Tennis Team Serves Up Lots Of Aloha

Alana Folen
Wednesday - January 06, 2010
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The Rubber Duckies 6.0 mixed doubles team put their best swing forward and took home second place at the recent USTA League 6.0 Mixed Doubles National Championship in Tucson, Ariz.

Team members Marisa Oshiro of Pearl City along with Mary Castillo, Derik Leong, Kristopher Li, Michael Chong, Madeline Chun, Glenn Yamamoto and Lorianne Siu brought their game and infectious aloha spirit to the Mainland tournament Nov. 20-22, beating a team from Minnesota in the first match.

“After the match, their captain, Carl Bigby, approached me and commented about the outstanding sportsmanship that (Li) and (Chun) displayed after their player injured his knee during that match,” said team captain Andrea Neal, adding that when going into the semi-finals, the Rubber Duckies were highly praised for their outstanding sportsman-ship.


“We played a Florida team, (and) after the match, they also complimented me that our team was the nicest team they played, so if they had to lose, they were glad it was to us,” said Neal.

“Players from teams we had beaten came to support us in the semis and finals - it was an awesome feeling. I figured out early on that if you want a winning team, you start with really nice people who enjoy playing tennis.”

Team members Grant Migita, Mayumi Nomura and Waipahu resident Carl Yamaguchi weren’t able to attend the tournament, but Neal knows without a doubt that each player on her team has a passion for the game.

“I always put my tennis team together by finding fun-loving tennis players,” she said. “I believe it is more important to find great people that love to play tennis than focusing only on a person’s tennis abilities.

“From day one when I formed this team, my plan was not only to be able to represent Hawaii at nationals, but to win nationals,” added Neal, who put her first mixed team together in 2007. “It was more exciting than I had imagined - first, to beat the four teams in our flight, then to advance and win the semi-finals. As we beat each team, it became clearer and clearer that we were gathering a group of supporters rooting for us.”

More recently, the Rubber Duckies Senior Mixed 6.0 team, captained by Siu, competed in the CORP sectionals last month against several Neighbor Island teams and took home first place. In addition to Siu, the team includes Neal, Waipahu resident Mary Glenn, Ewa Beach residents Emelyn and Ted Damasao and Norman Saruwatari.

The team will represent Hawaii in the first-ever national event for the senior mixed league in April.

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