Monday, February 12, 2018

Weekend round up - Wins for Croft & Connell

Remember Ben Croft? Formerly in the top three of the International Racquetball Tour (IRT)? Has won three US Open Doubles titles with Kane Waselenchuk? Well, he’s still playing, and playing singles.

On the weekend, Croft was in the 2018 Atlanta Singles tournament - a Tier 5 IRT event - in Lilburn, Georgia, where he won a five player round robin without giving up more than six points in any one game (to 15). Overall, Croft surrendered 7 points per match on average in winning the event.

David Stincer came second and Jimmy Lan was third.

Also on the weekend, Lee Connell won the 44th Annual Keystone Classic in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Connell defeated Trevor Webb in the final, 15-10, 11-15, 11-7. Ian Frattinger beat Kirby Shwaykosky, 15-6, 15-8 for third place. Connell and Frattinger won the Keystone doubles title with Matthew Kushnir and Logan Strand coming second in a five team round robin.

Coming Up

The next IRT event is the San Antonio March Madness, March 1-4 in San Antonio, Texas. The next event on the Ladies Professional Racquetball Tour (LPRT) is the 2018 LPRT Peachtree Open in Atlanta, Georgia, March 9-11. The World Racquetball Tour (WRT) will also be in action March 9-11 in Fridley Minnesota with the Life Time Series - Fridley event.

2018 IRT Atlanta Singles
Lilburn, Georgia - February 10-11, 2018


Men’s Open - Final Standings

1. Ben Croft - 4-0
2. David Stincer - 3-1
3. Jimmy Lan - 2-2
4. Marco Mijares - 1-3
5. Todd Upchurch - 0-4

44th Annual Keystone Classic
Winnipeg, Manitoba - February 10-12, 2018


Men’s Open - Final

Lee Connell d. Trevor Webb, 15-10, 11-15, 11-7

Men’s Open - 3rd place

Ian Frattinger d. Kirby Shwaykosky, 15-6, 15-8

Follow the bouncing ball….

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Carson defeats Pratt in National Team Qualifying at 2018 USA Racquetball National Doubles Championships

Rocky Carson and Rhonda Rajsich won the National Team Singles Qualifying Divisions Sunday at the 2018 USA Racquetball National Doubles Championships in Tempe, Arizona. Carson defeated Charlie Pratt, 15-5, 13-15, 11-7, while Rajsich had a walkover win against Kelani Bailey.

Carson dominated game one, going up 14-3. But Pratt fought off three game points before Carson finished it off at 15-5. That little spurt at the end gave Pratt momentum for game two, when he took the early lead 3-0, and 8-4.

However, Carson caught up at 9-9, and then he took the lead 12-9, as he scored six straight points and looked good to win the match in two straight games. Carson maintained the lead to 13-11.

At that point the match stalled, as they traded side outs for nine rallies. Pratt broke the deadlock, scoring two points to tie the game 13-13. Carson called a timeout, and - as often happens - won the next rally to get the serve back.

But Carson was able to use the opening to score, so Pratt got the serve right back. He scored two straight points, winning the game on his first game point with a spectacular shot that he took as he turned around in center court, hitting the ball at shoulder height and put a forehand into the front right corner.

Pratt’s momentum continued into game three, as he got the first two points to lead 2-0. But Carson took control from there, scoring four straight points to lead 4-2. He maintained the lead to the end, which came when a long rally ended with Pratt hitting a backhand down the line shot into the floor to make the score 11-7.

It was a small error, but errors like that were enough to be the difference between him and Carson.

The win puts Carson in the driver's seat for qualifying to play Men's Singles on Team USA at the International Racquetball Federation (IRF) World Championships in China this August. He qualified to play Men's Doubles on the team by winning the USA Racquetball Men's Doubles Championship with Sudsy Monchik on Saturday.

Thus, Carson could qualify to play both singles and doubles at Worlds. But would that be a good idea for a player who will be 39 in May? Carson's in great shape, but Worlds is a long event, lasting over a week, so playing two events during that period will be taxing. Carson is also the 5 time defending Men's Singles champion. Surely, he would want to defend that title, if possible. It will be interesting to see how this situation plays out.

