MATA, Ogborne finally wins big Intersectional trophy

MATA, Ogborne finally wins big Intersectional trophy

By John Packett

RTA Contributing Writer

RICHMOND– For over a decade, Julie Ogborne has taken her Mid-Atlantic squad to the U.S. Tennis Association’s National Team Intersectional Championships to compete against some of the top players in their age groups.

But the MATA group had never brought home the big trophy until last month in Boca Raton, Fla.

Ogborne, the team captain and doubles player from Richmond, said it was special to win this year.

“There were so many years that we finished second or third,” said Ogborne, a former city singles and doubles champion.

The rest of the lineup included Richmonders Kirsten Elim and Leslie Butterworth, Alicia Rowley of Fredericksburg, and Andrea Rice of Bethesda, Md.

The Mid-Atlantic section of the USTA is made up of Maryland, D.C., and Virginia.

Ogborne said it was helpful that everybody was healthy this year.

“Typically in the past, somebody was missing,” explained Ogborne. “I felt like this time we really had everybody who was healthy and playing well and bringing their ‘A’ game when they needed to.”

After a first-round bye as the No. 2 seeds, the MATA quintet defeated Pacific Northwest 4-1.

Ogborne, a former William and Mary standout, placed Rowley at No. 1 singles, Rice at No. 2 and Elim, another former Richmond champion, at No. 3.

The top doubles team consisted of Rice and Butterworth, while longtime partners Ogborne and Elim played the No. 2 line. 

Ogborne said they kept the same lineup every day.

“At first, I thought I might rotate players in and out of singles,” said Ogborne. “But this was our best lineup.”

The critical match came in the semifinals, where the team edged third-seeded Texas 3-2. The Texans were led by Gretchen Majors, a former professional player.

Ogborne said it was the first time her player had beaten Majors in a singles match.

Alicia came back and beat her in three sets,” said Ogborne. “That was enormous.”

The team entered the doubles competition with a 2-1 lead. Butterworth and Rice lost in a third-set tiebreaker, but Ogborne and Elim pulled out their match to clinch it.

The MATA squad then knocked off No. 4 seed Southern in the final match by a score of 4-1.

Ogborne said it was surprising that every singles player won their line in the final.

“I don’t remember a year that a team had swept all three singles to win the tournament,” said Ogborne. “It’s very hard to win all three singles.”

Ogborne said she is hopeful that her team will return to Arizona next year to defend their title.