Women's team reaches sectionals

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Before the Level 3.5 semifinals at the USTA Georgia Seniors League Tournament on June 7, the women playing out of Petersburg Racquet Club checked out of their hotel. They didn’t expect to last beyond that point.

Lynn Heron said she didn’t even pack enough clothes for the additional day in Columbus, Ga.

“I never thought I’d be there that long,” she said.

What might have seemed like a slight inconvenience turned into a major reward when they went on to become state champions.

In the semifinals, the Martinez squad was set to play a Columbus team that had ousted them in last year’s tournament en route to the state title. They were the only team to beat Petersburg in 2008.

“We knew it would be a very competitive match – and it certainly was,” said captain Joan Steinberg.

Petersburg prevailed in two of the three matches to advance to the state finals the next day; a result that sent the women into an excited state and back to the hotel’s front desk.

“We were expecting to leave. We thought we were out of here but then it was like ‘Whoa, we need to stay another night,’” Steinberg said.

Petersburg had a quick turnaround the next day. It finished play on a Sunday evening around 10:15 and began the finals just before noon on a Monday.

Prior to their departure for the courts, Steinberg told her team that anything it did beyond that point was just an added bonus.

“I told them that we were already winners, so just go out there and have fun because we’ve never made it this far. Either way, we’re going home happy,” said Steinberg.

Petersburg, which consists of Heron, Steinberg, Deborah Patat, Linda Reich, Carolyn Inscho, Ok Kartye and Ann McQuaig, went on to beat a team from northeast Atlanta and was crowned champions of Georgia. It will represent the state in the USTA Southern Section Championships in Birmingham, Ala., beginning on July 24.

“The entire tournament was a great experience,” Steinberg said. “It is always fun to be able to participate in a tennis tournament at the state level, but to actually win the tournament and be able to represent the state of Georgia at the sectionals is really a very special honor.”

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