Saturday night, the Philadelphia Freedoms came into Springfield on a two-game win-streak. They’d beaten Eastern Conference rival New York, and taken down Springfield’s Western Conference rival Orange County. With Orange County’s loss the night before, the Lasers were now in sole possession of first place in the West. Knowing that the Breakers lost to Philly without key-player Coco Vandeweghe…on paper, Saturday night’s home match vs. the Freedoms looked like a routine Laser win. It was anything but…
Throughout the season, the Lasers strongest event has been Womens Doubles, though the team of Rojer and DeVoest is also the top Mens Doubles team in the league right now. Knowing that DeVoest and King have been struggling in the Singles events, Coach JL de Jager chose to start and end the night with his strengths when selecting the order of events: Mens Doubles, then Mixed, Mens Singles, Womens Singles, and finally Womens Doubles.
The night started out great. Rik DeVoest and Jean-Julien Rojer managed a win and kept Groth and Kerr to only two games in the first event. Rojer and Alisa Kleybanova then lost Mixed in a close tie-break, putting an additional 4-games on the board. DeVoest then played the most inspired tennis we’ve seen since Andy Roddick’s exit from the team, battling the hard-serving Sam Groth. Lightening interrupted the set and they moved indoors, where Groth eventually lost the set by double faulting on the final point of the tie-break. Vania King managed to put 2-games on the board for the Lasers against Victoria Duval, then de Jager substituted Alisa Kleybanova to finish the set; a 5-3 win by the Freedoms. Up 17-16 going into Womens Doubles, it looked like an easy win for the Springfield Lasers…but doubles-legend Liezel Huber and Victoria Duval managed a 5-3 win over the top doubles team in the league, stunning the Lasers 21-20.
With the win, Philly continued their win-streak over the league’s top-teams, improving their record to 4-6 for a three-way tie with the Sportimes and Freedoms in the East. Luckily for the Lasers, Orange County also lost in Texas on Saturday Night, keeping Springfield a half-game ahead of the Breakers in the Western Conderence.
7/20 – LOSS 21-20 to the Philadelphia Freedoms
MD (W) 5-2 Rojer/DeVoest vs. Groth/Kerr
MXD (L) 4-5 Rojer/Kleybanova vs. Groth/Huber/Kerr
MS (W) 5-4 DeVoest vs. Groth
WS (L) 3-5 King / Kleybanova vs. Duval
WD (L) 3-5 King/Kleybanova vs. Duval/Huber
2013 WORLD TEAM TENNIS STANDINGS
- Springfield Lasers 6-4
- Orange County Breakers 6-5
- Texas Wild 6-5
- Sacramento Capitals 3-7
- Washington Kastles 8-2
- New York Sportimes 4-6
- Boston Lobsters 4-6
- Philadelphia Freedoms 4-6