Rain dampens Fleischmanns Tennis Tournament play
By Sindy Becker
The rain-postponed finals matches of the 34th Annual Fleischmanns Tennis Tournament got underway at 10 a.m. Sunday. It was the first time in its three plus-decade history that the tournament could not be concluded as scheduled. The six remaining finalists, out of the original field of 46 registrants, prepared to take their turns at center court, to resolve the men’s doubles match that had been halted in the crucial third set, and to vie for the coveted men’s and women’s singles titles.
Men’s doubles and women’s singles began simultaneously. With a pending score of (3-6) (6-3) (3-0), Kingdon Gould and David Costello quickly scored the necessary three additional games to win their match.
The women’s singles were at 6-5 in the first set and the men’s singles had just begun when a déjà vu scene unfolded. Torrential rain, replete with fierce winds, thunder and lightning forced players and spectators to seek shelter in their vehicles. The courts were too flooded for any hope that play could be resumed, and it would have been impossible to re-organize all the out-of-state contenders again. It was decided that the tennis part of the tournament was concluded, albeit inconclusively, leaving everyone disappointed and frustrated.
In women’s singles, Karen Goertzel, first tournament winner in 1975, relied on her time perfected repertoire of flawless ground strokes and aggressive net charges. Youth however prevailed over experience, and the reigning “golden girl” was unexpectedly eliminated by exuberant challenger Lauren Chanler’s punishing 8-1 win in the semis. Paula Herdman, in her role as comeback kid, hoped to achieve a record 8th singles title and once again rule as the tournament’s queen bee. Effortlessly downing Agnes Janis 8-2 in the semis, she was at a critical juncture, tenaciously trying to hold her 6-5 lead in the first set of the finals when the storm disrupted play. Herdman and Chanler graciously accepted their co-winner status.
In men’s singles, Dante Tarantino, MCS tennis team star, was uncharitably toppled in the first round (8-4) by unseeded 16-year-old Dale Fetterman. In his second only tournament trial, Dale shocked and awed the audience with his picture perfect performance and his teen “chill.” His amazing transition from “tennis 101” to an advanced graduate degree gave him an 8-6 upset win over 2006 champion Michael Ladisa. However being dubbed “most improved player” was not sufficient to overcome the seasoned strokes and strategies of triple crown holder Paul Gorzula, who dashed Fetterman’s respectable (7-6) (2-6) (6-2) bid for a podium appearance.
The finals promised to be the arena in which accrued post graduate credits were showcased and rewarded, a true fight to the finish between Gorzula and ace David Costello. The friendly foes had barely begun testing each other’s strengths and lack of weaknesses when rain ended their unfolding performance.
In mixed doubles, a crying toddler, awakening from her courtside nap and sighting mommy and daddy, aka Lauren and Cliff Chanler, running around and not attending to her re-created a common parental dilemma—a child’s demands vs. parental desires. Universally this is a “no contest” decision. Thus having racked up five games to the six scored by the velcro team of Paula Herdman and Michael Zakar, the Chanlers opted to default. This deceptively easy “win” fueled Herdman and Zakar’s momentum. However they had to scramble to edge out Karen Goertzel and ad hoc teammate Nick Croce (7-5) (6-4) in the finals.
Men’s doubles, consistently the most hotly contested category was surprisingly undersold. However quality overrode quantity as each team had at least one seeded representative. Ed Dalski and Harvey Stick, a cohesive duo, forced Walter Rogawski and Michael Celinski into an unhappy early retirement, only to be swiftly sidetracked from their short-lived pathway to the finals by perpetual champs Kingdon Gould and David Costello.
The finals pitted two-time titlists Jacek Krzeminski and Paul Gorzula against rivals Gould and Costello who unleashed their complementary and cumulative arsenal of raw power plus finesse, offensive serves and defensive net play. This enabling tool kit led to a harder than anticipated, parsed out, rain and time delayed (6-3) (3-6) (6-3) victory.
The storm scattered spectators and players and caused a truncated version of the trophy and award presentation and cancellation, for the second time of the benefit auction and buffet lunch.
The auction has been rescheduled for August 17, to be held at the Garden Room in the Overlook Lodge at Belleayre Mounain at 2 p.m. Refreshments will be served. Bob Novak will be officiating as auctioneer extraordinaire.
The auction will be open to the public. All proceeds will be donated to the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation for Research.