Monday, October 3, 2016


The Lee County Women's Tennis League (LCWTL) has 15 divisions offering anyone who wants to play fun, competitive tennis the opportunity to do so. Eight of the divisions are adult (18+) rated without additional age restrictions, and seven of the divisions are for senior players (50+). 

Over 210 teams (110 rated, 101 senior) played in the LCWTL during the 2015-16 league season, and although I am not sure about overlap, I imagine that over 2000 women played in the LCWTL last season. As the numbers grow and players' ratings move up and down, the challenge remains to organize players into divisions that create the fairest and most enhancing competitive environment for all players. 

In efforts to provide as many competitive opportunities as possible for its members, the League provided imbalanced schedules in some divisions. Such schedules resulted in some teams played more matches than others, some teams playing each other more than other teams, etc. As a result and in efforts to be fair, League Champions were determined by the percentage of available points won, rather than total number of points won. I'll include both and more in most instances below.

LCWTL Senior Teams

Bronze Division (3.0-)
Plantation's 2015-16 2nd-place Bronze Team
Captained by Ro DeMarie & Barbara Schlager
In the 16-team Bronze Division, Paseo (290, 74.3%) and Plantation (283, 72.5%) were clearly the cream of the crop,  as second-place Plantation was 26 points ahead of The Landings (257, 65.8%), the third-place finisher at season’s end. Paseo finished the season with five sweeps to Plantation’s three, and took at least three of four courts 11 of 15 times, while Plantation took at least three courts 10 times. Yes, the two teams were evenly matched, splitting the four courts and 26 points evenly in their head-to-head match-up.

Going into the final match of the season the title was Plantation’s to win or lose, they were leading Paseo by four points when they took the court against fifth-place finisher Cross Creek Estates in the season’s last battle. Paseo went up against Del Tura (which finished 11th in the league) in their last match, and I’m pretty sure that both Paseo and Plantation knew where they stood going into to their final matches.

Paseo took care of business, sweeping all four of their courts against Del Tura, while Plantation could only muster wins on Courts 1 and 2 against Cross Creek. That was no surprise, since Cross creek actually took three courts from Paseo in an earlier matchup, and only four teams (including Plantation’s 15-11 win in the final match) had outscored Cross Creek in head-to-head team matches.

In the end, Plantation would have had to sweep all four courts from Cross Creek to retain the top position, and that is something no team in the Division had managed to do all season. Third-place Landings was one of the four teams to best Cross Creek in a dual match, taking three of the four courts played. 

Paseo will be moving up in 2016-17, but Plantation, The Landings, and the other two teams among the top-five in the Division, Breckenridge and Cross Creek Estates, will be back to compete for Bronze supremacy. The number of teams in the Division will remain the same this coming season.

Nickel Division (3.0)

Members of Herons Glen 2015-16 2nd-place Nickel Team
Captained by Judy Begin & Dee Evans
The competition at the top of the Nickel Division was almost as tight as it was in Bronze, but the upper echelon was clear. Pelican Sound (425, 74.3%), Herons Glen (417, 72.9%) and Legends (415, 72.5%) distanced themselves from the other competitors in the Nickel Division, as fourth-place Judd Park finished 38 points third-place Legends. All three of the top teams finished the season emphatically, sweeping all four courts in their final matches.

Despite finishing second, Herons Glen can boast of a pair of wins against Division Champs Pelican Sound, both of which were sweeps. In all fairness, the first win was in the first match of the season when Pelican Sound had to forfeit two courts, something they did in the second match of the season as well. In fact, Pelican Sound forfeited five of 12 courts in the first three matches…and still won the Division. Pretty impressive.

That said, Herons Glen took on Pelican Sound in mid-season as well, and still took all four courts. It appears that Herons Glen would have run away with the Division if it weren’t for the fact that they didn’t like to play away matches against teams whose names begin with “L.” Herons Glen lost (finished with fewer points than an opponent) just three matches all season and those were to Landings, Lexington and Legends. In rematches at Herons Glen, they took three of four courts from both Landings and Lexington. There was no Legends rematch.

Third-place Legends had a tough stretch a little more than a third of the way through the season, when they lost three of four courts in three of the four matches they played. However, they also had the best streak of any team in the Division, sweeping six matches in a row in weeks 13 through 18. 

The Nickel Division promises to be even tougher this coming season given the additional seven teams that have been added to the fray. All five teams among last season's top-five will be returning to defend or enhance their positions, although are likely to be comprised of different players.

Copper Division (3.5-)

Cape Coral Racquet Club's 2015-16 Copper Division Champion
Captained by Liz Lashley & Jean Bersch
Cape Coral Racquet Club’s (CCRC) Copper team (370) was one of the most dominant teams in all of the LCWTL. CCRC swept 11 of the 16 team matches they played, won three of four courts in four of the other five matches, and lost only to second-place finisher Legends. CCRC posted the highest available points winning percentage (88.9%) of any team in the entire LCWTL!

Despite finishing 21 points behind CCRC, Legends (349) was a dominant team as well, losing not a single outing, posting six sweeps of their own, and taking three of four courts in nine of the other 10 team matches played. In the one match with Del Tura in which they split the four courts, they still won the match with 15 points to 11. If win-loss record was the determining factor, Legends would have been the League champion with a 16-0 record, as opposed to CCRC's 15-1. Their percentage of available points won 
(83.8%), however, fell short of CCRC by more than five percentage points. 

