» News

TA Turtles Gone Corporate win Corporate Tennis Challenge!

May 26, 2012 10:09 AM
Turtles Repeat as Corporate Tennis Challenge Champions
by Pieter Van Bennekom, Chief Editor of Progressive Business Publications, Malvern, PA
BETHANY BEACH, DE -- The Tennis-Addicted Turtles Gone Corporate repeated as champions of the 2012 Corporate Tennis Challenge at the Sea Colony tennis and beach resort the weekend of May 18-20, winning all three head-to-head matches, although they had to go to overtime in the last match.
L to R: Laura Faulkner, Tania Sawcheck, Jimmy Yen, Cindy Basile (co-captain), Alain Bolleta, Joe Ferry ( co-captain), John Ellis.  Tennis Addicted Turtles Gone Corporate 2012 Middle States Corporate Tennis Challenge Champions
The Turtles (the name comes from a social club started by World War II fighter pilots) strengthened an already powerful team from the previous year with the addition of top male and female players, John Ellis, a former teammate of some of the other Turtles on their 4.5 Delaware USTA team with a hard serve and an imposing presence at the net, and Laura Faulkner, a first-grade teacher from New Jersey who’s incredibly steady and gets every ball back.
Even with those significant reinforcements, the Turtles team from Exton, PA, was pushed into overtime in its last match against former champion AstraZeneca, the Wilmington, DE-based pharmaceutical giant’s team led by Captain Lisa Wilkinson that is entirely composed of employees and allows no ringers on its team.
The Turtles were ahead of AstraZeneca on points after the four sets, but AstraZeneca had won the so-called “designated” mixed doubles match when Corporate Vice President Johan Hoegstedt, a powerful Swede whose brother coaches Maria Sharapova, and the tall Amy Cohen with the great reach, had won their set 10-2 over the Turtles starters, the steady Faulkner and Romanian-born Alain Bolleta. (Joe Ferry, the driving force between the Turtles team, and his field captain, Cindy Basile, won the other mixed doubles set).
That meant the match had to go into overtime, until either Turtles won one more game or AstraZeneca could manage to win nine games in a row. A miracle comeback and upset by AstraZeneca would have created a three-way logjam at the top of standings between three teams, all tied with 2-1 records, leaving the determination of the ultimate winner to a calculator as it would come down to percentage of total games won and lost.
However, the Turtles’ Ellis, the red-shoed menace who had replaced Bolleta towards the end of the set, ended the suspense right away in an anti-climax by easily holding serve in the first and only game of the overtime and finishing off the match, 32-23 in favor of the Turtles.
Final standings
That meant the Turtles finished the tournament undefeated with a 3-0 record after the weekend round-robin. The always strong University of Delaware squad was second with a 2-1 record, AstraZeneca wound up third at 1-2, while Everyone’s Racket, a merger of two teams centered around two Philadelphia sporting goods stores by that name, finished 0-3.
L to R: Orest Skoplyak, LIsa Murray, Kristin Mumford, Milos Markos and Dirk Heider (front) Missing: Mark Mumford,captain.  University of Delaware Corporate Team
L to R: Lisa Wilkinson (captain), Diep Cohen, Deb Touzell, Bob Brown.
Back Row: Rogelio Mosqueda, Johan Hoegstedt, Amy Cohen, Jim Hamilton.
Astra Zeneca Corporate Team
L to R: Lloyd Peterson, Lily Ho, Lesya Paisley (captain), Vinny Bonaccorso, missing Steve Sacks.
Everyone's Racquet of PATD, Philadelphia Corproate League Division Winner
Everyone’s Racquet, captained by Ukrainian-born Lesya Paisley, had some demoralizing bad luck during the tournament with the loss of a male player. He had to rush back home to be at his girlfriend’s hospital bedside after a serious car accident. Everyone’s Racquet won a consolation prize at the closing awards dinner at Harpoon Hanna’s in Fenwick Island by taking the trivia quiz contest – also after a tiebreaker over AstraZeneca.
The format of the Corporate Challenge, played on green clay courts under the auspices of USTA referee Kitty Perrin, emphasizes the importance of mixed doubles as teams play one pro set each of men’s and women’s doubles to 10 games, and two sets of mixed, also to 10. The competition was characterized by good sportsmanship throughout and Perrin had an easy time refereeing; she didn’t have to step in to decide a controversy even once.
Saving marriages
In the end, no one could beat the Turtles, although they didn’t quite have a clean sweep. The second-place University of Delaware players also took one set off the Turtles in their 24-39 defeat, with the women’s doubles team of Lisa Murray and Kristin Mumford, Captain Mark’s wife, edging the Turtles’ Faulkner and Tania Sawchek 10-9 in a tiebreaker.
In that UD-Turtles match, UD Captain Mark Mumford had also bet on the designated mixed doubles set to at least stretch the match into overtime by penciling himself and his wife Kristin in as the starting team against the Turtles’ Ellis-Faulkner pair. But the Mumfords quickly fell behind 2-6, at which point Captain Mumford took himself out and sent in super-sub Orest Skoplyak, a UD PhD graduate in chemical engineering now working at DuPont affectionately called “Dr. O” for his precision-angled dropshots at the net.
