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2004 Junior Davis Cup

Junior Davis Cup Competition
June 19 – 21, Michigan State University

“Will to Win” by Junior Davis Cup Coach Tom Van Deinse

Fourteen districts comprise the Midwest Section – the largest section in the United States Tennis Association.  So when nearly 150 of the top Midwest players get together each year for a three day team competition in a collegiate meet atmosphere, the level of play is awe-inspiring.  The Chicago District once again came in as the heavy favorite, but our district, NMI, had a win last year to defend, and our goal was to match that result.  We were focused, and despite the odds, we had a “will to win”!

With three nationally ranked players each, Northeast Ohio and Southeastern Michigan presented insurmountable early round challenges.  Joseph Van Deinse was able to give Michigan State High School champion Howie Migdal a scare in a 6-4, 6-1 loss, and Mycael McDowell simply ran out of time in a 6-0, 6-3 loss to Guillaume Schils, but the whole team was rising to the level of their competition each match.

It’s no surprise, then, that on day two Joseph Van Deinse pulled out the team’s first victory with a 6-2, 6-0 win over Northwest Ohio, while Andy Mokszycke and James Van Deinse each lost in tough-fought tie-breakers.

Northern Indiana presented a similar challenge, with Joseph Van Deinse again recording the only victory, but “B-Train” Brett Michel Girard, Rick Halverson, and Phil Mayes each improved their scores and were priming themselves to win the final match against Southern Illinois.

But in that final match of the tournament, Halverson and McDowell lost an early lead and eventually the match, and Mayes and Mokszycke similarly fell short, making the doubles win by Van Deinse and Girard a moral victory only.  (In college rules, whichever team wins the best of three doubles matches gets one point, and each singles match is worth one point.)  Mycael McDowell, Joseph Van Deinse, and Brett Girard each had the will to win their singles matches, putting the team up 3-1.  However, when Halverson dropped his match, it was up to Dan Watson or James Van Deinse to grab the final point to seal the team victory.

Watson, who thrives on close matches, uncharacteristically fell short at 7-5, 7-5, so the fate of Northern Michigan rested squarely on the shoulders of the youngest and shortest player in the entire tournament, James Van Deinse.  And the battle was a classic—a real David and Goliath tale as Van Deinse faced Josh Rockett, whose 125 mph serve matched his name.  Rockett rolled over Van Deinse 6-1 in the first set, but James fought back to win the second set 6-4.  With the rest of the team cheering him on in the third, Van Deinse then held off 7 game points on the Rockett serve, finally breaking through with a down the line passing shot.  One game later the team was celebrating a 4-3 victory over Southern Illinois.

The will to win demonstrated by this year’s Junior Davis Cup team of Brett Girard, Rick Halverson, Phil Mayes, Mycael McDowell, Andy Mokszycke, Joseph and James Van Deinse, and Dan Watson represented the Northern Michigan district very well.  All the boys thank the district for the opportunity.