Beachview (268, 64.4%) was a distant third in the standings, edging Breckenridge for that position by six points. When Beachview and Breckenridge met on the courts, Beachview took three of the four courts, which suggests that their order in the standings was correct.

In light of their success, both captains (Liz Lashley and Jean Bersch) will be moving up to the Silver Division this coming season and CCRC will no longer field a Copper team. The Legends will still be vying for division dominance, although under new leadership, and Breckenridge and Beachview will be as well. Rather than 16 teams, the Copper Division will fall to 12 teams 2016-17.

Silver Division (3.5)
The Silver Division proved to be one of the more hotly
Members of Fort Myers Racquet Club 2015-15
Silver Championship team captained by
Ginger Rasmussen & Martha Hammer
contested senior divisions. A mere 15 points separated the top five teams at season’s end, and that meant that the last team match of the season for each of those five teams was critical to the final standings. Talk about pressure!

The five teams involved included Fort Myers Racquet Club (FMRC- 299, 71.8%), Cape Coral Racquet Club (CCRC- 290, 69.7%), Legends (289, 69.4%), Del Tura (285, 68.5%), and The Landings (284, 68.2%). FMRC had a five-point lead over The Landings going into the final match, Legends was nine behind Landings and one ahead of CCRC, and Del Tura trailed CCRC by three points to round out the top five going into that final week.

The eventual top-four finishers managed to put winning numbers on the scoreboard, with CCRC, Legends, and Del Tura taking three of four courts in their final matches. Although FMRC split their final match against Gulf Harbour Sterling Silver (7th place), they still posted 15 points. The Landings could only take Court 4 against second-place CCRC in their last match, scoring just five points and donating 21 to the CCRC cause.

Legends had the good fortune of playing 16th-place finishers Rutenberg Racqueteers in their final match and notched 19 important points. The one court Legends lost in a match tiebreak was the difference between second and third place. Del Tura, the fourth-place finisher proved to be a tough squad all season with the exception of a couple of tough and unusual losses.

During the season, Del Tura took three of four courts from CCRC and split the four courts with FMRC and Landings (despite notching only 12 points in both splits). Without a full team, they were swept by Legends in Week 13. Landings played almost all of the other top-five teams even, splitting the four courts with all but CCRC, which took three of the four courts in that final match.

T. A. with captains of FMRC Silver Dragons
and other players from Heritage Cove
The Silver Division will expand from 17 to 21 teams in 2016-17, so the heated competition we witnessed last season should be ratcheted up this coming season. Defending their title will take considerable work, but I know Ginger and Martha will be working hard to make it happen. 

Cobalt Division (4.0-)
In one of the unbalanced divisions where some teams played one match more than other teams, Cape Coral Racquet Club (CCRC) emerged as the Division Winner by winning 72.2% of the points available in the 18 matches they played. Landings finished in second place claiming 63.1% of the available points in the 17 matches they played, and Cypress Lake finished third with a 60.4% point-tally.

In this particular division, because of the imbalance in number of matches played and strength of opponents played, it bears mentioning that FMRC finished fourth with 57.2% and Forest was listed as fifth with 56.5%. It bears mentioning because when I examined the matches that the teams had played, it turned out that some teams had played tougher schedules than others.

It turns out that CCRC, Cypress Lake and FMRC had played six matches against the other four teams that finished in the top-five, while The Landings and The Forest had played just five matches against the other top-five teams. Given the schedule disparity, I was curious to see how the teams would line up if we looked at their point acquisition percentage just amongst the teams among the top five.

CCRC still emerged atop the standings with 66% of the available points. However, The Forest leapfrogged into second place, grabbing 56% of available points against the other top teams in the Division. Cypress remained third with 51.2%, with The Landings and FMRC closing out the top five at 40% and 35.9% respectively.

This division turned out to be one of the most interesting division to review because of the imbalanced scheduling. The Division will move from 13 teams to 11 in 2016-17, so all things should be equal. As I wrapped up the analysis of this division, it occurred to me that although the LCWTL does a far better job than I ever could with scheduling so many clubs, teams, matches and players, I couldn't help thinking that a "strength of schedule" factor might be included in determining division standings when all is not equal. Just a thought…

Gold Division (4.0)
Verandah (353, 71.4%) lost three team matches against teams that were among the top seven finishers. They took three of four courts from Plantation, the second place finisher early in the season, and then lost three of four to Plantation late in the season.

Plantation (336, 68%) split with Lexington, but picked up 12 points to Lexington’s 14; In Week 8, they were swept by Rutenberg, a team that finished 8th; two weeks later Legends took the top two courts and Plantation posted 11 points that week. They finished strong in their last six matches, sweeping three of them and taking three of four courts in the others.

Pelican Landing (327, 66.1%) closed in third place, and had good performances most weeks with a blip on the scoring radar every few weeks. Early in the season (Week 2) they dropped three of four courts to fourth-place finisher FMRC, four matches later, they only took 11 points from CCRC (9th), five matches later Plantation took three of four courts from them, and four matches later they lost three of four courts to division-winning Verandah.

FMRC started out like gangbusters and built a large lead over the first eight weeks of the season, before a key injury changed the dynamics of the team and effectively derailed their championship chances. In the end this was a division of near parity at the top with the steadier performers taking the honors.

The Gold Division will move from an imbalanced schedule with 14 teams to a balanced schedule with 17 teams. each team with play every other team once, so strength of schedule won't be an issue this coming season as it may have been last season. All of the top teams return to battle for Gold in 2016-17.

