Due to a make-up match for the 7.0 mixed squad, the Green Machine was able to pick wins Friday, Saturday and Sunday this weekend, improving the playoff positions of both teams.
The 7.0 Greenies are now at the precipice of advancing to the May 20-22 sectionals after beating Harbour Island 2-1 on Sunday. According to the USTA site, the Green Machine is now 4-0, while second-place Brandon is 2-2.
But what the USTA site doesn’t show, because the match has not been completed and the scores can’t be entered, is that Friday night, the Green Machine took two lines from Brandon in a partial makeup of their Jan. 24 match. So actual live standings, with only four matches remaining, are:
Hunter’s Green 5-0
Harbour Island 2-3
Arbor Greene 1-4
Friday’s match had some nervous moments, thanks to BSAC getting in some reinforcements right at the player-add deadline. At No. 1 doubles, veteran ace Jay Bortner and Nelci Rodriguez, who recently won the HG Club 3.0 singles championship, gave the Green Machine duo of Chris Ricketts and Marisa Hunter all they could handle, but “Maricketts” pulled out a 6-0, 4-6, 10-6 victory.
At No. 2 doubles, John Cotey and Sharon Patterson cruised 6-1, 6-2. While line 3 will be played at a later date, the match is already a W for Hunter’s Green
Sunday against Harbour Island, Maricketts were easy winners at 1, but Mike and Janene Culumber stumbled at No. 2, leaving the outcome of the match in the hands of John Slatniske and Laura Baker.
Slatniske and Baker jumped out to a quick 4-o lead on court 2, but when their opponents questioned whether the net was regulation height, the match was moved to court 8.
Was the net regulation height? Though the match had already moved to a new court, Phuong Cotey, who studies engineering and mathematics in her spare time, secured a measuring tape and discovered the shocking news: the net was actually a quarter-centimeter low.
But it was too late. The change of courts sent Slats-Baker into a tailspin, as the 4-0 lead became 5-1 before Harbour Island wheeled off 10 of the next 11 games, taking the first set and leading the second.
But threatened with banishment from Oakley’s, Ricketts making fun of him, Cotey cutting him from the team and the stern glare of his wife Lara, Slatniske found a way to prove once again why he is barely, and I do mean barely, a 3.5 player.
Playing a 4.0-3.0 combo, Slats and Baker finally started hitting the ball to the weaker player, taking advantage at the net and storming back in the second set to force a third-set tiebreaker, which they won 10-6 to give the Green Machine a 2-1 victory.
Though Slatniske was approached by three different representatives from other clubs looking to sign him for their 2.5 teams afterwards, Slats decided to stay with the Green Machine, promising quicker and less harrowing results in the future. But the close nature of his match had taken its toll — he forgot to tell the guy at Oakley’s he didn’t want onions on his chicken sandwich.
In 3.5 men’s action on Saturday, the Green Machine had to start the day by forfeiting a line, but managed to post wins at No. 1 singles and No. 1 and 2 doubles to help nudge the squad into the upper half of the upcoming round robin.
At No. 1 singles, Jim Jones won easily 6-1, 6-1 to remain unbeaten on the USTA season. At No. 2 doubles, John Slatniske and Jimmy Dice were 6-3, 6-4 winners. And at No. 2 doubles, John Cotey and his bro-in-law Quyen “All I Do Is” Nguyen squandered 5-3 leads in both sets before ekeing out a 7-6, 7-5 victory.
That was enough to give the Green Machine a 3-2 victory, and avoid dropping into the bottom three in the league for a pair of meaningless round robin matches.
Instead, the Green Machine (3-2 season record) will go into a round robin with Cheval (5-0) and Harbour Island (4-1) with a slim slim slim chance to keep it’s current 3-year sectional streak alive.
To do so, the Green Machine will have to beat both Cheval and Harbour Island by 4-1 scores, and hope the Islanders from the Harbour knock off Cheval, creating a 3-way tie, but giving the title to the Green Machine via most lines won tiebreaker.
At least that’s how I think the round robin works.