Shea comes back from the west to win her own JPNEWT stop

She hadn't won an event on her own JPNEWT tour since last September, and for the past five months had been dealing with the effects of an injured elbow that forced her to restructure her stroke, using a finger grip instead of a palm grip.  She shook it all off, and went 6-1 on the weekend of June 25-26 to win the $500-added JPNEWT stop that had drawn 17 entrants to Champions Billiards Café in Frederick, MD.

After a first round bye, Shea defeated her tour partner, Sharon O'Hanlon 7-4, and defeated Kia Sudbury 7-3. She then ran into Tina Meraglio among the winners' side final four. Meraglio,  at the time of the match, was in second place in the tour standings behind Megan Smith (Shea was in 10th place). Meraglio dominated the match 7-1.

"I played horribly in that first match against her," she said after the event, "and the whole match, I didn't see a ball. She had me 5-0 at the start."

Shea moved west, from whence she would return for a come-uppance match against Meraglio in the semifinals. Meraglio moved on to the hot seat match against Briana Miller (# 5 in the standings), who had defeated Megan Smith (# 1 in the tour standings) 7-4. Miller and Meraglio locked up in a double hill struggle for the hot seat that eventually sent Meraglio to the one-loss side for her re-match versus Shea.

First up for Shea in the west bracket was Shanna Lewis (# 4 in the standings), who had survived a double hill struggle against Nicole Vincent and defeated Ji-Hyun Park 7-3. Smith drew My-Han Lac, who'd gotten by Pauline Mattes and Kathy Friend, both 7-3. Shea hooked up with Smith in the quarterfinals, once Shea had defeated Lewis 7-3 and Smith had downed Lac 7-5.

Shea faced the # 1 player on her tour (Smith) and dominated in a 7-1 victory that gave her a second chance against Meraglio.  Moving into the second match against Meraglio, she was sporting a 28-11 record in games she had won (72%). With the addition of the games played in her first match against Meraglio, that percentage was down 10 points to 62%.  She took full advantage of her second opportunity, defeating Meraglio in the semifinals 7-3.

Shea moved quickly into the lead in the extended race-to-9 finals against Miller, and was up by three at 5-2. Miller returned from a break to take the next game, but Shea responded with the two she needed to extend the race to nine games. Shea took a break and Miller won the next game to make it 7-4. Shea responded in the same way, taking the next two to win the event.

"It felt good to play well again," said Shea.