Platinum Division (4.5)
Division Winner Cypress Lake (450, 82.4%) lost to Paseo in Week 4, getting 11 points after splitting courts, and got another 11 points in a split with Park Meadow W in the final match of the season. Those were the only two times Cypress Lake came up on the short end in team matches in a 21-match season, where the eight teams played each other three times. 

Cypress  split courts one other time, again against Park Meadow W, but notched a 15 - 11 win in that match. They also posted 10 sweeps in their 21 matches, and were 25 percentage points ahead of their nearest competitors in available points won. In a nutshell, Cypress Lake’s Platinum performance against a quality field was simply spectacular.
Milly Beck & Diane Geater of Park Meadow
Paseo (315, 57.6%), the second place team that finished more than 100 points behind the Division Winner finished ahead of two Park Meadow teams that were neck and neck for the third spot in the Platinum hierarchy. Park Meadow Aces (PMA- 290, 53.1%) finished just three points ahead of Park Meadow W (PMW- 287, 52.5%) but dominated PMW in head-to-head play. In the three team matches they played, PMA took nine of the 12 individual courts, outscoring PMW 62-16. 

The Platinum Division will fall to seven teams this coming season, as Sundial will no longer compete in this highest level of senior play in the LCWTL.

Phew! That wraps up my wrap up of the senior divisions. If you aren't already dizzy and care to see what transpired in the rated divisions, click here or return to the list of blog posts. 


The Lee County Women's Tennis League (LCWTL) has 15 divisions offering anyone who wants to play fun, competitive tennis the opportunity to do so. Eight of the divisions are adult (18+) rated without additional age restrictions, and seven of the divisions are for senior players (50+). 

Over 210 teams (110 rated, 101 senior) played in the LCWTL during the 2015-16 league season, and although I am not sure about overlap, I imagine that over 2000 women played in the LCWTL last season. As the numbers grow and players' ratings move up and down, the challenge remains to organize players into divisions that create the fairest and most enhancing competitive environment for all players. 

In efforts to provide as many competitive opportunities as possible for its members, the League provided imbalanced schedules in some divisions. Such schedules resulted in some teams played more matches than others, some teams playing each other more than other teams, etc. As a result and in efforts to be fair, League Champions were determined by the percentage of available points won, rather than total number of points won. I'll include both and more in most instances below.
LCWTL Rated Divisions

Dynamo Division (4.5)
Captain Wendy Hechler, Sharon Schneider & Maria Coleman
of Paseo Poachers 2015-16 Dynamo Champs
Division Winners Paseo Poachers (PP- 341, 72.8%), were very strong at the top of their lineup, losing four times at first position and three times on Court 2. That means they were 29-7 for an 80.5% win-rate at the top two positions. On Court 3 alone, they lost nine of 18 (50%) matches. However, the strength at the top and a good showing on Court 4 (13-5, 72.2%) were too much for the other teams in the Division to overcome.

Cypress Lake TuTus (CLTT- 287, 61.3%) took the second spot
Candy Hilliker and Carla Murray, members of
Cypress Lake Dynamo teams
in the LCWTL’s highest level division, jumping out to an early lead with two sweeps and were just six points off the lead held by PP after the first six weeks of the season. However, although they were also relatively strong at the top, CLTT couldn’t keep pace with PP’s top two courts. CLTT’s top two courts went 12-6 (66.7%) and 10-8 (55.6%) respectively. 

Jan Wheeler & Dottie Nurrenbern of Park Meadow Dynamos
Park Meadow Passing Shots (PMPS) claimed the third-place position with 250 points and a 53.4% win percentage of available points. They took care of business against all but the other three teams in the top four spots the first two times around. Against PP, CLTT and CCRC (4th with 231 points, 49.3%), PMPS went 5-19 (20.8%) in the 24 individual matches played against those three teams. But there was no quit in that bunch and they went 7-5 (58.3%) against the same teams in the final four matches of the season to edge CCRC for the third spot. 

Gulf Harbour will be entering the quest for Dynamo dominance in 2016-17 after taking a hiatus last season. That will bring the Division up to eight teams from seven and bring the matches up from 18 to 21. The battle begins on October 18.

4.0 Division 
Gulf Harbour 2015-16 4.0 Champions
When a team sweeps more than 50% of its matches and finishes more than 70 points ahead of the Division’s second-place team, you would think it’s safe to say that it was dominant. Such was Gulf Harbour’s 4.0 team last season. Gulf Harbour’s 4.0 ladies earned 422 points and took 77.2% of the available points from the 21 matches they played. They went 17-4 in team matches, swept 11 of 21 team matches, and won 66 of 82 individual matches. Phew! What a season!

But they were not invincible. Landings 4Love (350, 64.1%)
Members of 2015-16 Landings 4Love
2nd-place 4.0 Team
may have finished second in the Division, but Landings 4Love took three of four courts from Gulf Harbour both time the teams played. Showing that GH’s ladies were definitely human, sixth-place FMRC swept the champs the one time those two teams played.  Hmmm, dominant? We'll take a look in a moment.

The battle for third was obviously close, since Bonita Bay Club and Cape Coral Yacht Club (CCYC) tied for third with 315 points and 60.5% of the available points. If we look at points won in individual team matches CCYC lost just five times in 20 team matches, and split the four courts in two of those matches. Interestingly enough, CCYC did not lose to any of the teams ranked above them in the standings.  

The above results made we want to take a deeper look at this division, because as it was with the Senior Cobalt Division and a few others, the imbalanced schedule made it difficult to understand which team really was the strongest. Although second-place L4L beat Division Champs Gulf Harbour twice, they had just one win in four tries against the other three teams in the top five. 

