By Steve Pratt
It came down to the final match on the final day with No. 2-seeded Southern Section hanging on to beat No. 1 Midwest and capture the USTA Girls’ 18s National Team Championships played at the Claremont Club on Tuesday.
With the score all knotted at three matches all, all eyes were focused on the No. 4 singles match between Amy Yang of Southern and Midwest’s Bianca Moldovan, who won the first set, 6-4. But Yang took the second, 6-4, and went up 4-0 in the third set, eventually clinching the dramatic finishing match, 6-3.
Tournament Director Barry Friedman said the final-match 4-3 score was a consistent theme throughout the day as five of the eight matches played went the distance.
Southern won the doubles points for the early 1-0 lead in the match, and then went up 2-0 when Midwest’s Anna Sanford was forced to retire down 5-0 in the first set because of injury giving Makenna Jones the win at No. 6. Southern’s Kaitlyn McCarthy beat Courtney Dolehide, 6-4, 6-4, at No. 1 to account for the other team point.
Southern California took third-place honors in the most lopsided match of the day, shutting out Florida without dropping a set.
Final team results:
1st Place: Southern 4, Midwest 3
3rd Place: Southern California 7, Florida 0
5th Place: Intermountain 4, NorCal 3
7th Place: Mid-Atlantic 5, Southwest 2
9th Place: Eastern 5, New England 2
11th Place: Texas 4, Hawaii Pacific 3
13th Place: Northern 4, Middle States 3
15th Place: Pacific Northwest 4, Missouri Valley 3
No. 1: Ena Shibahara def. Alexis Franco, 6-4, 6-3
No. 2: Jada Hart def. Jaclyn Switkes, 7-6 (4), 6-2
No. 3: Kayla Day def. Gabriella Pollner, 6-1, 6-1
No. 4: Sydney Van Alphen def. Rachel Rohrabacher, 6-3, 6-1
No. 5: Jessica Failla def. Star Makarome, 6-4, 6-4
No. 6: Kenadi Hance def. Erica Susi, 6-3, 6-4
No. 1: Gabby Andrews-Shibahara def. Rohrabacher-Switkes, 8-4
No. 2: Day-Hart def. Makarome-Franco, 8-6
No. 3: Failla-Hance def. Susi-Woodson, 8-1