The Team from Pillar College are the newest team to shake the standings in the NCTTA competition. In 2016 4 Time US National Coach of the Year and two time Olympian Lily Yip set out on a mission to work with Pillar to develop a table tennis program, she was determined to turn Pillar College into a 'ping pong powerhouse'. The team is led by two time Olympian Timothy Wang who won the Mid-Atlantic Singles Title to kick off the day in North Carolina where Triangle Table Tennis hosted the 2017 NCTTA Mid-Atlantic Regional Championship.
Holding the third spot is New Zealand's Matt Hetherington, this rounds the teams leading 3 players with a wealth of Olympic and International experience with numerous Olympics and World Stage events between the three. The 4th player in the team is Esteban Lizana who is following in the footsteps of Coach Yip in developing his penhold attacking style.
The team were champions in the Pennsylvania divisional last month and carried through their winning run to North Carolina. As the teams fought to qualify through to compete against the seeded teams it was the University of Charlotte led by Alexander Hohl who would face Pillar in the quarterfinals. Pillar took the tie 3-1 with the top 3 players leading out with wins.
The semifinals would see an interesting matchup with Pillar taking on UPenn in a divisional rematch. The pressure fell upon Lily Yip as she faced a rematch against UPenn's Lucy Ma who had upset her earlier in the Women's Singles semifinal. With the team ahead 2-1, Lily's match would either win or result in a tiebreaker. With a 2-0 lead in hand, Lily Yip moved to close out the match but Ma fought back in to claim the third set. You could see a renewed sense of determination from Pillar's Head Coach and number 2 player as she fought to close out the match 3-1 and advance Pillar into the final where they would face Duke University.
In a rematch of the Men's Singles Final Tim Wang locked out the top spot win over Roger Rao 3-0 while Matt Hetherington took out Women's Singles Champion Claire Xiao also 3-0. Duke number 4 player Michael Zhang was able to comfortably account for Esteban Lizana leaving Lily Yip again to hold the balance as Pillar led 3-1. Yip faced Charlie Berman, a left handed short pips attacker, in a thrilling match which saw 5 games. Going into the fifth set it was the Duke player who held a 5-1 lead at the change of ends but the experienced Lily Yip forced her way back into the match to draw at 6-6 and drove the momentum home to an 11-8 win. Another 3-1 victory for Pillar and their first championship title.
University of Pennsylvania were the victors in the Women's Team Event over Duke 3-1 while William and Mary took the third place in the Co-Ed teams over University of Pennsylvania, a match which went all the way down to the doubles. The 3-2 for William and Mary gives them a direct qualification spot to the NCTTA Nationals.
Full Results HERE: http://nctta.org/content/results
2017 NCTTA Mid-Atlantic Regional Live Stream Archive Video