While CCYC finished tied for third with BB, they suffered no losses to the other top-five teams, going 5-0 against them, including two victories over BB and one win over the other three teams. BB actually lost four of the five matches played against the other top-five teams, beating only L4L in their one matchup. Fifth-place CCRC posted wins against L4L and BB but struggled against GH and CCYC. 

Making things even more interesting was the fact that sixth-place FMRC had wins against four of the top five teams, failing to post a victory only against CCRC in their one meeting. FMRC won a match and lost a match against both CCYC and BB, and won their only matchups against GH and L4L. On the other hand, FMRC lost both matches against Heritage Palms, a team that finished 12th of 15 teams, and lost each of their matches against the two teams that finished 14th and 15th. Geez! Which team is the best in this division?

If we examine the winning percentages only against the top six teams, CCYC was 100%; GH, L4L, and FMRC were 50%; CCRC posted 33%; and BB won 20% of its matches against the top teams. As I looked at wins and losses, I noted that Paseo, the seventh-place finisher, had posted wins against the top teams as well, so I included them in the subsequent analysis. 

If we look at total head-to-head matchups, CCYC comes out on top with a win-loss record of 7-2, which is a 78% winning percentage. CCYC scored more points than the other teams that finished among the top seven teams seven of the nine times they played such a team. No other team was close to that head-to-head winning percentage. 

GH (4-4), L4L (4-4) were next closest with 50% win rates, FMRC (4-4-1) came in at 44%, CCRC (3-5) was next with a win percentage of 38%, while Paseo (3-4-2) and BB (3-5-1) closed out the top seven with 33% match-winning percentages. You may have noted that FMRC won and lost as many matches as GH & L4L, but the additional match (a tie) lowered their win percentage.

Given that the LCWTL chose to determine Division Winners by percentage of available points won,  I also took a look at this metric as well only among the top seven teams. CCYC (140/234) emerged with the best percentage here as well, claiming 59.8% of the points available in the nine matches they played amongst this group. 

GH (123/208) took second best on this measure, taking 59.1% of the available points in the eight matches against the other members of the top seven. FMRC (130/234) posted the next best percentage with 55.6%). L4L (109/208, 52.4%), Paseo (107/234, 45.7%), BB (91/234, 38.9%), and CCRC (80/208, 38.5%) rounded out the top seven when we looked at available points won. 

But why stop there? I’m obviously going overboard with this, so let’s look at one more measure. Each team match is comprised of four individual matches, so I looked at how each fared against the other top teams in terms of percentage of individual matches won (percentages are rounded up). GH posted the strongest number here, winning 19 of 32 matches for 59%. CCYC and FMRC were tied for second on this measure winning 20 of 36 matches for 56%. L4L led the rest of the group on this metric, winning 17 of 32 matches for 53%. CCYC (20/36, 50%), Paseo (17/36, 47%), CCRC (13/32, 41%), and BB (14/36, 39%) completed the order. 

By now you are probably thoroughly confused, and I wouldn't blame you. However, CCYC was first on all but one measure and no worse than second. GH was second on most measures and first on the only measure where CCYC wasn't. By my analysis, the top five teams in the Division, in order, would be CCYC, GH, FMRC, L4L, and Paseo.  

This coming season's schedule is apparently based upon the results of last season, and I can't wait to see how things work out.  Gulf Harbour, Pelican Preserve, Fiddlesticks, and Beachview are out of the mix in 2016-17, but Heron's Glen and Sundial have joined the fray, so the Division count is 13 teams. The top seven remaining teams from last season will play 18 matches, and the other six teams will play 17 matches. October 20 is the first match for the 4.0 ladies.

4.0- Division
Members of Fort Myers Racquet Club's
2015-16 4.0-Minus Championship team
Again, the imbalanced schedule influenced the standings in this division, although in this case closer analysis only serves to show how dominant the Division Winner truly was. Using the percentage of available points FMRC garnered (70%), as well as number of total points won (346), FMRC was a pretty clear winner. Verandah finished second in percentage (65.9%) and total points (326). Del Tura took third place with 64.1% and 317 points. 

Once again, though, there was a significant difference between the strength of schedule Verandah played and those played by the other teams among the top five finishers. Verandah only played four teams that finished among the top five, while the other four teams played seven teams among the top five in the standings. If we look at records of individual matches played amongst the five, we see that FMRC was the runaway winner with a 23-5 record (82%), while the nearest competitor was Del Tura with a 13-15 record for 46%. 

Using the number of courts won and lost among the top five teams, Cypress Lake Country Club (CLCC), fourth in League standings, would emerge as the third best team with 12-16 (43%) record. Verandah would be the fourth best team with a 6-10 (38%) ledger. CCRC would remain the fifth-place team with a 10-18 (36%) record. 

Although a closer look suggests that FMRC was dominant, at initial glance, there was the appearance of parity in this division, at least among the top five teams. Teams 1 - 5 were separated by a mere 46 points, which meant that every match counted down the stretch. Division Winner, Fort Myers Racquet Club (FMRC) had to play well to hold off second-place finisher Verandah, which posted three sweeps and three matches with wins on three of four courts. FMRC took three of four courts in three of their final five matches, and swept the final two to claim the Division title. 

Del Tura finished just nine points behind Verandah to claim third, and it was their misfortune to have to play FMRC in their final match. As noted above, FMRC swept that match, but they needed two match-tiebreaks to do so. 

