Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Latest LPRT Rankings - October 21, 2014

Rhonda Rajsich won her first Ladies Professional Racquetball Tour (LPRT) tournament in three and a half years, during which Paola Longoria won every LPRT held. But that win wasn't enough to get Rajsich back into the #2 position on the latest LPRT rankings, as Maria Jose Vargas remains #2 behind #1 Longoria.

Rajisch is #3, and for the first time Frédérique Lambert is #5, ahead of Samantha Salas, who's yet to play this season due to injury.

Cristina Amaya holds steady at #6, as does Cheryl Gudinas at #7. Da'monique Davis is up one place to #8, and Sofia Rascon is #9, which is a personal high - and her first time in the top 10.

Veteran left-hander Susana Acosta has dropped out of the top 10, and sits at #11.

The LPRT is off until December when there will be back to back tournaments. First, the Paola Longoria Invitational will be in Monterrey, Mexico December 5-7, and then the long-standing Christmas Classic in Arlington, Virginia December 12-14.

LPRT Rankings - October 21, 2014

Rank - Name - Country - Points

1 Paola Longoria (Mexico) 3050.00
2 Maria Jose Vargas (Bolivia) 1715.00
3 Rhonda Rajsich (USA) 1670.48
4 Frédérique Lambert (Canada) 803.50
5 Samantha Salas (Mexico) 794.00

6 Cristina Amaya (Colombia) 723.50
7 Cheryl Gudinas (USA) 506.50
8 Da'monique Davis (USA) 464.25
9 Sofia Rascon (Mexico) 432.00
10 Aubrey Kirch (USA) 432.00

11 Susana Acosta (Mexico) 428.50
12 Michelle Key (USA) 398.55
13 Sheryl Lotts (USA) 336.50
14 Veronica Sotomayor (Ecuador) 334.00
15 Sharon Jackson (USA) 258.50

16 Carla Muñoz (Chile) 243.50
17 Jessica Parrilla (Mexico) 210.94
18 Adrienne Haynes (USA) 205.25
19 Carolina Luque (Mexico) 203.25
20 Jennifer Saunders (Canada) 188.25

Follow the bouncing ball....

Monday, October 27, 2014

2014 IRF World Juniors - Medal Summary

Mexico was the clear winner overall at the 26th International Racquetball Federation (IRF) World Junior Racquetball Championships in Cali, Colombia last week. Mexicans were in 10 of the 12 World Cup finals (Boy's & Girl's U14, U16 & U18 divisions in singles & doubles), and won 8 of them. The four other gold medals were split evenly with Bolivia, Costa Rica, Guatemala and the USA winning one each.

Mexican boys swept the doubles divisions and won the U16 singles title while Mexican girls won two singles titles (U18 & U16) and two doubles titles (U18 & U14). Thus, Mexico was the clear winner in the boy's, girl's and overall team points totals.

The Mexicans' 14 medals is one fewer than last year (and two fewer gold than in 2013), but three more than in 2012 (six more gold than 2012).

Bolivia came second with eight medals, six fewer than in 2013. The USA - long the dominant country at World Juniors - brought home seven medals, which was up from last year's all time low of three.

Costa Rica was also up this year, and hit an all time high with seven medals, including one gold. They had only three medals last year, but six in 2012.

There were two players who won doubles gold in Cali. Alexandra Herrera (Mexico) won Girl's U18 singles and doubles (with Ximena Gonzalez), and Cristian Longoria won Boy's U16 singles and doubles (with Jordy Alonso).

Also, Mexican Diana Aguilar has now won four consecutive World Junior singles titles, winning U16 for a second time last week, although remarkably she wasn't undefeated in Cali, as American Jordan Cooperrider beat her in the group stage. They didn't have a re-match in the medal round, as Cooperrider lost in the semi-finals to Costa Rican Melania Sauma, who Aguilar beat in the final.

Aguilar was in the Girl's U16 doubles final with Ana Sofia Gasca, but lost to Sauma and Sofia Soley.