As for the women’s final, Bailey won the Women’s Doubles title with Sharon Jackson Saturday, so perhaps she wasn’t feeling the need to play the need to play the singles final with Rajsich, as they have qualified for the US Team that will compete at Worlds. Regardless, it was disappointing that the women's final was not contested.

If you missed any of the action, you can watch archived matches via the USA Racquetball LiveStream Channel. The Men's Singles final is certainly worth a look.

2018 USA Racquetball National Doubles Championships
Tempe, Arizona
US National Team Divisions

Men’s Singles


Final - Sunday

1) Rocky Carson d. 2) Charlie Pratt, 15-5, 13-15, 11-7

Women’s Singles

Final - Sunday

1) Rhonda Rajsich d. 7) Kelani Bailey, forfeit

Follow the bouncing ball....

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Bailey & Jackson win Women's Doubles at 2018 USA Racquetball National Doubles Championships

Kelani Bailey and Sharon Jackson are the 2018 USA Racquetball Women’s Doubles Champions. They defeated Rhonda Rajsich and Sheryl Lotts, 15-10, 11-15, 11-8, in the final of the USA Racquetball National Doubles Championships in Tempe, Arizona. This is the first title for both Bailey and Jackson, and the win qualifies them to represent the USA in the 2018 International Racquetball Federation (IRT) World Championships in China this August.

Rocky Carson and Sudsy Monchik won the Men’s Doubles title Saturday, as they defeated David Horn and Mauro Rojas, 15-14, 15-8.

The women’s final was a streaky match. After dropping the first game, Rajsich and Lotts took a 8-0 lead in game two, only to see Bailey and Jackson come back to lead 10-8. That put them in position to win the match in two straight games. However, Rajsich and Lotts weren’t going to go quietly, as they came back to win game two 15-11 and force a tie-breaker.

In the breaker, Rajsich and Lotts again took the early lead at 5-0 with Bailey and Jackson coming back to 5-4, and then tying the game at 7-7. It was back and forth from there to 8-8. Bailey and Jackson scored points on back to back rallies to make it 10-8. But their first match point was lost because a penalty hinder was called on Bailey. They appealed but the line judges upheld the call.

With the serve back, Rajsich and Lotts had the advantage despite the score. However, back to back skips - first by Rajsich and then by Lotts - and they gave the serve back to their opponents.

Bailey and Jackson won it on their 2nd match point, as Bailey - playing the left side - drove serve to Rajsich, and the ball came out of the back left corner into the middle, where Rajsich hit it into the floor with her forehand. A disappointing end to a great match.

National Team Qualifying - Singles

Rajsich will have a chance at a measure of revenge on Sunday, as she’ll play Bailey in the final of the National Team Qualifying singles division. Rajsich defeated Erika Manilla, 15-8, 15-4, in one semi-final, and Bailey beat Lotts, 15-8, 15-8, in the other.

On the men’s side, it’ll be #1 versus #2 in the final, as top seed Rocky Carson defeated Jake Bredenbeck in the semi-finals Saturday, 15-13, 15-9, and 2nd seed Charlie Pratt fended off a strong challenge from David Horn, 15-6, 12-15, 11-6.

You can watch the finals live from Tempe via the USA Racquetball LiveStream Channel. The Men’s and Women’s Doubles finals will be early Sunday afternoon. Note the match times below are Mountain time.

2018 USA Racquetball National Doubles Championships
Tempe, Arizona
US National Team Divisions

Men's Doubles


Final - Saturday

2) Rocky Carson & Sudsy Monchik v. 4) David Horn & Mauro Rojas - 4:10 PM

Women's Doubles

Final - Saturday

3) Kelani Bailey & Sharon Jackson d. 4) Rhonda Rajsich & Sheryl Lotts, 15-10, 11-15, 11-8

Men’s Singles

Semi-finals - Saturday

1) Rocky Carson d. 4) Jake Bredenbeck, 15-13, 15-9
2) Charlie Pratt d. 3) David Horn, 15-6, 12-15, 11-6

Final - Sunday

1) Rocky Carson v. 2) Charlie Pratt - 1:50 PM

Women's Singles

Semi-finals - Saturday

1) Rhonda Rajsich d. 5) Erika Manilla, 15-8, 15-4
7) Kelani Bailey d. 6) Sheryl Lotts, 15-8, 15-8

Final - Sunday

1) Rhonda Rajsich v. 7) Kelani Bailey - 12:40 PM

Follow the bouncing ball....