Although this division had an unbalanced schedule as well, all teaThe 4.0-Minus Division will add three teams to their rosters, bringing the total to 17 and eliminating the need for an imbalanced schedule.  It should be much easier to determine the top team at the end of next season. FMRC will be returning to defend their title, and Verandah will also field a team, but Del Tura has bowed out of the Division this coming season. Matches don't begin until November 7 for this group.

3.5 Division
As much as I would love to do a full analysis of every division with an imbalanced schedule, time and energy won’t allow it, so I’ll do as much as I can. Initial review of the competition among the top five teams in this division indicates that the Heritage Palms Dare Doubles (HPDD) were the convincing champions of the Division. 

The Dare Doubles didn’t lose a match until the final match of the season when they were too far in front for anyone to catch them, and only split the four courts two other times. Their 20-1-1 (91%) record with 10 sweeps made them the another of the most dominant teams statistically in the entire LCWTL. HPDD won 83.2% of the available points in the 22 matches they played, and won at least three of four courts each time they played against the other teams that finished in the top five. 

CCRC won 73.2% of available points and posted winning scores in 16 of their 22 team matches to take the second spot in the Division. They only came up short against two teams that finished out of the top five and those two teams were top ten teams. Lexington was the third-place team with 67.6% of available points claimed.

With 16 teams and 22 matches in 2015-16, the 3.5 Division was imbalanced as well. However, the Division is fielding 12 teams this time around, so each team will play every other team twice. Gotta love that!  Lexington will no longer field a team in this division, but the top two teams will return. The Dare Doubles are now the Double Dares. They all take to the courts for their first matches on October 11.

3.5- Minus Division
Members of Gulf Harbour 2015-16 3.5-Minus
2nd-place Net Assets
Can I tell you that it was a major relief to get to the 3.5- Division and realize that there was no imbalanced schedule! Whew! The standings were pretty straightforward in this division, and the Legends was a cut and dried winner of the Division. Legends posted 323 points on the scoreboard, which represented 77.6% of the points available in the 16 matches that the teams played. Legends split the four courts four times, three of those times with teams that also finished among the top five in the Division. 

Gulf Harbour NetAssets (GHNA) claimed the second spot with 304 points and 73% of the points available. The NetAssets lost once all season and that was to the No.6 team Renaissance. The Landings were third in the Division winning 69.7% of available points and a 290-point total. 

Hideaway Country Club 2015-16 3.5-Minus Team
I was particularly proud of the Hideaway’s first year 3.5- team which finished ninth despite having six players rated 3.0 or 3.0-, and the majority of our players were playing the highest level they had played to date in the LCWTL. 

Jumping up to 23 teams from the 17 of last season, the 3.5-Minus women will be pleased to note that they will have 22 matches instead of the 16 they played in 2015-16. They begin play October 12. Again, all three teams that finished atop the standings will return to the Division for 2016-17.

3.0 Division
Gulf Harbour Racquettes (GHR) only had two losses, and won 72.1% of the available points in 17 matches on their way to the 3.0 Division title. Both of those losses came to teams who finished among the top five so no shame for those losses. One of those teams, Legends, earned the second slot in the standings taking 66.2% of available points in its matches. 

Pelican Preserve (PP) finished third and did all it could to catch Legends in the last match of the season. Finishing with 66% of available points and 292 points, PP fell just one point short, despite sweeping Herons Glen in the final match. Had legends taken fewer than three courts in its final match, PP’s heroic effort might have carried the day. 

This may have been the division with the closest race at the top, as only 36 points separated the top five teams. Things are likely to be just as competitive next season as the Division remains relatively unchanged. There will be 17 teams contesting the Division as opposed to the 18 that took to the courts in 2015-16, and play opens on October 31. 

3.0- Division
Hideaway Country Club's 2015-16 3.0-Minus Team
and spectators
In the 3.0- Division, Landings was well ahead of the pack with a tally of 406 points, which represented 78% of available points, and an 18-2 record. One of those losses came  to The Legends, which finished in second place with 318 points and 61.1% of available points.  The Legends hung on down the stretch, edging third-place Breckenridge (306, 58.8%) by 12 points, even though Breckenridge swept their final opponent.

Although Sundial, Lexington and The Hideaway won't be contesting the Division this coming season, Cross Creek Estates is adding an additional team, and Verandah and FMRC (displaced Hideaway players) are joining the Division. Once again 11 teams will compete for the 3.0-Minus title. The 3.0-Minus Division begins play this week, October 6! Wow! Season is here.

2.5 Division
Gulf Harbour (GH) could be considered a dynasty in the 2.5 Division and they performed as such last season. GH posted a record of 19-1-2, which is an 86% winning percentage! Using the available points system, GH took 80.4% of available points and with 460 total points, eclipsing second place Breckenridge (349, 61%) by over 100 actual and almost 20 percentage points. 

Breckenridge needed a good final match to stave off a charge from Landings Wildfire (LW, 340, 59.4%). The ladies of Breckenridge took three courts from Plantation and posted 21 points in that last match, to edge LW by nine total points and fewer than two percentage points. LW took 12 points in their final match against their sister team Landings SweetShots, and that kept them a mere four points ahead of fourth-place Lexington AlleyShots (336, 58.7%).

Lexington will be down to one 2.5 team instead of the two they fielded last season, but Heritage Palms has added two teams to bring the total to 13, up one from the 12 that competed in 2015-16. All three of the top teams will return this coming season, and play begins October 25.

