Thirty-four enthusiastic Sun Lakes Pickleball Club at IronOaks members competed in the annual Team Pickleball competition. With two full round robin groups, the Peace Group and the Love Group, followed by semi-final and final matches, the competition played out over six hours.
Tournament director Greg Mather produced a very balanced field through random draw where all teams had A/B Plus, B and C-rated players. The round robin matches were extremely close and had to go to tie breakers to determine semi-finalists. One semi-final match ended in a 2-2 tie meaning points lost had to determine the winner. Funny thing, both teams lost 37 points so the tiebreaker method was also tied. Director Mather then asked each team captain to choose one player from each team to play a sudden-death eight-point doubles game to decide the match. Folks, it doesn’t get any more exciting than this! Or does it?
Two teams out of the Love Group made it to the finals. Despite mounting a tremendous comeback, the men’s doubles team of Milt Sharpe and Mike Mann (substitute for Virgil Fisher who had to leave early when his dog turned up ill) came up short losing to the powerhouse team of Chuck Myrick and Rocky Myers. The most exciting match of the day was on the adjacent court where Lorri Hibbert and Terry Finley survived three match points and came back from a 7-14 deficit to win 16-14. With both teams winning one match, the all-important mixed doubles matches would be the deciding factor. The Fisher-Mann duo played one more outstanding match edging the very tough Koepp-Myers pair. In the other mixed doubles match Osborn-Myrick jumped out to a quick 10-2 lead over Hibbert-Zapatka led by Osborn’s strategically placed angled shots and Myrick’s quickness and powerful overhead smashes. But as had happened all day, Lorri Hibbert was not to be denied. Stepping up her game with pinpoint accuracy time and again she either won the point outright or put her partner in position to win the point. The come-from-behind 15-12 victory gave her team the coveted SLPCIO Gold Ball Trophy. “That was some pretty good B-level play” was overheard after the finals match was indicative of the outstanding play by B players Hibbert, Finley, Osborn and Myers as well as C players Sharpe and Koepp. Congratulations to all the SLPCIO participants on an outstanding day of Pickleball.
Many thanks to Greg Mather for volunteering his valuable time running the tournament and to Bev Krueger and volunteers who produced an outstanding array of refreshments and food. Special thanks to the volunteers who helped with the temporary nets, court striping, setup and teardown.
Watch for more Sun Lakes Pickleball Club at IronOaks events soon. To learn more about Pickleball or the club please go to https://sites.google.com/site/slpcioaz/ for all the information you will need. v