CHARLESTON, W.Va. - The women's open doubles division at the Public Courts Tennis Tournament on Wednesday featured a perfect example of the new school versus the old school.
Although the game of tennis is often dominated by younger players, especially in singles competition, the older, more experienced players are showing they aren't riding off into the sunset any time soon.
The team of 41-year old M.C. Liberatore and 42-year old Jo Marie Bohn played against a pair half their age in Jordan Kerns and Silvana Slusarciuc, and the cagy veterans got the best of their much younger counterparts, earning a 6-2, 6-0 victory in the semifinals.
With the win, Liberatore and Bohn, the No. 2 seeded pair, advance to play in the championship on Saturday. They have been coaching tennis longer than one of their opponents on Wednesday, Slusarciuc, a freshman in high school, has been alive.
Slusarciuc is the younger sister of Andreaa, a senior standout on the West Virginia State tennis team, who advanced to the Public Courts women's open singles championship Wednesday.
Kerns, a Hurricane graduate, is a junior on the Yellow Jacket squad that won the final West Virginia Conference championship last season.
"Oh yeah, it feels great to still be considered a great team, even at this age," said Bohn, when asked if makes winning matches even sweeter playing against younger, up-and-coming tennis players. "They were really good. It was a test to see if we still have it. I'm glad we still do a little."
"It feels great to do well and still be here on Saturday, especially because they are young college kids with big groundstrokes," Liberatore said. "It always feels good to get a win when they are young like that. We are getting older and the competition is getting younger."
The experience was clearly on the side of Liberatore and Bohn, who couldn't count the multiple Public Courts titles they have won in different divisions in their more than 40 years combined playing in the tournament. Each estimated their total titles to be in the high teens.
Liberatore has been teaching tennis for 17 years, and is currently the director of advanced junior tennis at the Charleston Tennis Club. She played high school at Point Pleasant, at Virginia Tech and Marshall in college, and was an assistant coach at the University of Charleston.