Friday, February 9, 2018

2018 USA Racquetball Doubles Championships - Friday results

It was not a good day to be a #1 seed in doubles at the USA Racquetball National Doubles Championships in Tempe, Arizona, as the top seeds in both Men’s and Women’s National Team Qualifying lost in the semi-finals, as three of the four semis went breaker. The bigger surprise came on the women’s side, as the defending champions - and current World Champions - Aimee Ruiz and Janel Tisinger - lost to 4th seeds Rhonda Rajsich and Sheryl Lotts, 15-8, 8-15, 11-8.

How surprising that outcome? Ruiz and Tisinger have won the title four of the last five years. Moreover, Ruiz has been the USA Women’s Doubles champion 11 of the past 13 seasons. But the two years she wasn’t, Rajsich was (and both times her partner was Kim Russell-Waselenchuk).

Rajsich and Lotts will play 3rd seeds Kelani Bailey and Sharon Jackson in the final, as Bailey and Jackson beat 2nd seeds Erika Manilla and Jackie Paraiso-Larsson, 15-2, 15-14.

Jake Bredenbeck and Jose Diaz, seeking their 2nd title in three seasons, were the top seeds on the men’s side, but they were ousted by 4th seeds David Horn and Mauro Rojas, 15-10, 5-15, 11—8, in the semi-finals. Horn and Rojas will play 2nd seeds Rocky Carson and Sudsy Monchik, who defeated 6th seeds Adam Manilla and Nicholas Riffel, 8-15, 15-13, 11-8.

Thus, the doubles finals look like a new scene, as only three of the eight players have won the title before. Two of them are Carson and Rajsich, who have won nine and two doubles titles, respectively. The other player is Monchik, who has one National Doubles title to his name, which he won with Tim Sweeney back in 1993-94.

National Team Qualifying - Singles

One might say there’s a bit of a changing of the guard in women’s singles at the USA Racquetball National Doubles Championships, as the younger, higher seeded players won three of the four quarterfinals. Rhonda Rajsich, the #1 seed, was the exception, as she comfortably won her match against Sara Jeys, 15-1, 15-1.

But #2 seed Sharon Jackson fell to her doubles partner, 7th seed Kelani Bailey, 15-4, 15-14. Jackson came from behind in game two to get a game point against Bailey, but couldn’t convert, allowing Bailey to win in two straight.

Bailey will play Sheryl Lotts in the semi-finals on Saturday, as Lotts defeated 3rd seed veteran Jackie Paraiso-Larsson, 15-12, 15-10. Janel Tisinger, the 4th seed, lost to 5th seed Erika Manilla, 15-10, 12-15, 11-4, and Manilla will play Rajsich in the semis.

The higher seeds all won, and won comfortably, on the men’s side. Top seed Rocky Carson beat Dane Elkins, 15-3, 15-7. He’ll play Jake Bredenbeck in the semi-finals Saturday, as Bredenbeck beat Adam Manilla, 15-3, 15-8. On the bottom of the draw, 2nd seed Charlie Pratt defeated Nicholas Riffel, 15-3, 15-6, so will face David Horn in the semis, as Horn beat Robert Collins, 15-7, 15-3.

You can watch the action live from Tempe via the USA Racquetball LiveStream Channel. The Men’s and Women’s Doubles finals will be Saturday afternoon with the Singles finals on Sunday. Note the match times below are Mountain time.

2018 USA Racquetball National Doubles Championships
Tempe, Arizona
US National Team Divisions

Men's Doubles


Semi-finals - Friday

4) David Horn & Mauro Rojas d. 1) Jake Bredenbeck & Jose Diaz, 15-10, 5-15, 11—8
2) Rocky Carson & Sudsy Monchik d. 6) Adam Manilla & Nicholas Riffel, 8-15, 15-13, 11-8

Final - Saturday

2) Rocky Carson & Sudsy Monchik v. 4) David Horn & Mauro Rojas - 4:10 PM

Women's Doubles

Semi-finals - Friday

4) Rhonda Rajsich & Sheryl Lotts d. 1) Aimee Ruiz & Janel Tisinger, 15-8, 8-15, 11-8
3) Kelani Bailey & Sharon Jackson d. 2) Erika Manilla & Jacqueline Paraiso, 15-2, 15-14

