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Midwest 3.0 team balances family and tennis

October 8, 2016 08:59 PM

By Shaylee Souza, special to USTA.com

SURPRISE, Ariz. – Bouncing back and forth while twisting her racquet, Shannon Mahovlic focused on the incoming serve. It was a quiet scene, but what happened next wasn’t so quiet.

Mahovlic (pictured above) is part of the Midwest Section team competing in the USTA League Adult 18 & Over 3.0 National Championships at the Surprise T&R Complex. As she concentrated on her match, a teammate jumped up and down shouting, “We made it! We made it to the championship!”

This year is the first time the team has made it this far. The group of 10 women made it all the way to Sectionals last year but couldn’t take the final step to Nationals. Saddened but determined, they turned their gaze toward 2016 and have succeeded this year.

“We are all very humbled to be playing in the National Championships,” said Mahovlic. “A lot of us have children and families and spend a lot of our time taking care of others, so we are very excited to be here.”

After a disappointing 3-2 loss to New England on Saturday morning, it would have been easy for members of  the team to hang their heads. However, they are just happy to be part of the experience in Arizona.

Many of the women on the team have used tennis as an outlet from the everyday challenges of family life and a fun way to exercise, but they never predicted they would make it this far together. In spending countless hours with one another, they found comfort with each other and have become a second family.

“I’m a single, working mom, so it can be challenging,” said Mahovlic. “I am so grateful there is an organization like the USTA that allows us to do this and has been so supportive the entire way.”