Saturday, October 5, 2013


This post is going to seem about as long as the Lee County Women’s Tennis League (LCWTL) season! But how much shorter could it be with more than 1800 women on 204 teams participating in the LCWTL this 2013-14 season?
As a lover of the game, and as one who makes a living from the game, I reflect on the number of court hours logged by the women of the LCWTL in the almost four decades the League has been in existence. The number is mind-boggling!

Although the court hours have continued to mount in the off season as the women prepared for the upcoming season, in less than two weeks, the official count begins again. Let’s take a look at what’s ahead.

Debbie Naumann & Judy Schafft
of Park Meadow Passing Shots
Last season, Park Meadow had both of its Dynamo teams place in the top three, with Michelle Rygiel and Holly McIntosh’s Passing Shots claiming first place and the Dottie Nurrenbern’s GGs taking third.Michelle now has Debbie Naumann as her partner in the cockpit, and Dottie has secured Jan Wheeler's documented leadership at her side.

Despite a few roster changes, both teams figure to be in the hunt for division supremacy again this season. Plantation, which finished second last season and was the Division Winner the previous season, no longer fields a team in the Dynamo Division. 

Plantation’s loss is Paseo’s gain, however, as Paseo now fields two teams in the Division, one of which is comprised of the players that formed the Plantation team last season, and which handed the Passing Shots their only defeat of 2012-13. That team, Paseo
Maria Coleman & Wendy Hechler
of Paseo Poachers
Poachers, led by Wendy Hechler and Karen Fiorillo, along with Paseo Power, co-captained by Debby Harrington and Ann Deming, should be Park Meadow’s primary challenges for the top spot this season. 
Linda Boston & Rosie Gibbs of Cypress Lake
With Gulf Harbour and Cape Coral Yacht Club (CCYC) out of the race, Cape Coral Racquet Club (CCRC) and Cypress Lake, both with strong squads, are likely to be the dark-horse contenders.We can be sure on only one thing, and that is that the competition will be fierce in the highest rated LCWTL division.


The top three teams all return to the fray in the 4.0 Division. There have been significant roster changes to Bonita Bay’s division-winning team, including a change in captain. Kathy Schoenbaechler has assumed leadership of the defending champs, but last season’s captain, Joan Caes remains on board as a player. We can assume that Bonita Bay (BB) will contend again. 

Landings 4.0 2nd Place 2012-13
Two Landings teams rounded out the top three in the 4.0 Division last season, and both are back. Landings Legends (LL), which finished a close second and Landings 4 Love (L4L), the third-place team, have new captains on board as well. Anna Straub and returning Co-Captain Terry Perrett are leading the former, and Karen Humphrey and returning Co-Captain Heidi Rupprich share leadership of L4L.

Both Landings teams and Gulf Harbour (GH), under the new leadership of Lili Canfield and Deb Fairbanks, have added firepower, and CCRC has joined the 4.0 fray, so BB is likely to have a struggle on its hands again this season.


Renee Bailin of
CCRC moves up to 4.0
The 4.0-Minus Division has two fewer teams this season, but the competition is likely to be no less intense. Last season’s dominant Division Winner, CCRC has moved up, and third-place Colonial no longer fields a team, opening the door for second-place finisher GH and the other 10 teams in the race. Gulf Harbour’s prior Co-Captain, Pam Lemon now leads the way with Jan Carlson, and despite losing a few key members of last season’s team, GH should contend for the top spot. 

Lisa Yeslow
Park Meadow 4.0-Minus Captain
The face of the Division has changed considerably, however, and the race should be very interesting. Park Meadow (led by Lisa Yeslow and Sherri Campbell), Verandah (Rosemary Lorenz and Nancy Schwartz), and Del Tura (Joan Stevenson and Darlene Craig) have fielded new 4.0-Minus teams this season, and FMRC has added the Ace Kickers (Robin Garner and Marie Gulde) to the existing Net Force One team (Janice Layman and Eileen Reynolds). I suspect the winners of this division to have battle scars when they stand on the victory podium.
Judd Park- Winning 2012-13 3.5 team
There are two fewer teams in the 3.5 Division in 2013-14, but the top three are returning to contest the Division. 
Second-place finisher Lexington brings new leadership to the table this season, with Deborah Newton and Sue Broy taking the helm. Last season’s captain, Judy Cushing, remains on the squad, and the team has remained relatively intact from last season, so Lexington should be in the hunt. 

