D.C. Pickleball Team started the 2023 Major League Pickleball campaign on January 26th playing in the Challenger Level, the home to pro pickleball's next wave of 48 up-and-coming top talents of tomorrow. The year will be divided into two “seasons” of three events – in the first season, 12 teams will compete in the MLP Premier Level (the first 48 drafted players) and 12 will compete in the MLP Challenger Level (the next 48 drafted players), with rosters consisting of two men and two women. The teams will then flip levels and re-draft players for the second season that starts September 21st.
Season one’s Challenger Level roster included Sam Querrey – 10-time ATP Tour Titleist and ranked 11th in the world in 2018; Stefan Auvergne – an exciting new player from France and former competitive tennis player, competitive gamer and race car driver; Shelby Bates – former D1 Tennis Player at Coastal Carolina University; and Judit Castillo– former D1 Tennis Player at Northwestern State University.
Season two's Premier Level roster includes Riley Newman, world ranked #2 in pickleball; twin sisters, Jackie and Jade Kawamoto, former D1 tennis players at the University of Dayton; and Christian Alshon, former University of Chicago tennis champion where he was team captain and undefeated in singles.
Results for the 2023 year across both seasons and Levels will place the Top 12 performing teams into the higher-tier MLP Premier Level and the Bottom 12 performing teams into the up-and-comer MLP Challenger Level for 2024, with a promotion and relegation system in place to allow for team mobility.
Coming off the team's first MLP Finals appearance in Atlanta where DCPT took second place to the Orlando Squeeze, the team was out for revenge.
Just like Atlanta, DC was able to earn the #2 seed through group play receiving a first round bye to the Semifinals. Despite not playing to their full potential in the first two days of group play the team came out with a different energy and attitude on Championship Sunday. They swept the Brooklyn Aces in the semifinals and didn’t lose more than 16 points in either of the three doubles matches. After an Orlando Squeeze victory over the Chicago Slice in the other semifinal match, the stage was set for the Championship rematch, which will go down in pickleball history as one of the highest levels of pickleball we've ever seen to date.
The Kawamoto’s played flawlessly as they had an answer for every attack from the uber aggressive duo of Anna Bright and Rachel Rohrabacher to grab a 1-0 lead for DC. Riley Newman and Christian Alshon fed off that and beat the Squeeze men 21-10. Just like MLP Atlanta the scoreboard read 2-0 DC, but this time it was Riley Newman sending himself and Jade Kawamoto out to try and close the match out 3-0 as they didn’t want to give the Squeeze any momentum. After exchanging points in the first half of the match the Squeeze were able to separate going up 15-10 and riding that lead all the way to 20-17. However, Riley and Jade never wavered as they fought off match points to tie it up at 20. After exchanging a few points Jade Kawamoto pushed DC in front 23-22 with a perfectly timed Erne. Newman did the rest and DC avenged their loss with a 3-0 statement win to take MLP Dallas and what is the first ever championship in D.C. Pickleball Team franchise history. Read the Full Story Here.
Rewatch the most epic Major League Pickleball Finals to date as we rematched the Orlando Squeeze in a match for the ages at MLP Dallas Here.
D.C. Pickleball Team kicked off Major League Pickleball ('MLP') season 2 in Atlanta on September 21-24. The team came in with high expectations as many pro pickleball fans and experts were high on their drafted roster. Despite landing in group B, which quickly became known as the group of death as the top three draft picks (Ben Johns, Anna Leigh Waters and Riley Newman) were all scheduled to face off against each other, the team came out fearlessly winning their first two matches vs. Utah and Dallas. While taking Ben and Co. to the brink in a DreamBreaker DCPT dropped one to Chicago. However, thanks to the way net wins and point differential played out, DCPT advanced to the Semifinals by earning a bye as the #2 seed. DCPT had to go through a hot Miami team to reach the finals vs. Orlando, but were able to prevail to reach the franchise's first ever final in team history; full story here: https://dcpickleballteam.com/latest-news-1
Sam Querrey, Shelby Bates, Stefan Auvergne, and Judit Castillo made the team's first ever semifinal run at Major League Pickleball's San Clemente tournament, June 15-18th. Defeating Brooklyn and Orlando in group play was enough to advance to the Quarterfinals vs. AZ Drive where DCPT took the match 3-1. This would set up a rematch in the semifinals vs. Dallas Pickleball Club who defeated DCPT the day prior in group play. While DCPT fought tough and almost pulled out the victory, Dallas was ultimately too much. Dallas went on to win the Challenger Level Championship the next day. DCPT's performance puts them in striking distance of the top 10 best teams in the year-long MLP standings, separated by just four points.
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