Final - Saturday

3) Kelani Bailey & Sharon Jackson v. 4) Rhonda Rajsich & Sheryl Lotts - 3 PM

Men’s Singles

Quarterfinals - Friday

1) Rocky Carson d. 8) Dane Elkins, 15-3, 15-7
4) Jake Bredenbeck d. 5) Adam Manilla, 15-3, 15-8

3) David Horn d. 6) Robert Collins, 15-7, 15-3
2) Charlie Pratt d. 7) Nicholas Riffel, 15-3, 15-6

Semi-finals - Saturday

1) Rocky Carson v. 4) Jake Bredenbeck - 1:50 PM
2) Charlie Pratt v. 3) David Horn - 12:40 PM

Women's Singles

Quarterfinals - Friday

1) Rhonda Rajsich d. 9) Sara Jeys, 15-1, 15-1
5) Erika Manilla d. 4) Janel Tisinger, 15-10, 12-15, 11-4

6) Sheryl Lotts d. 3) Jacqueline Paraiso, 15-12, 15-10
7) Kelani Bailey d. 2) Sharon Jackson, 15-4, 15-14

Semi-finals - Saturday

1) Rhonda Rajsich v. 5) Erika Manilla - 10:20 AM
6) Sheryl Lotts v. 7) Kelani Bailey - 11:30 AM

Follow the bouncing ball....

Thursday, February 8, 2018

USA Racquetball National Doubles Championship - Round 1 results

There was only one upset Thursday at the USA Racquetball National Doubles Championships in Tempe, Arizona on the campus of Arizona State University, as 6th seeds Adam Manilla and Nicholas Riffel beat 3rd seeds Charlie Pratt and Jansen Allen, 15-9, 15-9. They will next play 2nd seeds Rocky Carson and Sudsy Monchik, who defeated Tim Herman and Michel Myers, 15-1, 15-5.

Jose Diaz are playing with different partners this year, and last year’s finalists Jose and Marco Rojas aren’t playing at all, so it will be interesting to see what happens. Diaz is playing with Jake Bredenbeck, who he has played with in other events, including last year’s US Open, so they are not a new team. But Carson is on a new team with another veteran: Sudsy Monchik. Diaz and Bredenbeck are the top seeds with Carson and Monchik 2nd seeds.

Sheryl Lotts and Rhonda Rajsich needed a tie-breaker to win their match against Laura Fenton and Michelle De La Rosa, 15-11, 7-15, 11-4. Lotts and Rajsich will play defending champions and current World Champions Aimee Ruiz and Janel Tisinger in the semi-finals.

You can watch some of the action live from Tempe via the USA Racquetball website. The Men’s and Women’s Doubles finals will be Saturday afternoon with the Singles finals on Sunday. Note the match times below are Mountain time.

2018 USA Racquetball National Doubles Championships
Tempe, Arizona
US National Team Divisions

Men's Doubles

Quarterfinals - Thursday


1) Jake Bredenbeck & Jose Diaz d. 8) Shane McDougal & Adam Wyatt, 15-1, 15-3
4) David Horn & Mauro Rojas d. 5) Thomas Carter & Robert Collins, 15-8, 15-11

6) Adam Manilla & Nicholas Riffel d. 3) Charlie Pratt & Jansen Allen, 15-9, 15-9
2) Rocky Carson & Sudsy Monchik d. 7) Tim Herman & Michael Myers, 15-1, 15-5

Semi-finals - Friday

1) Jake Bredenbeck & Jose Diaz v. 4) David Horn & Mauro Rojas - 6:35 PM
2) Rocky Carson & Sudsy Monchik v. 6) Adam Manilla & Nicholas Riffel - 3:05 PM

Women's Doubles

Quarterfinals - Thursday


1) Aimee Ruiz & Janel Tisinger - BYE
4) Rhonda Rajsich & Sheryl Lotts d. 5) Michelle De La Rosa & Laura Fenton, 15-11, 7-15, 11-4

3) Kelani Bailey & Sharon Jackson d. 6) Briana Jacquet & Sara Jeys, 15-5, 15-9
2) Erika Manilla & Jacqueline Paraiso - BYE

