____________2010 Pacific Cup Exchange____________
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In its fifth year, the prestigious Pacific Cup Exchange brings together the top players from the four western USTA sections, Pacific Northwest, Intermountain, Northern California and Southern California. This year’s event took place from December 3rd-5th in Beaverton, Oregon.
Hosted by the Pacific Northwest Section, the competition utilized a round-robin format in which each team played a total of three rounds, each featuring a new opponent. A complete round included boys’ and girls’ singles, as well as boys’ girls’ and mixed doubles. Each match consisted of a pro set for Singles and a set for doubles. Team points were scored per the number of games won.
The team representing Northern California for 2010 included:
Coach Pablo Pires de Almeida
Team Manager Tommy Tu
Chris Kipouras (B18s) Crystal Yen (G18s)
Richard Pham (B16s) Marina Nikolic (G16s)
Kial Kaiser (B14s) Paige Cline (G14s)
Sam Riffice (B12s) Darya Possokhova (G12s)
Once in Beaverton, the kids were given housing to stay with local tennis families. They all became a strong unit and had fun with each other while playing high level tennis. WIth the support from all teammates, each player on the NorCal team played and fought vigorously.
"The Pacific Cup was a great opportunity for the best in all age groups from 12’s to 18’s to compete together and learn how to play as a team. Each player fought harder than they normally would because every game counted and because they had their teammates cheering them on," said coach Pablo, from University of San Francisco Men's Tennis. He went on to say, "It was great to see the team fight together and collectively care about the outcome of each match."
After two and a half days of play and many very close matches, Northern California finished third behind #1 Southern California and #2 Pacific Northwest. Intermountain finished fourth. Team NorCal received the Most Spirited Team award for being cheerful, energetic and supportive to everyone on the team throughout the whole event.
Southern California, 307 games
Pacific Northwest, 269 games
Northern California, 242 games
Intermountain, 213 games
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Following are journal entries from Tommy, Chris, Crystal, Richard and Marina.
Team NorCal flew up to Portland, Oregon in three separate groups.
At 6:35AM the group from Oakland Airport departed. This group included Pablo Pires de Almeida, Christopher Kipouras, Paige Cline, Darya Possokhova, her Mom, and myself.
At 7:55AM the group from Sacramento Airport departed. Sam Riffice was the only one from this group.
At 8:00AM the group from San Jose Airport departed. This group included Crystal Yen, Richard Pham, Marina Nikolic and Kial Kaiser.
Team NorCal was the first team to show up at the Tualatin Hills Tennis Center. The players did a light warm-up and played some points. Once finished, our team went for lunch across the street from the facility.
Once we were all stuffed, we headed to the supermarket to buy water, Gadorade, bananas, etc. When everything was all set, we went back to the tennis center and the kids played cards and listened to music while waiting. Soon, the other three teams arrived.
At 4:00PM our players went on court for warm-up again. Each team was allowed two courts.
At 5:00PM Round 1 Doubles started. Doubles included Mixed Doubles and Gender Doubles. Northern California vs Intermountain and Pacific Northwest vs Southern California.
At 7:00PM we all ate dinner, provided by the host, on-site. There was a variety of different foods and all were amazingly delicious!
At 8:00PM host families arrived to pick up out-of-section players. Players were housed in pairs by gender. Marina and Paige were together under a host family. Crystal and Darya were together. All four boys, Chris, Richard, Kial and Sam, were under a host family.
At 8:30AM Team NorCal met at the tennis center to warm up. The players had breakfast at their host families’ and were dropped off at the tennis center.
At 9:00AM Round 1 Singles started.
After Round 1 was completed. SoCal was in the lead with 49 games won, NorCal had 42 games won, and Pacific Northwest and Intermountain both had 35 games won.
At 11:30AM Round 2 Doubles started. Northern California vs Pacific Northwest and Intermountain vs Southern California.
After the doubles matches, lunch was provided on site. Everyone was excited for that.
At 3:00PM Round 2 Singles started.
By 5:00PM all matches were completed. The Pacific Northwest host, Jim Markin, along with other coaches and myself did a fun group hit and skills contest for players from all four sections. Winners were given extra raffle tickets, later to be drawn out of a bag. Sam Riffice was the only player from Northern California to win a prize (a Nike bag with different items inside).
At 6:30PM Dinner was served.
Around 7:30PM the host families came and picked up the players.
By the end of the second day, SoCal was in the lead with 203 games won, NorCal had 185 games won and Pacific Northwest was one game behind us with 184 games won. Intermountain had 135 games won.
At 8:30AM Team NorCal once again met at the tennis center to warm up. Everyone came in with their luggage and traveling bags since it was the last day of the event.
At 9:00AM Round 3 Doubles started. Northern California vs Southern California and Pacific Northwest vs Intermountain.
After doubles play, we started singles right away. When the last match was finished, all the games were tallied. SoCal came out as the winner, with 307 games won. Pacific Northwest passed us and came out as the Runner-up with 269 games won. NorCal was third with 242 games won. Intermountain was fourth with 213 games won.
During the closing ceremony, Team NorCal was announced the Most Spirited Team throughout the event. Everyone cheered and supported each other all the time and we really deserved it.