Before I go, and not that you care, but my favorite team name emerged from this division? Legends StringCourtettes. How creative is that? I must admist Gulf Harbour's 3.5-Minus NetAssets and 3.5 RacqPacq, along with Cypress Lake's Dynamo Servivors were also in the running, String Courtettes definitely tickled my fancy. 

Phew! That wraps up my wrap up of the rated divisions. If you aren't already dizzy and care to see what transpired in the senior divisions, click here or return to the list of blog posts. Let's have another tremendous LCWTL season everyone! Game, set, match...T. A.


Tough to know where to start in recapping the Lee County Florida 2015 – 16 tennis season. There is only so much time and so much energy to sum up the millions of balls struck, the multitude of events held, the mountain of money raised for good causes, and of course the poignant losses and gains we’ve experienced.

When I mention “losses” I am not referring to points and matches, but rather to tennis community icons. I suspect we feel those losses more intensely and for quite a bit longer than the loss of any tennis match. And it is with a few of those losses that I’ll begin the recap.

Poignant Losses
Steve Shortridge (Colonial Country Club)
It wouldn’t surprise if the name Steve Shortridge (click link to access more about Steve) doesn’t ring a bell to some, but to many members of the Southwest Florida tennis community, indeed, the entire United States Professional Tennis Association (USPTA) community of Florida, Steve Shortridge was a central figure in their tennis lives. Several of my current students have shared stories with me about beginning their tennis lives under Steve’s tutelage. Some talk about the weekly lessons they took with Steve for years before his illness laid him low.

When I was still good enough to play national tournaments, I always sought Steve out to help with my preparation. I don’t believe I ever
played a USPTA tournament where Steve’s name wasn’t in the draw. Watching Steve play, one might wonder how he could be, simultaneously, such a fierce competitor and yet so laid back. He was a sportsman, he was a class act, and no finer example of on-court demeanor could we ever find.
Steve approached his battle with bile duct cancer as he approached his matches on court. He battled gamely, quietly, and with all he had. He was a silent warrior on and off the tennis court, and the magnitude of our loss is starkly contrasted by the gains he delivered over the almost four decades he spent in our tennis community.

Terry See (Cypress Lake Country Club)

Speaking of warriors and losses, Cypress Lake Country Club (CLCC) has lost its peerless leader Terry See. Fortunately for CLCC and for the Southwest Florida tennis community, Terry will still be around the courts at CLCC in some form or fashion, just not at the helm of the CLCC tennis program.

If you only consider the tremendous effort it must have taken to develop the CLCC program from one men’s team and 30-odd members when he took the reins, to the program that boasts teams numbering over 20 during the course of a season, and a membership that has grown approximately six-fold, you would have only a fundamental understanding of the man that is Terry See.

In the almost 10 years that I have known Terry, he has thrice battled 

debilitating injury and illness severe enough to have laid low a man of lesser stature. Each time Terry has emerged victorious, still with his engaging optimism and the ever-present smile beneath the Sam Elliott-esque moustache. For years I have marveled at Terry’s ability to teach a full day’s load of lessons and then head off to the gym to work out. His herculean efforts paid their dividends when physical disaster threatened.

If there were medals such as silver stars and purple hearts for tennis, 

Terry See would have a few in his trophy cabinet. Filling the immense space at Cypress Lake left by Terry’s size 15s won’t be easy, but as I understand it, Terry will be around to help make the transition to and the loss of his leadership easier for the CLCC community and its new leader, Alex Hermeto.

Doug Scratchley (Fort Myers Racquet Club)

Doug Scratchley
Even fewer than the number who would recognize Steve, is the number that will recognize the name Doug Scratchley, but Doug represents another loss to our tennis community. Doug wasn’t a teaching professional, he wasn’t a top player in the area, but he was a topnotch person with whom I had the pleasure of working in my clinics at The Hideaway. Doug was 71-years-old when he left us, but he was still improving his tennis game, and I believe his love for the game was at an all-time high.

Doug was a member of Fort Myers Racquet Club and intended to serve as Co-captain of one of our Hideaway men’s teams this 

Doug & Lisa Harrington Yeslow
coming season. Doug's last memory was probably of the tennis match he was playing when he fell and mortally hurt himself. I'm guessing that he would only have preferred going in the arms of his wife Ann or in the company of the other tennis-loving members of his family, such as daughter Lisa Yeslow perhaps. Ah Doug my friend you will be missed, and will remain present in my teaching, especially when I teach overheads. I’m sure you wouldn’t mind.

Hideaway Tennis

Construction can't stop our guys
That close-to-home loss is related to another, because even if Doug were still with us in person, rather than just in spirit, he wouldn’t be co-captaining a team at the Hideaway for the 2016-17 season. The Hideaway was primed to add four teams to the four we hosted during the 2015-16 season, but construction of our new clubhouse has suspended team play for the season. Those eight league teams (six women’s and two men’s) would have been the most in Hideaway history.

But both history and those of us who miss our Hideaway Tennis
All isn't totally loss. The teaching court survives
Haven will have to wait and weather the whims of construction. Before we can rebuild on the court, we will have to await the completion of the rebuilding offcourt. Fortunately, our teams were able to find homes elsewhere and some of my favorite people will be playing on courts other than the Hideaway’s this coming season. Yes, the growing tennis momentum at The Hideaway was stopped in its tracks, and we can only hope to regain it for the 2017-18 season. Such a loss.