Semi-finals - Friday

1) Aimee Ruiz & Janel Tisinger v. 4) Rhonda Rajsich & Sheryl Lotts - 5:25 PM
2) Erika Manilla & Jacqueline Paraiso v. 3) Kelani Bailey & Sharon Jackson - 4:15 PM

Men’s Singles

Round of 16 - Thursday


1) Rocky Carson - BYE
8) Dane Elkins d. 9) Luis Rivero, 15-2, 15-1

5) Adam Manilla - BYE
4) Jake Bredenbeck - BYE

3) David Horn - BYE
6) Robert Collins - BYE

7) Nicholas Riffel - BYE
2) Charlie Pratt - BYE

Quarterfinals - Friday

1) Rocky Carson v. 8) Dane Elkins - 11:30 AM
4) Jake Bredenbeck v. 5) Adam Manilla - 11:30 AM

3) David Horn v. 6) Robert Collins - 10:20 AM
2) Charlie Pratt v. 7) Nicholas Riffel - 10:20 AM

Women's Singles

Round of 16 - Thursday


1) Rhonda Rajsich - BYE
9) Sara Jeys d. 8) Briana Jacquet, 15-4, 15-8

5) Erika Manilla - BYE
4) Janel Tisinger - BYE

3) Jacqueline Paraiso - BYE
6) Sheryl Lotts - BYE

7) Kelani Bailey - BYE
2) Sharon Jackson - BYE

Quarterfinals - Friday

1) Rhonda Rajsich v. 9) Sara Jeys - 12:40 PM
4) Janel Tisinger v. 5) Erika Manilla - 12:40 PM

3) Jacqueline Paraiso v. 6) Sheryl Lotts - 9:10 AM
2) Sharon Jackson v. 7) Kelani Bailey - 9:10 AM

Follow the bouncing ball....

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

2018 USA Racquetball National Doubles Championship - Preview

The USA Racquetball National Doubles Championships start Thursday at Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona. Last year’s Men’s Doubles Champions Rocky Carson and Jose Diaz are playing with different partners this year, and last year’s finalists Jose and Marco Rojas aren’t playing at all, so it will be interesting to see what happens on the men's side. Diaz is playing with Jake Bredenbeck, who he has played with in other events, including last year’s US Open, so they are not a new team. But Carson is on a new team with another veteran: Sudsy Monchik. Diaz and Bredenbeck are the top seeds with Carson and Monchik 2nd seeds.

Jansen Allen and Charlie Pratt are probably the only other team that’s a threat to win the men’s title. They are seeded third. David Horn and Mauro Rojas, the current World Junior Boy’s U18 Champion, are the 4th seeds, and could surprise, but it would be a big surprise.

Also notable, Thomas Carter and Robert Collins are playing together, which seems wrong, because they are both left handed. It’s like crossing the streams, and that’s just not supposed to happen. They are the 5th seeds.

Aimee Ruiz and Janel Tisinger are back to defend their Women’s Doubles title. Last year they beat Jackie Paraiso and Da’monique Davis in the final, and only gave up 21 points over the 4 games they played in winning the title. With only six teams in the women’s draw, Ruiz and Tisinger will again need to play two matches to win the title and have a chance to defend the International Racquetball Federation (IRF) World Championship gold medals they won two years ago, when they upset Mexicans Paola Longoria and Samantha Salas in the final.

Davis isn’t in Tempe this year, but veteran Paraiso is, and she’s playing with Erika Manilla. They are the 2nd seeds. Other teams to watch for are 3rd seeds Kelani Bailey and Sharon Jackson and 4th seeds Sheryl Lotts and Rhonda Rajsich.

Singles Play

The top players are also playing singles in Tempe, as part of qualifying for the team that will represent the USA at Worlds in China in August. Carson is the top men’s seed, and won this event last year, when he beat Horn in the final, and Pratt in the semi-finals. Pratt is the 2nd seed this week with Horn 3rd and Bredenbeck 4th.

Rajsich is the top seed on the women’s side, and she won this event last year, beating Jackson in the final. The draw is very similar to last year, as Jackson is seeded 2nd again, and will play either Paraiso or Lotts in the semis (she played Paraiso in the semis last year after Paraiso beat Lotts in the quarterfinals). On the top side, Rajsich will likely play Tisinger in the semis again, although Tisinger needs to beat Manilla in the quarters to make that happen. Also, Jackson could have a tricky first match, as she’ll play her doubles partner Bailey in the quarters.