Asked if he had subbed in Skoplyak for himself in a desperate attempt to turn the match around and save it, Mumford replied: “Heck, no. I was just trying to save my marriage.” Apparently he felt that his error-plagued play, if it continued and lost them the set, would earn him at least one night on the couch from his very competitive wife and partner, now working as a pharmaceutical sales rep. Mark, an assistant tennis coach at UD, was right about one thing – the actual tennis match couldn’t be saved, anyway. Despite the substitution, UD lost the mixed doubles set in the end, 10-4.
As it turned out, the battle for second place between UD and AstraZeneca was actually played in the very first match of the tournament on Friday afternoon, with UD taking revenge on AstraZeneca by a lopsided 40-18 score, winning all four sets. AstraZeneca had beaten UD during the past regular indoor winter season, earning the right to go to the Nationals in Charleston, SC, later this fall.
The two teams have a long, friendly rivalry, and they continued it at the end of the tournament with a contest of mini-golf. In the spirit of camaraderie, they even mixed up the teams to have all the women play against the men from both teams and – wouldn’t you know it? – that battle of the sexes also ended in a tie.
- - -
Complete Results:
Friday, May 18, Round One
University of Delaware (UD) 40, AstraZeneca (AZ) 18
Women’s Doubles: Kristin Mumford/Lisa Murray (UD) def. Amy Cohen/Diep Cohen (AZ) 10-3
Men’s Doubles: Orest Skoplyak/Mark Mumford (UD) def. John Hoegstedt/Rogelio Mosqueda (AZ) 10-2
Mixed Doubles I: Dirk Heider/K. Mumford (UD) def. Hoegstedt/D. Cohen (AZ) 10-7
Mixed Doubles II: M. Mumford/Murray (UD) def. Jim Hamilton/A.Cohen (AZ) 10-6.
Tennis-Addicted Turtles (TA) 40, Everyone’s Racket (ER) 11
Women’s Doubles: Cindy Basile/Tania Sawchek (TA) def. Lesya Paisley/Lily Ho (ER) 10-2
Men’s Doubles: Alain Bolleta/John Ellis (TA) def. Vinny Bonaccorso/Lloyd Pearson (ER) 10-4
Mixed Doubles I: Basile/Joe Ferry (TA) def. Steve Sacks/Ho (ER) 10-0
Mixed Doubles II: Jimmy Yen/Sawcheck (TA) def. Pearson/Paisley (ER) 10-5
Saturday AM, May 19, 2012
Round Two
Tennis-Addicted Turtles (TA) 39, University of Delaware 24
Women’s Doubles: Lisa Murray/Kristin Mumford (UD) def. Tania Sawchek/Laura Faulkner (TA) 10-9, 5-3 in the tiebreaker
Men’s Doubles: Alain Bolleta/John Ellis (TA) de. Orest Skoplyak/Dirk Heider 10-4
Mixed Doubles I: Basile/Joe Ferry (TA) def. Milos Markis/Murray (UD) 10-6
Mixed Doubles II: Ellis/Faulkner (TA) def. K. Mumford & M. Mumford (Skoplyak subs) (UD) 10-4
AstraZeneca (AZ) 31. Everyone’s Racket (ER) 21
Women’s Doubles: Amy Cohen/Deb Touzell (AZ) def. Lesya Paisley/Lily Ho (ER) 10-8
Men’s Doubles: John Hoegstedt/Jim Hamilton (AZ) def. Steve Sacks/Vinny Bonaccorso (ER) 10-3
Mixed Doubles I: Lloyd Pearson/Paisley (ER) def. Bob Brown/Lisa Wilkinson (AZ) 10-1
Mixed Doubles II: Hoegstedt/Diep Cohen (AZ) def. Bonaccorso/Ho (ER) 10-0
Saturday PM, May 18, 2012
Round Three
University of Delaware (UD) 40, Everyone’s Racket (ER) 11
Women’s Doubles: Kristin Mumford/Lisa Murray (UD) def. Lesya Paisley/Lily Ho (ER) 10-2
Men’s Doubles: Orest Skoplyak/Dirk Heider (UD) def. Lloyd Pearson/Vinny Bonaccorso (ER) 10-1
Mixed Doubles I: Skoplyak/Murray (UD) def. Bonaccorso/Ho (ER) 10-4
Mixed Doubles II: Milos Markis/K. Mumford (UD) def. Paisley/Pearson (ER) 10-4
Tennis-Addicted Turtles (TA) 32, AstraZeneca (AZ) 23, overtime
Women’s Doubles: Cindy Basil/Laura Faulkner (TA) def. Deb Touzell(Lisa Wilkinson subs)/Amy Cohen (AZ) 10-1
Men’s Doubles: Johan Hoegstedt/Jim Hamilton (AZ) def. John Ellis/Jimmy Yen (TA) 10-9, 5-4 in tiebreaker
Mixed Doubles I: Yen/Tania Sawcheck (TA) def. Hamilton/Diep Cohen (AZ) 10-2
Mixed Doubles II: Hoegstedt/A. Cohen (AZ) def. Alain Bolleta (Ellis subs)/Laura Faulkner (TA) 10-2
Overtime: Ellis/Faulkner (TA) def. Hoegstedt/A Cohen (AZ) 1-0
Final Standings:
TA Turtles                  3-0
U of Delaware            2-1
AstraZeneca                1-2
Everyone’s Racket     0-3