Team in the home stretch for a third consecutive shot at King Trophy
There may be only five games left on the Aviators’ schedule in the 2018 WTT regular season, but the league’s final contenders are far from decided. And the Aviators, currently sitting just a half of a game out of second place, are in the heat of the race to the finish line. With the Philadelphia Freedoms currently sitting at 9-1, they look like the presumptive team to capture first place at the end of the regular season. There’s nothing to be assumed beyond that.
Three matches back from the Freedoms, the Washington Kastles sit in second place at 6-4 with three teams nipping at their heels. Our Aviators follow closely at only a half-match behind with a 5-4 record, but have a bit of a scheduling advantage going into the last week of the season since four of our final five matches will be played at home. The Kastles, who fell to the Freedoms yesterday in a match played in Chicago, must travel to Philadelphia today for a back-to-back rematch. They’ll finish their season with three more road matches, never again to see the friendly faces of a home crowd on their own turf at Kastles Stadium in Washington, D.C. They’re a tough team, but trying to close the season out of a suitcase will be a challenge.
It was a tough two-game road trip this past week where the team first faced a stacked Kastles team, including Venus Williams. In men’s singles, Marcus Willis took on Tennys Sandgren. Willis has thrived in league competition this season. He is currently the league leader in men’s singles and doubles, and against Sandgren, he showed Kastles fans why. Willis closed out Sandgren with forceful serving, precise groundstroke placement, and a let serve winner to take the set, 5-3. Naomi Broady closed the evening out in Women’s singles. She took Williams to a Super Tie Breaker with a 6-6 nail-biter final point at the end. The team then flew to Philly that night and landed at 1:30 in the morning. This did not set us up for success for our noon match there. We lost to the No. 1 Freedoms 25-12.
Needless to say we are happy to be on our home court tonight where we will take on the Orange Country Breakers for the third of four 2018 season meetings against our west coast rivals. The team is looking forward to the home town fans’ support to set the momentum for the remainder of the regular season and secure a spot in the finals for the third consecutive year.
Hot on the Aviators’ heels, the Orange County Breakers sit at 4-5. Though they currently trail the Aviators by one match, they’re nowhere near ready to pack things up for the season. In both 2016 and 2017, the WTT season culminated in a SoCal matchup to determine the league champs. In 2016, the Aviators beat out the Breakers to take the win; in 2017, the Breakers returned the favor. This history means the Aviators are all the more motivated to show the Breakers, the league, and their fans who is truly the best in Southern California.
To add another layer to the importance of tonight’s matchup, the Breakers are the only team in the entire league that has beaten the first place Freedoms. And like the Aviators, they’ve got just one road match left on their schedule — when they take the court at Omni La Costa Resort & Spa at 7 p.m. tonight.
Finally, tied with the Breakers with a 4-5 record, the Springfield Lasers also have a shot at the championship. After taking out a confident Kastles team this week to snap a three-game win streak, the Lasers have shown they’re a force to be reckoned with. The Aviators will welcome the Lasers to La Costa for their final meeting of the season on August 2.
It’s time to see this season through to the finish line! With just four home games left, every match counts. Tickets are still available for the remaining home matches. Click here for more information. Come cheer the team on and be a part of the Aviators’ success!