by Sue Levine, special to USTA.com
They call themselves "The Little Team That Could," and team members say getting to the USTA League National Championships is kind of unreal. The 2.5 Mid-Atlantic Women from Leesburg, VA barely made it to the Sectionals. They got in on a wild card. To make things worse, the week of the sectionals their coach was on vacation. Even though Coach Moses Gittens wasn't with them physically, his words remained in their heads: "No retreat, no surrender, no excuses."
They came prepared and ready to play, and then they say they just flew by the seat of their pants. It worked. The team was undefeated in Sectionals, and now they're competing in the Championships with Coach Gittens by their side again.
Coach Gittens has been with the team at Idalee Tennis Center since from the beginning, three years ago. He attributes the team's success to hard work, getting the basics right, and having fun. He also says it helps that the team members believe in each other, and believe in themselves. As for whether the team will claim the National Championship, "win or lose, we made it this far."
Team members say Coach Gittens definitely brought them to the next level. Several of them choked up when talking about making it to the National Championships. They say it makes all their hard work and sacrifice worthwhile. The team practices 4 times a week, and that means long hours away from husbands, families, and jobs. Now there are non-stop calls and texts from family and friends wanting to know how they're doing so far. They say they never thought they could accomplish this. Sequeno says, "it's like a baseball team making it to the big show."