 FMRC- 2012-13 3.5 
FMRC, third in last season’s race, brings back Joy Dickey and Michelle Hamilton as captains, along with most of last season’s team. There’s a good chance that the Division Winner of 2013-14 will emerge from among the returning top three.

Donna Doyle- Co-Captain
FMRC The Ace Team
The 3.5-Minus Division picked up five teams in the off-season, fielding 21 in all. FMRC, which won the Division last season with Ginger Rasmussen and Connie Fennessey leading the way, have put two teams in the 3.5-Minus competition this season. However, the rosters of both teams are significantly different from last season’s winning roster. Marie Awrey and Laurie Schmidt will lead Netchix, while Kelly Gley-Leonov and Donna Doyle will captain the Ace Team. It will be interesting to see if either team has the success of its predecessor.

Cape Coral Yacht Club, which finished a relatively close second in 2013-14 under Pat Kemp and Venita Winslett’s watch, is also bringing a significantly different team to the courts. Mame Mouriz and Lisa Lehman are captains this season, and the team has to hope that everyone stays healthy or that some recruits surface, because they have a bare-bones roster of eight players.

The preseason favorite in the Division has to be 
Legends, which finished third last season with Cindy West and Kathy Wertley leading the way. Most of last season’s team is back, and there have been a few additions as well. With several new teams in the mix this time around, it will be interesting to see how this division develops over the course of the season.


Breckenridge 3.0- 2nd Place 2012-13
The most populous of the rated divisions last season remains so this season with 22 teams vying for the top spot. This division also boasted the closest race of any division, with Terry Swenson and Katy Irlbeck’s CCYC team claiming first, slipping past second-place Breckenridge, captained by Susan Weir and Carol Hauff, by only six points. 

Breckenridge’s second-place finish faced a stiff challenge from Fiddlesticks, with Annalisa Smith and Jolly McKenna at the helm. Fiddlesticks finished just two points behind Breckenridge to claim third. CCYC and Fiddlesticks are back, but the Breckenridge team has moved up. The Fiddlesticks team has new leadership (Mary Kay Sidell and Joyce Haas), and so does CCYC (Marlene Mullen and Jeri Vahrenhorst) and both teams have altered rosters.

The Hideaway 3.0 2012-13
With all the changes, the door might just be open for Heritage Palms (Marilyn Dorcak and Denise Vanellli) and Pelican Preserve (Candy Gody and Linda Garner), which finished fourth and fifth respectively last season. Both of those teams have changed captains and show significant roster changes, so this crammed division promises to come down to the last match of the season again this time around.

Landings 3.0- Minus
Winner 2012-13
Division-winning Landings, which posted an impressive record last season, is back with two thirds of its team intact, but under new leadership (Sharon Ratigan and Susan Wotton). Former captains, Bonnie Mohlman and Kathy Knight, have moved up to 3.0 this season. CCYC, which finished second last season with new captains Karen Ball and Sarah Penta. More than half of last year’s CCYC team is returning, and several new players have joined the team. 

Third-place finisher, Heritage Palms is also back in the race, but their captains of a year ago, Colleen Praeger and Judy Otto, have also moved on. This year’s team will have Gwen Brerestecki and Mary Hafertepe leading the way, along with a full complement of 16 players. 

The Division has added two teams to its list this season, with Breckenridge (Fia Corona Pfeifer and Beverly Sherwood), Gulf Harbour (Karen Brady and Pia Davidson), and Legends (Alice Pannoni and Yvonne Simon) as new teams in the field.


The same cast of characters will contend for the 2.5 Division. Charlie Cornog and Debra Rogan will take over captain’s duties from Karen Brady and Pia Davidson for defending champion Gulf Harbour. Second-place Legends has also changed leadership, with Diane Cesarini, Linda Lowery and Carol Sarosik taking the helm from Jackie Devita and Judy Burget. 

