Friday, July 22, 2011

Capitals end drought, reach playoffs

   The drought is over.
   In a tense match, the host Sacramento Capitals beat the last-place Springfield (Mo.) Lasers 21-17 Thursday night to reach the World TeamTennis playoffs for the first time since 2008.
   That's an eternity for Sacramento. The Capitals hold WTT records for most league titles (six), most playoff appearances (18) and most consecutive playoff appearances (seven).
   Sacramento will face the St. Louis Aces on Saturday at 2 p.m. in the Western Conference finals in Charleston, S.C. Both teams finished 8-6 as the Capitals ended their streak of two consecutive losing seasons, a first in their 26-year history.
   In today's Eastern Conference finals, the Washington Kastles (14-0) will play the Boston Lobsters (7-7) at 4 p.m. in Charleston. Washington became the second team in WTT's 36-year history to go undefeated in the regular season. The other was the Newport Beach Dukes in 1994.
   The winners will meet Sunday at 2 p.m. in Charleston for the WTT title.
   For the second consecutive match, Sacramento led by two games entering the last set (mixed doubles with Mark Knowles and King) on Thursday night.
   The Capitals had lost the set and match to Boston on Wednesday night. This time, though, Knowles and King beat Rik de Voest and Carly Gullickson 5-3 to preserve Sacramento's victory. Springfield ended its season 4-10.
   The Capitals and Aces split their two regular-season matches, both in St. Louis.
   The Aces won 26-21 in the season opener for both teams. Half of the Capitals' roster missed the match because Vania King rested after Wimbledon and Dusan Vemic encountered visa problems in Serbia.  
   In its seventh match of the season, Sacramento edged St. Louis 20-19 in a Supertiebreaker.
   Capitals 21, Springfield 17
   Men's singles -- Dusan Vemic, Capitals, def. Greg A. Jones, Spr., 5-4.
   Women's doubles -- Vania King and Yasmin Schnack, Capitals, def. Carly Gullickson and Lilia Osterloh, Spr., 5-0.
   Men's doubles -- Jones and de Voest, Spr., def. Mark Knowles and Vemic, Capitals, 5-4.
   Women's singles -- Osterloh, Spr., def. King, Capitals, 5-2.
   Mixed doubles -- King and Knowles, Capitals, def. Gullickson and de Voest, Spr., 5-3.

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