event.