Will Howells hits a pickleball backhand.
Will Howells competing at the Veolia Houston Open. PPA Tour

5s in five: New Jersey overcomes LA in Dreambreaker

PEACHTREE CORNERS, GA - Singles points between Anna Leigh Waters and Catherine Parenteau are usually reserved for Championship Sunday, but we were treated to some early Friday afternoon in the Dreambreaker between the New Jersey 5s and LA Mad Drops.

This was the first match of the season for both squads, and if their collective energy intensity on court is any indication, 2024 will be a great year of MLP competition.

New Jersey and LA split the four doubles games to force a Dreambreaker, with each team winning one gender doubles and one mixed doubles matchup along the way.

The teams switched sides with LA leading 11-10, but strong rotations from Waters and Mari Humberg helped the 5s generate an 18-14 lead and eventually close out the match, 21-17.


The 5s roster features two experienced players in Waters and three-time MLP champion Zane Navratil as well as two players new to the MLP Premier level in Humberg and Will Howells.

Despite the strong start to their 2024 campaign, Waters wants to focus on team improvement early on and keep her eyes on the prize down the road: the MLP playoffs.

“We’re in it for the long run,” she said. “These results in the first tournament are great, but I think this team is going to grow as the season goes.”

The 5s will next take on the New York Hustlers Friday evening, while the Mad Drops will rest until Saturday when they take on the St. Louis Shock.