Once we said our thank you’s and good-bye’s, our team and the SoCal team drove over to the Nike Headquarter for a tour of the place. Mike Nakajima, Nike Director of Tennis Marketing, was our guide. Jen Pitzen, USTA NorCal Director of Competitive Play, and Mike are good friends and they have talked the day before about setting up a tour for the teams and Mike agreed to do it for us. It was an amazing tour!
After the tour, we headed to Portland Airport and were ready to go home. Southwest Airlines had a free photo booth so we all decided to take a team picture with Santa Claus. It turned out great!
I am really glad I got to go on the trip with such an amazing group of players and coach. We had a really great team this year and I felt like I was back on my college team again, even though I didn’t play any matches. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to go on this trip back when I was in the juniors since the Pacific Cup Exchange started in 2005, the year I went off to college. That was a bummer! I strongly recommend to anyone who has the opportunity to represent NorCal on an amazing event like this should definitely do it!It’s completely a different atmosphere and the energy that you get from your teammates is incredible!
It was not the first time traveling alone without my parents but I was pretty nervous. My heart was pumping because I was going to meet new people and I was the oldest there.
I was very excited to go on this trip. This was the only trip I haven't gone on besides Maze Cup so I thought why not and I even got out of the SAT to play this. I knew a few of the people because of tournaments but not too well.
Host family...that lady was incredibly comforting to us. I’ve never felt so good to sleep in a basement in my life. I’m glad all the guys got to stay together in the same house because we really bonded well. We watched some good movies and I got my essay typed so I say it was a good time.
The team atmosphere was perpetually exquisite. We were the loudest team out there and the constant cheering and encouragement really allowed me to play well. I think that those types of atmospheres, the collegiate atmospheres are the best environments to play tennis and more memorable. I won't forget environments like Pacific Cup.
I liked hanging out with the team and really playing some hardcore indoor tennis. It was a lot of tennis but I think it was definitely worth it. I did like going to the supermarket and PacSun and Chipotle because those moments really made my trip great haha. I learned that my chances of succeeding increase in an encouraging environment put on by the team members of NorCal. I made new friends and I saw at Herb Cup that everyone hung out with each other.
I want to say to my team members that these tournaments are the best times of your life in junior tennis. Every time I go to one of these events, I absolutely love it. I recommend playing as many of these types of team events as possible because they are fantastic. Let’s go NorCal!!!
It was fun being able to have a team because everyone supported one another. It seemed like a set for each match would be short but it's actually enough when you play 3 to 4 t times a day. The host families were nice and I'm going to try to be number 1 again next year so I can come back.
I was looking forward to this tournament for weeks in advance because I love these kinds of tournaments. My brother went last year and he really liked it so I was pumped for the trip. It was my second tournament without my parents and I have to say, that makes it a lot more fun.
Our host was extremely friendly and generous even to consider housing four boys in the same house. She was always offering food and asking if we needed anything. I love the experience of staying with a host family as opposed to staying in a hotel because it feels more homey and like Chris said, it makes it an easier environment to bond in.
The team aspect of tennis has always intrigued me more than playing tournaments individually. I enjoy the competition more when there is a team cheering me on. I liked the enthusiasm of our cheering and I could tell we intimidated the other teams with our, sometimes, obnoxious screaming. Having a coach on court helped. Pablo calmed me down and gave me great advice when things weren’t going my way.
The thing I most like was indeed that we had an entire team. I like to be around
other people and the fact that we were striving toward the same goal brought us together. LETS GO NORCAL!!!
I was extremely excited to go and thankful to be chosen. I was looking forward to it for weeks because I had heard from past participants that it was so much fun. I wasn't too nervous about the tennis because I looked at it like any other tournament. But I was nervous of everyone because I didn't know how we were all going to fit as a team. I knew mostly everyone because of earlier tournaments. I think it was awkward for the first couple minutes until we got out to warm up and that's where we found our true atmosphere.
It wasn't my first time to be hosted, but the family was so kind to us. They had two kids and it made it easier for us because the parents knew how to act and we got to chill with them. They gave us space, yet were always there to offer anything they could think of. I felt pretty relaxed with the kids after, we even played a family game and we could talk about absolutely everything.
Way to get me started on the team atmosphere. This is what I enjoyed most and I think everyone else did, too. Not only was it great getting cheered for but it was great cheering for your teammates as well. I loved screaming and pumping up everyone because not only did I think it helped them, but it got every team extremely jealous of us. You could tell. I think everyone was enthusiastic and very energetic because we definitely became a true family team in those three days. It was awesome having the guys around because it gave a huge college atmosphere which is probably going to be the best years of everyone's careers. I loved how even in warm-ups we were screaming for each other.
Teamwork plays a huge roll. We all had to contribute to give points. Strategy is key and we all have to know what we were going to do and when to pull the trigger. The biggest thing I learned was respect. I know teachers and others tell you to respect others and I do, but this time I honestly found out how honorable everyone on the team is. In my book everyone has earned my respect to the highest point. If there was such a thing as over infinity you all would be above it. I loved getting to know and bonding with everyone. That was my favorite part. They helped put off the pressure when playing I actually was having fun.
The coaching just made it so nice because when you were down Pablo was there to cheer you up and give good advice. He always made me smile no matter what was going on. When we were up he would
look at you and you would know you were doing the right thing.
So thank you so much you guys for making this experience so valuable! I appreciate it! :) ♥ and...HERE WE GO NORCAL!
BTW, loved hearing us cheer at Herb Cup!
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