Connie Saville and Laurie Ward are back as captains of third-place Landings, but, Marcia Howard will co-captain the team in place of Corinne Howey this time around. Last year’s squad is pretty much intact with a few new additions, so the Landings should be among the favorites in this division.



Dottie Nurrenbern & Jan Wheeler
of Park MeadoW
Park Meadow’s Platinum ladies, captained by Jan Wheeler and Dottie Nurrenbern, were clearly the cream of the crop in the Platinum Division last season, but second-place Paseo, captained by Joeleen Ralston and Debby Harrington, were not far behind in second. The Park Meadow team returns just about everyone this season, including the captains, but Paseo has seen a few shifts in its roster. Captain Harrington returns, but she is now accompanied by Ann Deming. 

Third-Place Cypress has added a number of new players to its roster this season, and while Rosie Gibbs returns as captain, Paula Houghton has taken Carla Murray’s place as co-captain. 
The Division has one fewer team this season, as The Landings has consolidated its two teams. That consolidation should make The Landings, led by Barb Pierson and Sandy Levy, a solid contender for the top spot in 2013-14. 


The top three finishers in last season’s Gold Division, the second largest of the senior divisions with 21 teams, are back. Pat Howell’s division-winning CCRC team lost Barbara Maillet as co-captain, but Trudi Dean has stepped in to replace her. The majority of the team has returned from last season, so CCRC should contend again. 

Gulf Harbour, always a contender in this division is likely to be in the mix again this season. Long time captain Norma Schuyler is back, only this time around, instead of Carlotta Clarke leading the way with her, she will have Sue McNear at her side. With multiple wins over the eventual Division Winner last season, and most of the team back, Gulf Harbour should be an even money bet to be right there are season’s end.

Pauline Smith & Missy Beck 
Third-place finisher, FMRC led by Eileen Reynolds and Susan Coppin last season has added a number of new players, including new co-captain Janice Layman, and have a new name: Net Force Two. Among their toughest competition may be their sister FMRC Gold team, the newly formed Ace Kickers, captained by Missy Beck and Jennifer Boulton. At least one of these two teams figure to be among the leaders at season’s end.

Lexington stands alone among the teams I have reviewed thus far, in fielding the identical roster that finished just two points out of third last season. I would imagine that Captain Linda May and Co-Captain Zenda Beeching should have a leg up on the competition with intimate knowledge of their team. Anyone want to give me odds that this team finishes in the top three in 2013-14? I am looking forward to reporting on this division.

For years the most populous senior division, Silver now trails Copper (22 teams) and gold in that category. However, with 16 teams, there still is plenty of competition to go around.

Plantation Silver Division Winners 2012-13
In a season-long battle, Plantation finished strong to emerge atop the Division, with Jan Clayton shouldering the leadership role by herself. This season, Plantation and third-place finisher Verandah are no longer in the mix but last season’s second-place Gateway is.

Rosanne Ziegler and Marilee Straza hold the helm for Gateway and bring a full 16-player complement to the table this season. There have been a number of changes to the team, but the core appears to be ready to resume the chase for division honors.

With two of the top teams from last season out of the chase, Gulf Harbour, captained by Daun Desak and Georganne Williams, should challenge for the top spot, given that they have consolidated two competitive teams to form one good one. The Landings was competitive for most of last season and they return to the fray as well, with team veterans Muriel Hackney and Georgene Hildebrand leading the way.

After a successful inaugural season in 2012-13 under 

Judy Begin & Fia Corona Pfeifer
the leadership of President Fia Corona Pfeifer and Judy Begin, the Copper Division leads the way again with 22 teams, with Dorie Hill assuming the presidency and Judy serving as Vice President again.
The Forest Copper 2nd Place 2012-13
The race for Copper supremacy went right down to the final matches, when all three top spots were decided. Heritage Palms Hotshots, captained by Colleen Roberson and Denise Vannelli, claimed the historic victory, and returns this season under Marsha Wilson and Phyllis Welch’s leadership. Last season’s second-place Forest, led by Jeri Carley and Anita Russell, will also contest the Division again, and new captains Bobbee Gabelmann and Phyllis Dekeyser will team into battle.