You can watch some of the action live from Tempe via the USA Racquetball website. The Men’s and Women’s Doubles finals will be Saturday afternoon with the Singles finals on Sunday. Note the match times below are Pacific time.

2018 USA Racquetball National Doubles Championships
Tempe, Arizona
US National Team Divisions

Men's Doubles

Quarterfinals - Thursday


1) Jake Bredenbeck & Jose Diaz v. 8) Shane McDougal & Adam Wyatt - 12:20 PM
4) David Horn & Mauro Rojas v. 5) Thomas Carter & Robert Collins - 2:30 PM

3) Charlie Pratt & Jansen Allen v. 6) Adam Manilla & Nicholas Riffel - 4:40 PM
2) Rocky Carson & Sudsy Monchik v. Tim Herman & Michael Myers - 6:50 PM

Women's Doubles

Quarterfinals - Thursday


1) Aimee Ruiz & Janel Tisinger - BYE
4) Rhonda Rajsich & Sheryl Lotts v. 5) Michelle De La Rosa & Laura Fenton - 1:25 PM

3) Kelani Bailey & Sharon Jackson v. 6) Briana Jacquet & Sara Jeys - 5:45 PM
2) Erika Manilla & Jacqueline Paraiso - BYE

Men’s Singles

Round of 16 - Thursday


1) Rocky Carson - BYE
8) Dane Elkins v. 9) Luis Rivero - 11:15 AM

5) Adam Manilla - BYE
4) Jake Bredenbeck - BYE

3) David Horn - BYE
6) Robert Collins - BYE

7) Nicholas Riffel - BYE
2) Charlie Pratt - BYE

Quarterfinals - Friday

1) Rocky Carson v. 8) Dane Elkins or 9) Luis Rivero - 11:30 AM
4) Jake Bredenbeck v. 5) Adam Manilla - 11:30 AM

3) David Horn v. 6) Robert Collins - 10:20 AM
2) Charlie Pratt v. 7) Nicholas Riffel - 10:20 AM

Women's Singles

Round of 16 - Thursday


1) Rhonda Rajsich - BYE
8) Briana Jacquet v. 9) Sara Jeys - 3:35 PM

5) Erika Manilla - BYE
4) Janel Tisinger - BYE

3) Jacqueline Paraiso - BYE
6) Sheryl Lotts - BYE

7) Kelani Bailey - BYE
2) Sharon Jackson - BYE

Quarterfinals - Friday

1) Rhonda Rajsich v. 8) Briana Jacquet or 9) Sara Jeys - 12:40 PM
4) Janel Tisinger v. 5) Erika Manilla - 12:40 PM

3) Jacqueline Paraiso v. 6) Sheryl Lotts - 9:10 AM
2) Sharon Jackson v. 7) Kelani Bailey - 9:10 AM

Follow the bouncing ball....

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Beltran wins 20th Annual Lou Bradley Memorial Pro-Am

Alvaro Beltran won Men’s Open at the 20th Annual Lou Bradley Memorial Pro-Am in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin on the weekend. The “Lou” as it’s affectionally known is a Tier 2 event on the International Racquetball Tour (IRT). Beltran beat Jansen Allen in the final, 14-15, 15-2, 11-7.

In the semi-finals, Beltran defeated Gerardo Franco, 15-14, 15-6, while Allen squeaked out a tie-breaker over Mario Mercado, 15-10, 10-15, 11-10. Allen trailed 10-3 to Mercado in the breaker, yet managed to come back to win.

Coming Up

The USA Racquetball National Doubles Championship begins this week in Tempe, Arizona, February 7-11. Also, there’s a new Tier 1 event on the IRT calendar: San Antonio March Madness, March 1-4 in San Antonio, Texas.

20th Annual Lou Bradley Memorial Pro-Am
Sun Prairie, Wisconsin - February 2-4, 2018


Men’s Open - Final

Alvaro Beltran d. Jansen Allen, 14-15, 15-2, 11-7

Men’s Open - Semi-finals

Alvaro Beltran d. Gerardo Franco, 15-14, 15-6
Jansen Allen d. Mario Mercado, 15-10, 10-15, 11-10

Follow the bouncing ball….