Pulling for Liz Byck (Gulf Harbour)
Before moving on, there is one more loss that I'd like to acknowledge. It was another that hit me like a sucker punch from the schoolyard bully. During my three years at Gulf Harbour Yacht and Country Club I developed some relationships that remain dear to me. One such was with a Canadian couple Liz Byck, a perennial team captain and Peter Malen, a fixture of the men's tennis program.

Only a few Gulf Harbour members still drop in for lessons, so I don't see too many of those folks who are still dear to me very often. I did see Liz at one of the Lee County Women's Tennis League team luncheons in April, and Liz looked terrific. It was a shock for me to find out a couple of months later that she was in the hospital with a brain injury and not doing well. I received an update from Peter a couple of days ago saying that Liz has been making tremendous progress with her therapy. 

Gratefully, Liz isn't lost permanently, but just imagining the loss of her vibrant being on and around the courts feels like a loss. I know how much she treasured her tennis and until she regains it, that will be a tremendous loss for her that I and many of her teammates will share. We are pulling for you Liz and can't wait for you to be back among the bouncing yellow balls. I know that we are not anywhere near ready to concede this match! Hope to see you before season's end.
Tennis Community Generosity
Mike Lawver & Jeff Diggs
We may experience losses, but our Southwest Florida tennis community is nothing if not resilient, resourceful, and, without doubt, regeneratively generous. I don’t remember how long ago it was, but quite some time ago I was chatting with Jeff Diggs, Director of Tennis at Fiddlesticks, about the good things the tennis community does, and he remarked that it would be a good idea to highlight some of the charitable works in a blog post. Well Jeff, I agreed with you then, and I am finally doing a little something about it. 

Fiddlesticks Charity
Since it was your idea Jeff, I may as well start with the tremendous 

Scenes from 2013 Bobby Nichols event
work that you folks do at Fiddlesticks. Just this year alone, Fiddlesticks Country Club’s Bobby Nichols Fiddlesticks Charity Foundation raised $100,000 for good causes. The Annual Presidents Day weekend Nichols Cup Tennis Tournament has played a key role in the more than $500,000 raised for charity over the past 10 years. A special group of Fiddlesticks member volunteers, who call themselves Pipers, help coordinate auction items, coordinate dinner arrangements, and secure donations and participation. According to Jeff, “They are instrumental in making this event a success year in and year out.” 

Scenes from 2013 Bobby Nichols event
In addition to the many individual contributions, the event wouldn’tbe the success it is without the major contributions from local businesses such as Finemark Bank. Recipients of the proceeds include Children’s Advocacy Center, Blessings in a Backpack, Abuse, Counseling & Treatment (ACT) and Liberty Youth Ranch.

Giving at The Landings 

Paul D'Amico- Landings
Director of Tennis
As one of the premier facilities in the community, The Landings Yacht Golf & Tennis Club (LYGTC) has always been an active leader in charitable events. In 2016, Tennis Director Paul D’Amico and the Landings Tennis Association (LTA) hosted events that raised over $150,000 for good causes.

LYGTC opened the year with a Tennis Exhibition fundraiser that contributed $2000 to Florida Gulf Coast University’s Men’s Tennis Program. A short two months later, Paul teamed with Duane Chaney and a host of volunteers to put on the largest Charity event in our area: the eighth edition of the annually expanding Madisen’s Match. 

Photo courtesy of
Madisen's Match combines a hugely successful fundraising dinner and silent auction, with a pro-am and exhibition, a tournament, a clinic, and a golf event. This year's edition led to the most rewarding Madisen’s Match ever, raising over $150,000 for the Lee Memorial Regional Cancer Center and Golisano Children’s Hospital. Key community business contributors include Raymond James, Prographix and Lamar. Several others chipped in to make the event the success that it was. Take a look at Madisen’s Match website for additional details. 

Sanctuary Samaritans

Add caption
Under the leadership of Christie Bradley, Director of Tennis at the Sanctuary Golf Club, last November's edition of the annual Hope Hospice Tennis Challenge continued to generate tremendous support for an entity that provides a service unlike any other. Incorporating a Nick Bollettieri clinic and a tiebreak doubles tournament, the event generated $15,000 to support the Hope Hospice mission.  

Christie Bradley accepting donation from
Bank of the Islands
A number of local businesses contributed the past year's effort. They include Lily Jewelers, a recurring contributor to the effort; Tween Waters Inn, Bank of the Islands, and Ritzmann Tennis. The staff at Sanctuary and volunteers like Dan Schuyler assist Christie in delivering a first-class event that highlights the tennis community's generosity. The 2015-16 Challenge was the 13th time the event raised funds for Hope Hospice, and Christie hopes to revive the event after construction is completed at the Sanctuary. 

Heritage Palms Presents

Baskets from Heritage Palms Play It Forward
Some of our tennis community's charitable efforts are spectacular, while others are modest, but no less worthy of mention or gratitude. Under the direction of Mike and Carolyn Lawver, Heritage Palms Country Club conducts two events that make valuable contributions to the community. Each January the Heritage Palms Tennis Association (HPTA) and their tennis professionals put on Play It Forward, a fundraiser that typically includes tennis round-robins, a raffle of member crafted baskets and a silent auction with items donated by members of the Heritage Palms tennis community.

According to Mike, this past season’s HPTA coordinated event raised approximately $5,000 for the Lee County Tennis Association scholarship program, and each Heritage Palms tennis professional also donated an hour lesson. Although not a fundraising event, the HP tennis community hosts an annual event for the Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Sun Coast. As Mike describes it, the July event “…was hosted by the tennis pros, with help from the Heritage Palms Tennis Association. This is a clinic/pizza party for the kids and adults within the Big Brothers and Big Sisters community in addition to our resident juniors.”

