Tuesday, June 23, 2009

O sister, where art thou?

Before a raucous San Diego crowd that's witnessed their dominance, Lisa and Laura Maloney were struggling.

Perhaps all the chatter of the the San Diego Smash tournament being gift-wrapped for the sisters began to ooze through their heads.

Remember, more athletes have been hampered by the hype and hyperbole than by the hurricanes.

But Laura and Lisa were not the same players who rolled to a convincing national championship victory in Long Beach, N.Y.

They weren't the same team who showed their meddle throughout California last year.

They certainly weren't the same team that's been elevating their play to a new zip code this year.

Having lost control of their no.1 seed, the Maloneys were pushed back to no.3 after dropping a pair of early matches.

The frustration seemed to avalanche and for a moment, it seemed that Nadia Johnston and Nicole Melch--who are leading this year's tour in point standings--would have some breathing room.

Not so fast.

The Maloneys, the top-ranked tandem on the Beach Tennis USA landscape, showed their resolve.

Their shortcomings and miscommunication was quickly buried under the burning-hot sand.

The sisters ran the table over the ensuing string of games.

They weren't giving teams a slow, painful death either. They were punching opponents in the mouth from the start, delivering quick executions that catapulted them into the top of the bracket.

Back in familiar title game territory, the Maloneys proved the world once again belonged to them.

The well-sculpted Maloneys obliterated Lee Whitewell and Joslyn Burkett, emerging with an 8-3 victory.

Another match, another championship, another trophy as the homegrown talents continue to wallop the competition this year.

As much as they've made their presence known in Cali, a new challenge awaits in New York.

This national championship has more juice than Florida right now.

Nadia Johnson, a three-time national championship and current Long Island native, has been taking the world by wildfire with new partner Nicole Melch.

Watching the newly-minted squad dismantle teams is akin to watching two professionals matchup against team two blindfolded and handcuffed rookies.

I see the future...

A down-to-the-wire battle between Johnson-Melch and the Maloneys, before a jam-packed crowd televised live via the Tennis Channel.