For just the fourth time in 30 years, the George Myers Church Cup trophy is coming back to the Eastern section.
Team Eastern traveled to the Merion Cricket Club in Haverford, Penn., to compete against teams from other USTA sections for the Church Cup this past weekend. The Eastern team, captained by Hofstra head coach Jason Pasion, defeated the USTA New England section 7-2 in the finals.
“It is such a prestigious tournament with such deep history,” said Pasion. “The event dates back to the early 1900s and was played by many professionals, some legends, including Hall of Famer and 10-time Grand Slam champion Bill Tilden. It was also extra special winning it at the Merion Cricket Club because that’s where the first ever Church Cup event was held.”
The Church Cup was donated by George Myers Church in 1918 for competition between men’s teams representing Boston, New York and Philadelphia, and it continued in that format until 1932. The competition was not held between 1933 and 1945, but returned in 1946, with the competing teams representing three USTA sectional associations: USTA Eastern, USTA Middle States and USTA New England. In 1947, what is now called the USTA Mid-Atlantic Section was admitted to the competition.
The win was a little extra special for the Eastern squad this year following a heartbreaking 5-4 loss to the USTA Middle States last year. This year’s team was represented by Quinnton Vega, Gary Kushnirovich, Marcus Smith, Shawn Jackson, Julien Wolfe, Dylan Friedman, Austen Huang and Jackie Tang.
“One of the key’s to winning this year’s championship was the ability for our players to change their style of play,” Pasion added. “Today’s game is played mainly from the baseline, with players hitting deep hard groundstrokes, rather than coming to the net. I thought our players adjusted to the grass game well by serving and volleying, and chipping and charging.”
Pasion and his team will now head into next year as the reigning Church Cup champions, and are already looking forward to defending the title:
“We are proud to bring the cup back to the east. We are looking forward to defending our championship next year in New England.”