Brookhaven again has strong showing at USTA state competition with 3.0, 3.5 titles

Published 9:00 am Saturday, June 24, 2023

United States Tennis Association (USTA) Team competition is a big draw among the fans of the game in Brookhaven and Lincoln County.

There are two teams from the area that are currently practicing to next play at the sectional level later this summer after winning the recent state level tournaments.

Mary Lyndsey Lumley recently captained an 18 & Over Women 3.0 team that captured the state tournament at Parham Bridges in Jackson.

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Team members include Lumley, Cindy Foster, Cortney Hodges, Melissa Leggett, Amber James, Laura Murray, Courtney Owens, Sarah Reynolds, Leah Stewart and Erin Waltman.

They’ve now qualified to play in the sectional championships in Rome, Georgia.

They won’t be the only group from Brookhaven playing in Rome as the 18 & Over Women 3.5 team recently won a state title too at Parham Bridges.

The 3.0 team will play in their sectionals on July 21-22. The 3.5 team will be in action at sectionals a week later, on July 28-30.

The tennis ranking system begins with a 1.0 player that’s just beginning to the game, all the way up to a world-class player on the other end of the scale at a 7.0.

Members of the 3.5 team include team captain Taylor Berry, Emily Bellipanni, Alex Case, Megan Case, Missy Kilpatrick, Mackenzie Jackson, Charley Schmidt, Paige Sullivan, Stephanie Triplett and Lumley.

For many, the chance to play team tennis is a good outlet for women who played tennis or other sports in high school. Berry, then Crain, was a standout softball player during her time as a student-athlete at Brookhaven High.

“The thing I love the most is being part of a team and the chance to be competitive again,” said Berry. “So many people are playing tennis right now and it gives you an opportunity to form friendships with people you may not would have known otherwise — plus it’s fun to win.”

Lumley got a double dose of winning as she played up on the 3.5 team to help them round out their roster. She echoes Berry’s assessment of the popularity of tennis locally.

“I’m so proud of the vibrant and growing tennis program in Brookhaven,” said Lumley. “For us to have three teams in the state finals from such a small town, it’s a huge accomplishment and things are only looking better in the coming years. We would love to thank the tennis pros of Brookhaven — Terrie Hall, John Lofton, Jacob Wiggins and David Misner — for being the absolute best coaches.”

Berry also credits Misner with helping her team grow in their skills.

“We have a quad ball drill with David a lot and he has helped us each so much,” said Berry. “He makes it fun for us while also helping us improve our game. You can tell just how passionate he is about tennis as well as coaching.”

Lumley says her team is a reflection of players working on their game to get better and grow on the USTA scale.

“Last year, the majority of players on this team were playing in the 2.5 Division and didn’t make it to the finals of the state tournament,” said Lumley. “This year, we joined some of the 3.0 players on their second year in this division and with a lot of hard work, determination and encouragement from the seasoned players, we exceeded our expectations and had the best time doing so.”