Monday, February 5, 2018

Murray & Saunders win at Racquetball Canada National Team Selection Event in Kitchener, Ontario

Samuel Murray and Jen Saunders won the Men's and Women's divisions, respectively, at the second Racquetball Canada National Team Selection Event of the season on the weekend in Kitchener, Ontario. Murray is the highest ranked Canadian on the International Racquetball Tour, and Saunders was the top seed on the women’s side, so their wins were not unexpected. However, there were surprises along the way.

The biggest surprise on the men’s side came when Pedro Castro defeated Mike Green, the Canadian #1 ranked player and reigning Canadian Champion, 15-10, 15-12. Sadly for Castro, he wasn’t able to follow up that win, as he fell ill, and wasn’t able to play either his semi-final match with Tim Landeryou or the 3rd place match with Coby Iwaasa.

Murray got to the final with a win over Iwaasa in the other semi, 15-2, 15-5, which was a much closer match than the scores indicated, as Murray and Iwaasa went toe to toe smashing the ball back and forth and making great gets to keep the ball in play.

In the final, Landeryou took the lead in game one, and looked like he was going to win game one, when he led 13-8. But Murray dug in, and came back to take it 15-13. Murray then won game two comfortably, as Landeryou got increasing frustrated, with the final score line of 15-13, 15-3.

The men’s final was a repeat of the first selection event of the season back in November, which Murray also won. He also beat Iwaasa in the semi-finals, so will pass Iwaasa in the Canadian rankings, moving up to #2 behind Green.

On the women’s side, Alexis Iwaasa was the surprise finalist, as she was seeded 6th, and lost her first game of the tournament 15-0. But Iwaasa recovered, winning both her quarterfinal match against Danielle Drury, 0-15, 15-7, 11-8, and semi-final against Christine Richardson, 8-15, 15-10, 11-8. Thus, when Iwaasa dropped the first game against the veteran Saunders, 15-7, it seemed like she had the vet exactly where she wanted.

Iwaasa did pull out the second game, 15-13, to force a tie-breaker. But Saunders was able to eke out the win, taking the match, 15-7, 13-15, 11-7. Iwaasa did have a slight lead in the middle of the breaker, but wasn’t able to carry the day.

These results will be used to select Team Canada for the 2018 Pan American Championships in Temuco, Chile, as well as the 2018 International Racquetball Federation (IRF) World Championships in China in August. The final qualification event for Worlds will be the 2018 Canadian National Championships in Winnipeg, May 20-26 2018.

2018 Racquetball Canada Selection Event
February 2-4, Kitchener, Ontario

Men's Open

Final


3) Samuel Murray d. 4) Tim Landeryou, 15-13, 15-3

3rd Place

2) Coby Iwaasa d. 8) Pedro Castro, forfeit

Semi-finals

4) Tim Landeryou d. 8) Pedro Castro, forfeit
3) Samuel Murray d. 2) Coby Iwaasa, 15-2, 15-5

Quarterfinals

8) Pedro Castro d. 1) Mike Green, 15-10, 15-12
4) Tim Landeryou d. 5) James Landeryou, 15-9, 15–10

3) Samuel Murray d. 6) Nicolas Bousquet, 15-5, 15-6
2) Coby Iwaasa d. 7) Lee Connell, 15-4, 15-8

Women's Open

Final


1) Jen Saunders d. 6) Alexis Iwaasa, 15-7, 13-15, 11-7

3rd place

3) Christine Richardson d. 4) Michèle Morissette, 15-6, 16-14

Semi-finals

1) Jen Saunders d. 4) Michèle Morissette, 15-12, 15-0
6) Alexis Iwaasa d. 3) Christine Richardson, 8-15, 15-10, 11–8

Quarterfinals

1) Jen Saunders d. 9) Juliette Parent, 15-7, 15-5
4) Michèle Morissette d. 5) Valerie Fallu, 15-11, 15-11

6) Alexis Iwaasa d. 3) Danielle Drury, 0-15, 15-7, 11-8
2) Christine Richardson d. 7) Erin Geeraert, 15-9, 15-4

Follow the bouncing ball….