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20th annual Volley For SERV

20th annual Volley For SERV returns to tennis-only format and becomes successful fundraiser

For two decades, area tennis players have shown up and suited up to support the SERV Foundation’s Volley For SERV Tennis Tournament. This 20th annual event was no exception.

Gary van Nostrand, SERV Behavioral Health System, Inc. President and CEO, called it the “best Volley in recent memory. It was great to see familiar faces from the past back again,” he said.

On a sweltering June 21 at Cherry Valley Country Club in Skillman, 58 enthusiastic players were matched in Women’s A & B doubles, Men’s A & B doubles, Mixed Doubles and Pros Doubles. Each of the winners in each division received an engraved plaque with their photo. They were:

Womens’ A Doubles: Winners, Gwen Guidice and Louise Gengler; Runners-Up,   Beth Deitchman and Cari Werner.

Women’s B Doubles: Winners, Lisa Smukler and Lisa Brock; Runners-Up, Ann Loprinzi and Christie O’Shaughnessy.

Men’s A Doubles: Winners, Alex Bauman and Taylor Illes; Runners-Up, Brian Klansky and George Benaur.

Men’s B Doubles: Winners, Ted Golfinopoulos and David Whiting; Runners-Up, Roland Pott and Barry Szaferman.

Mixed Doubles: Winners, Ron Berg and Sara Romagnoli; Runners- Up, Peter Kauzman and Rachel Zhang.

Pros Doubles: Winners, Rob Howland and Jeremy Eckardt; Runners-Up, Chris Clayton and Ilia Shatashvili.

During the daytime tournament, Volley For SERV tennis committee member Brad Werner, owner of Pennsbury Racquet and Athletic Club in Morrisville, Pa., provided lively commentary at the stadium court. Mr. Werner also runs the tennis program at Greenacres Country Club in Lawrence and the Brookside Swim & Tennis Club in Yardley, Pa.

Just as guests were arriving for the evening reception, the pros took center stage for the finalists match. Attendees gathered outside on the sun-soaked veranda with cocktails and hors d’oeuvres in hand to watch the hard-driving pros return the balls with lightning speed. The final match between Rob Howland/Jeremy Eckardt and Chris Clayton/Ilia Shatashvili teams capped off a full day of competitive play and segued into the awards reception inside the country club.

As people filtered indoors for the cocktail hour, guests continued bidding on the 53 silent auction baskets filled with fabulous items donated by area businesses and individuals and enjoyed hors d’oeuvres followed by an exquisite dinner buffet.

Mr. van Nostrand kicked off the evening by welcoming everyone and providing some insight about SERV’s mission. He explained that proceeds from the 20th annual Volley For SERV -- which this year changed from a golf and tennis outing back to the original tennis-only format -- will benefit the works of The SERV Foundation, which includes the Scholarship Fund and the annual Recovery NJ Conference.

Mr. van Nostrand next presented the first-ever Volley For SERV Award to three area women in the tennis community who have devoted themselves to raising funds for area nonprofit organizations, including SERV. He presented plaques and gifts to Beth Deitchman of Titusville, and Ginny Mason and Lisa Smukler of Princeton. All three of the women were involved on this year’s Volley For SERV committee and were responsible for gathering players, supporters and silent auction items for the fundraiser.

Volley For SERV committee members were Chairman Ted Golfinopoulos, TG & Associates; honorees Beth Deitchman, Ginny Mason and Lisa Smukler; Ward Bauman, Corporate Synergies; Brad Werner, Pennsbury Racquet & Athletic Club; Paul Kramer; Ann LoPrinzi, The Times of Trenton; Ed Torres, Rider University; Keith Wheelock, Raritan Valley Community College; Liz Tindall, Mercer Regional Chamber of Commerce; Louis Natale, Ritchie & Page Distributing Co.; and Keith V. Hamilton, Lisa Gerth, David Whiting and Ida Doolan of SERV.

Mr. Werner returned to the podium to conduct the live auction of a private fall barbecue for 24 people at the Princeton home of honoree Ginny Mason and her husband Robert Willig. The magnificent Mason- Willig home sits on 5 acres and is perfect for entertaining. It includes a tennis court, basketball court, swimming pool, billiard room and more.

Amy Smith of Princeton won the auction item for $2,000; however, in an unexpected twist, Ginny Mason generously offered a second barbecue to the second highest bidder, Donald Loff of Ringoes, and he accepted.

The much-anticipated portion of the evening was the drawing for the winners of the 50/50 Super Cash Raffle, which raised $18,300.   The first-prize winner was Jennifer Pirone of Hamilton, who received $7,320 (40% of total raised) and the second-prize winner was Charles Villano of Brick, who received $1,830 (10% of total raised).

Ms. Pirone, who was not in attendance, dropped in at SERV later in the week to pick up her check. “I have never won anything in my life!” said an excited Ms. Pirone, who had decided to buy two tickets at the reduced price of $50.

The 20th annual Volley For SERV raised $28,777, plus an additional $8,534 from the Super Cash Raffle, for a total of $37,311, according to Keith Hamilton.

“Volley for SERV went off without a hitch,” said Mr. van Nostrand. “The  return to the original tennis-only format was a great success. Two of our board members (Ward Bauman and Ted Golfinopoulos) worked together with the Foundation staff (Keith Hamilton, Ida Doolan and Lisa Gerth) and an active committee of community volunteers to stage the best Volley in years. Congratulations to all involved!”