Drilling for Good Deeds

Fred Drilling youth clinic
There are likely to be quite a few more efforts by area clubs and that I am not aware of, and I know that there are also myriad efforts by individuals that escape my consciousness as well. Ah, but I do know that Fred Drilling, one of Southwest Florida’s tennis icons, is a fine example of individual contributions. Fred shares his vast tennis knowledge providing pro bono clinics for kids ages 3 – 15 at his Bella Terra community. 

Offering Kudos
Kudos for generosity will always come first with me, but I think it's good to acknowledge stellar performances as well. You'll pardon me for starting with my teams and students I'm sure. 

Hideaway Sportsmanship
Hideaway 2015-16 Silver Team
The Hideaway's Lee County Women's Tennis League (LCWTL)  Silver team led by Linda Sisco and Donna McVety received the Sportsmanship Award for the Division. Unfortunately, a number of
Silver Captain Linda Sisco & Martha Carlisle
divisions have stopped featuring a sportsmanship award, perhaps because it seemed to be a booby prize for teams who finished last in the division. Although we did do our share of losing, The Hideaway's Silver ladies did not finish at the bottom of the standings, but regardless of where we finish in the standings, we will continue to emphasize good sportsmanship at The Hideaway.

Fort Myers Racquet Club (FMRC) Dominance
Tim McClary’s FMRC team outdistanced the opposition, finishing
Captain Tim McClary's White C Champions
five points ahead of second-place Shadow Wood and seven points ahead of third-place Grandezza. 
Lee County Men’s 50+ League White C Champions Swept all four courts in seven of their 12 matches, including five consecutive sweeps beginning midway through the season, and lost just one team match all season, and that was the last of the season when they had already clinched the title.
Paul Marinell
Paul Marinell was the only player who played more than one match on the team to go undefeated, posting a 9-0 record. Four other players on the team posted one-loss records including Captain McClary (7-1), Frank Mitchell (9-1), Steve Carroll (9-1) and Jim Yaeger (5-1). Does it sound like I’m proud of these guys? Well that’s because I am. I have enjoyed my clinic sessions with a few of the team members for some time now and look forward to continuing our work together.

Marital Bliss at Plantation
John DeMarie captained Plantation’s Lee County Men’s 50+Blue B 
team to a first-place finish eclipsing the competition by 16 points, while sweeping seven of their 15 matches. Wow! Guess that swim coaching you did paid off huh John? Roberta "Ro" DeMarie, John’s wife, almost made it a winning double as she captained Plantation’s Lee County Women’s Tennis League (LCWTL) 50+ Bronze team to a second-place finish, just seven points behind first-place Paseo. Nice work folks!

More Student Excellence
Michele Bennett at 2016 Edison
Michele Bennett not only captained her FMRC 4.0- LCWTL team to victory, but she claimed the women’s doubles title at the 2016 Edison Tournament. Talk about being a winner! Lili Canfield and the other members of my former Monday crew (Debbie, Janet, Janie, Jan & Cindy) claimed the honors in the LCWTL 4.0 Division for Gulf Harbour. Way to play ladies!

I believe (Let me know if I'm wrong) Cindy and Kayla Cheslosky proved to be the most successful mother-daughter tandem in the LCWTL, winning 80% of the matches they played together on Court 1 for Park Meadow in the 4.0 Division. Too bad Kayla had to go get a job huh Cin? I miss her in clinics too.
Kim Mai center stage
Ya know, I think I need an entire blog post just to send out kudos to students, but I'll end here with Kim Mai. Kim deserves some props because she ended up winning 70% of her matches at the LCWTL 4.0 level for Cypress Lake even though, before the season started, she expressed concerned that she couldn’t be successful at that level. I had no doubt Kim.

What a Staff!
My last, but certainly not least, shout out in the kudos department is

to the tennis staff at Gulf Harbour, which had to be the most
Mike Curran with Joe D'Aleo
decorated staff this past season. Not only did Mike Curran, Director of Tennis & Fitness, receive awards and accolades for tennis (USPTA District President of the Year; USTA Outstanding Tournament Director of the Year and more), he was even written up in the News-Press for his golfing prowess!

Paulo Barros, Gulf Harbour's Assistant Director of Tennis, won two USTA silver balls and one bronze ball for his efforts in National USTA events. Paulo was the Singles Finalist in the Indoor National Men's 35 tourney, and finished third in doubles at the same event. He also was the Singles Finalist at the USTA National Men's Grass Court as well. 

USTA Florida Open League representatives
at Nationals (Mike not pictured)
Paulo also teamed with Sergio Rebolledo, Gulf Harbour's Assistant Tennis Professional, to win the USTA Florida Open Division League Sectionals. All three will represent Florida at the 2016 National Open League Championships in Las Vegas, Nevada, September 30 - October 2 at the Darling Tennis Center. There is no doubt that there many more players and other entities deserving of accolades, but that's about all that I can get to at the moment. Those of you who live in the Greater Fort Myers Area know that the Lee County Women's Tennis League (LCWTL) is the largest league in our area outside of USTA Leagues. No recap of 2015-16 could be even semi-complete without reflecting on the action there. Click here for more on the LCWTL's 2015-16 season. 

There is little doubt that our tennis community will again produce many events and occasions worthy of reviewing and acknowledging in 2016 - 17. I look forward to sharing those with you over the coming months. Game, set, match...T. A.