BY JOSH SUMAN
of the Bellevue Reporter
After dozens of matches, months of competition and trips around the country, Robinswood Tennis Center in Bellevue is home to a national champion team that includes one Valley woman.
The women’s 2.5 team won the 18 & Over age bracket at the USTA National Championships in Indian Wells, Calif., recently to bring home the title after winning a series of titles to advance to the final tournament. The national championship is the second for Robinswood Tennis Center, joining the men’s 3.0 team that won the title in 2010, and the first for head coach Jason Chapman.
The Robinswood team won a round-robin flight to advance to the semi-finals, where they won a match over a team from Warrenton, Va., 2-1. There, they defeated a team from West Virginia 3-0 to capture the national title.
For Chapman, who said he has been to the biggest stage of USTA tennis more than a dozen times as a player and coach, the moment was a culmination.
I basically cried," said Chapman, who had his pregnant wife and pseudo assistant coach by his side for his first national title.
Robinswood won its first match 3-0 at the National Championships before defeating the Texas squad 3-0 later in the day.
A tiebreak scenario left Chapman knowing his team only needed to win two sets in three matches to advance from pool play and used the opportunity to mix and match players and rest his singles players, who were left taxed without the injured Susan Casabona.
"It worked out," Chapman said. "But it gave me a heart attack."
Karen Schmid went on to win her semi-final match 6-2, 6-1 over Meredith Blair Bearov while Jill Olkoski and Edna Gossage won the number one doubles match 6-3, 6-1 over Soyoung Kim and Joan Mary Latane to give the team a 2-1 win.
Schmid won her finals match 6-3, 6-2 in the number one singles spot, while Olkoski and Gossage won their number one doubles match 6-4, 6-3 and Sue Junker and Alicia Scott won in the number two double spot 6-0, 6-4 to give their team the national title in a clean sweep.
Chapman said two Robinswood teams were on the court when they clinched the title as a team, sending his running across the complex, screaming in excitement to his players.
"It kind of freaked them out," he said. "Luckily, they were still focused on the match and won, so we got the sweep."
Chapman said the team, which is comprised of players from all over the Eastside and Seattle, has a number of varying personalities among its eight members, including an internationally renowned opera singer in Heidi Person of Fall City. When the title on the court was secure, the team was treated to a performance from their musical star that Chapman said was music to everyone's ears.
"It was amazing," he said.