Washington Kastles Win Eastern Conference Championship And Push Streak To 31 Matches Defending champions outlast New York Sportimes for fourth time this year, head to finals
CHARLESTON, S.C. – September 15, 2012 – Defending World Team Tennis champions Washington Kastles defeated their arch-rival, the New York Sportimes, 19-15 in the WTT Eastern Conference final, propelling the team into Sunday’s championship match for the second consecutive year and extending the team’s historic win streak to 31 matches.
With the match tied and one set remaining, four-time Olympic gold medalist Venus Williams blasted her way past Ashley Harkleroad 5-1 in women’s singles to clinch a spot for the Kastles in the WTT Finals for the third time in four years.
“We’ve been in this situation before and we knew how to win. There was a lot of pressure on us, but we just knew we had to put the ball in play and go for the shot,” said Venus Williams. “It shows why we are a great team.”
The arch-rival Sportimes had been the Kastles’ toughest opponent during the regular season, including a thrilling 21-20 Washington win on July 21, when Venus Williams rallied from six games down in the final set to complete the franchise’s largest comeback ever.
Next up is the Western Conference champion Sacramento Capitals. They defeated the Orange County Breakers 25-15 on Friday to advance to the WTT championship match. The Kastles defeated Sacramento 21-19 on July 18.
In posting 31 straight victories, the Kastles have the second-longest winning streak in major U.S. professional sports history and are within range of the 33-game streak by the NBA’s 1971-1972 Los Angeles Lakers. They have already passed the respective records of 17 straight wins set by the NHL Pittsburgh Penguins in 1992-1993, 21 straight wins by the NFL’s New England Patriots in 2003 and 2004, and 26 wins by the 1916 MLB New York Giants.
This year’s 14-0 regular season by the Kastles marked the first time in major U.S. professional sports history in which a team has had consecutive unbeaten regular seasons. Last season, in addition to winning a second WTT title in three years, the Kastles posted a perfect 16-0 record – a first in WTT history.
Kastles’ closer Bobby Reynolds was named the 2012 WTT Male Most Valuable Player. Kastles’ Coach Murphy Jensen was selected as 2012 Coach of the Year, the second straight season he has won that honor.
The 37th WTT regular season ran July 9-28. The championship is being played this year in September to accommodate players who participated in the Olympics and US Open.