LONG BEACH, N.Y.—Beach Tennis USA’s 2009 national tour has watched numerous teams capture tournament crowns and register their first-ever BTUSA titles.
Let’s face the facts.
Twin sisters Laura and Lisa Maloney are the ones playing with the house money. They are the ones with the odds stacked in their favor. They are the ones who’ve garnered national visibility and staked their claim as the fiercest tandem in the land.
This could just as well give the other contenders extra juice, as the bullseye on the Maloneys’ back could make it their tournament to lose.
The defending national champions --who've carried an unblemished record on the Beach Tennis USA circuit since 2007--have become the hunted in the women's pro division.
New promising teams have surfaced, one of which has scorched the sun-splashed beaches this.
Nicole Melch and three-time national champion Nadia Johnson (a Long Island native who’s essentially playing on her home court) have proved there's a new sheriff in town.
The duo’s impassable desire and fiery focus has produced a winning formula.
Still, memories of last year's national championship are all but swept underneath the rug.
Johnson has never been a player who harps on wins and losses (there's also just a few losses she's been handed during her career).
Reminding Johnson of Laura and Lisa Maloney's national championship under the lights in Long Beach, N.Y., has been akin to tossing a match into a fuel-drenched bucket.
She's burning to re-write the script this summer.
At the same time, don’t sleep on the fresh faces.
Joslyn Burkett and Lee Whitwell (San Diego, CA) defeated Renee Brigden and Jessica Baker (Hermosa Beach, CA) 8-3 during the Long Beach Open. However, they circumvented the daunting of having to play the twins, who were in California at the time.
During the Virginia Beach Blast in June, Charlene Haarhoff and Nadine Fahoum defeated Linda Zaragosa and Megan Plinktin in the Women’s Pro division, 8-6, punching their ticket to this weekend’s National Championship.
Most recently, at the Windjammer in South Carolina, Erika Krisan (Atlanta, GA ) and Alice Kryder (Charleston, SC) defeated Ashley Farrior and Corrin Enwright 9-7, automatically qualifying for a National Championship spot.
Don't sleep on 'em.