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Inaugural women’s league was a hit with another planned for next fall


Courtesy of the women’s league teams
Several members of the Dinking Buddies team.

Organizers and participants in the inaugural U.S. Team Pickleball Women’s League had no doubts about it being a hit. That is why, in part, a fall league already is planned.


The spring sessions are over for the fledgling four teams who faced one another three times each. Team captains vow to return with the chief organizer aiming to double the league to eight teams, and the possibility of two divisions for levels of play.


“I just want to grow,” league developer Maggie McClintock said. “The whole vibe is different.”

Courtesy of the women’s league teams
Shown is a doubles match between the Drop Shot Divas and Dink-Hers.

“I think it turned out really well,” said Katie Bates, who captained Side Out Sistas. “I was super-excited to be a part of it and can’t wait to do it again.”


Dinking Buddies captain Jill Kwiatkowski would welcome facing different teams, reasoning, “The more you play somebody the more you get used to their style of play.”


Added Laurie Kleiner, who captained Dink-Hers, “Eight would be good, but you’d have to play more often.”


Drop Shot Divas won the first league title with captain Leslie Vann saying, “We lived up to our name. Hopefully, since it was a success we’re going to have more teams.”


Players relished taking part in an all-women’s league (three teams played at the Hillsborough Community College courts with the Drop Shot Divas playing at the Ardea Country Club in Oldsmar) compared to playing in mixed leagues or tournaments with men.

Courtesy of the women’s league teams
Several players in the Side Out Sistas get ready for a match.

“You become closer as females and it’s a different type of play,” McClintock said.


“It was a more comfortable setup,” Kleiner said. “It was more of a fun thing than some of the leagues that can get more intense.”


“The camaraderie was great and everybody got along,” Kwiatkowski said.


That included getting along with opponents as well.


“The teams were friendly to each other,” Kleiner said. “It worked out really well.”


Making friends happened naturally with Bates saying, “We bonded with each other. We became closer as a team.”

Courtesy of the women’s league teams
The Dink-Hers team.

For the most part, women agreed that their individual skills and teamwork improved throughout the season.


“They got better,” said Kwiatkowski, alluding to four players who came in with limited experience. “By the end they were playing more consistent. They seemed to enjoy it.”


As the season went along, captains kept some players together while changing up other duos seeking the right chemistry on the court.


“We figured out who plays well together,” Kleiner said.


BY STEVE LEE

Times Total Media Correspondent

Photos courtesy of the Women’s League teams

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