Lexington, claimed the third spot last season with Judy Bucaria and Sue Deters at the helm, and they were in the thick of the race until the wand as well. Judd Park, which barely finished out of the top three with Sharon Benner and Harriet Bohannon as captains, will have the same leadership, but quite a few roster changes. Only time and play will tell us whether the changes have enhanced Judd’s Copper fortunes.

I know from personal experience that The Hideaway’s 

Bonnie Bogli, Bert Ann Haas, & Lee Cross
of Hideaway Copper team
Copper team led by Bert Ann Haas and Terri Turner has been working hard this summer and has added some key components to the team. If everyone stays healthy, The Hideaway should improve upon their middle-of-the-pack finish of a year ago.


Lexington Net Worthy-  Bronze Winners 2012-13
Adding two teams this season to tie Copper for the most (22) teams in the LCWTL, the Bronze Division will be as competitive as ever. Lexington Net Worthy, captained by Barbara Dailey and Helen Robinson last season, finished comfortably ahead of the competition, and new captains, Claire Taylor and Pat Sgarlata will be seeking a repeat. 

Second-place finisher, Herons Glen led by Bev 

Breckenridge Bronze Sportsmanship
Award Winners
Arbizzani and Donna Nixon’s, has been in the top two the last two seasons (1st in 2011-12), and there’s no reason to suppose there will be a drop off with the same leadership in place and most of last year’s team returning.

Pelican Preserve (PP), which occupied the third spot, made a valiant run at season’s end Dorothy Walsh and Marge Schermerhorn as captains. Linda Garner joins Ms. Walsh in leading the attempt to climb a rung or two of the Bronze ladder this season. All but two players return from last season’s fruitful effort so PP should be a contender.
Bert Ann Haas, Pearle Warren & Pat Ben-Dov
I’m happy to note that The Hideaway is one of the new teams in the Division, and I expect captains Pearle Warren and Pat Ben-Dov to lead a game group of ladies into each contest. If everyone stays healthy, we should make life difficult for our opponents.

Deb Vollrath & Sandy Devins playing 60-Plus
for Cypress Lake in 2012-13
Last, but certainly not least, is the most senior of the senior divisions, 60-Plus. With no restrictions on ratings, you find some of the most talented performers in this division.
Laurie Schmidt & Katie Keen playing for FMRC
60-Plus in 2012-13
Donna McVety and Karen Keeling led their veteran FMRC crew to the top of the 11-team heap in 2012-13, and I know that she and Karen, with new Co-Captain Katie Keen, will be trying for a “four-peat” this season with their Court Chix team.
Cross Creek at Hideaway 60-Plus
 2nd Place 2012-13
However, you know the saying, “Keep your friends close and your enemies closer,” right? Well, last season’s second-place finisher, Cross Creek at Hideaway, led by Debra Beattie, is now playing out of FMRC, so if there were any secrets to victory for the Court Chix, they will surely be uncovered. Debra now has the help of Chris Hillermeier as the Good Time Girls of FMRC try to unseat their sister team.

A new threat to Court Chix dominance could come from a consolidated Gulf Harbour team with Teresa Crocker and Jackie Jewell leading the way. The Landings Panthers have added some firepower to what used to be Landings 60+A, and could pose a threat as well. One thing we know for certain is that there will be some good tennis played in this division.

The Last Words
Wow! You made it! Can't believe you hung in there all the way to the end :). Can't believe I hung in there either...In any event, there's little doubt that the LCWTL is poised for another tremendous season, and I am anticipating the ride. In addition to vying for the top spot in their divisions, I hope everyone will be aiming for the most important award: Sportsmanship!

Before I go, just a little hint that it would be great to be able to include team pictures whenever I write about a team, so if you take pictures during the 2013-14 season and would like them posted, please send them over. I'm wishing all the ladies of the LCWTL good health and a good time on the courts this season. Until next, game, set, match...T. A.