26th IRF World Junior Racquetball Championships
Cali, Colombia

Boy's U18 Singles

GOLD - Mario Mercado (Bolivia)
SILVER - Conrado Moscoso (Bolivia)
BRONZE - Coby Iwaasa (Canada) & Andres Acuña (Costa Rica)

Boy's U16 Singles

GOLD - Cristian Longoria (Mexico)
SILVER - Cristhian Mina (Bolivia)
BRONZE - Mauro Rojas (USA) & Christian Chavez (Ecuador)

Boy's U14 Singles

GOLD - Jordan Barth (USA)
SILVER - Andres Montero (Costa Rica)
BRONZE - Eduardo Portillo (Mexico) & Mario Ruiz (Mexico)

Boy's U18 Doubles

GOLD - Erik Garcia & Francisco Mar (Mexico)
SILVER - Sawyer Lloyd & Adam Manilla (USA)
BRONZE - Andres Aviles & Pablo Sauma (Costa Rica) & Conrado Moscoso & Mario Mercado (Bolivia)

Boy's U16 Doubles

GOLD - Jordy Alonso & Cristian Longoria (Mexico)
SILVER - Jordan Barth & Justus Benson (USA)
BRONZE - Christian Chavez & Juan Francisco Cueva (Ecuador) & Alexander Pirie & Jose Ubilla (Costa Rica)

Boy's U14 Doubles

GOLD - Santiago Garcia & Eduardo Portillo (Mexico)
SILVER - Julian Homberger & Andres Montero (Costa Rica)
BRONZE - Simon Comeau & Chris Culhane (Canada) & David Cordoba & Gerson Miranda (Bolivia)

Girl's U18 Singles

GOLD - Alexandra Herrera (Mexico)
SILVER - Lucia Gonzalez (Mexico)
BRONZE - Natalia Mendez (Bolivia) & Lexi York (USA)

Girl's U16 Singles

GOLD - Diana Aguilar (Mexico)
SILVER - Melania Sauma (Costa Rica)
BRONZE - Hawira Rojas (Bolivia) & Jordan Cooperrider (USA)

Girl's U14 Singles

GOLD - Gabriela Martinez (Guatemala)
SILVER - Wanda Carvajal (Bolivia)
BRONZE - Ana Laura Flores (Mexico) & Monserrat Mejia (Mexico)

Girl's U18 Doubles

GOLD - Ximena Gonzalez & Alexandra Herrera (Mexico)
SILVER - Gabriela Martinez & Maria Renee Rodriguez (Guatemala)
BRONZE - Merinanllely Delgado & Maria Cespedes (Dominican Rep.) & Danielle Drury & Michèle Morissette (Canada)

Girl's U16 Doubles

GOLD - Melania Sauma & Sofia Soley (Costa Rica)
SILVER - Diana Aguilar & Ana Sofia Gasca (Mexico)
BRONZE - Jordan Cooperrider & Erika Manilla (USA) & Alexandra Murray & Jewel Sauvé (Canada)

Girl's U14 Doubles

GOLD - Monserrat Mejia & Andrea Ramirez (Mexico)
SILVER - Wanda Carvajal & Adriana Homsi (Bolivia)
BRONZE - Alejandra Jimenez Castillo & Rodaliza Perdomo (Dominican Rep.) & Maria Jose Munoz & Ivana Sempertegui (Ecuador)


Mexico - 8 Gold, 2 Silver, 4 Bronze = 14 Overall
Bolivia - 1 G, 4 S, 4 B = 9
Costa Rica - 1 G, 3 S, 3 B = 7
USA - 1 G, 2 S, 4 B = 7
Guatemala - 1 G, 1 S, 0 B = 2
Canada - 0 G, 0 S, 4 B = 4
Ecuador - 0 G, 0 S, 3 B = 3
Dominican Republic - 0 G, 0 S, 2 B = 2

World Cup Team Points


GOLD - Mexico - 1252
SILVER - Bolivia - 720
BRONZE - USA - 508
4th - Guatemala & Canada - 440


GOLD - Mexico - 1088
SILVER - Bolivia - 884
BRONZE - USA - 808
4th - Costa Rica - 748


GOLD - Mexico - 2340
SILVER - Bolivia - 1604
BRONZE - USA - 1316
4th - Costa Rica - 1092

Follow the bouncing ball....

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Three new champions from three different countries in Boy's singles at World Junior Championships

Four of the six finals in the boy's divisions needed tie-breakers to determine the winners, as boys from three different countries won singles at this year's International Racquetball Federation (IRF) World Junior Racquetball Championships held in Cali, Colombia.

The two finals that were over in two straight games both involved American Jordan Barth. Barth won Boy's U14 singles by defeating Andres Montero of Costa Rica, 15-10, 15-11. But he and Justus Benson lost to Mexicans Cristian Longoria and Jordy Alonso, 15-9, 15-6.

In the singles final, Barth was down against Montero, a left-hander, in game two early at 4-1, 9-5 and 10-7. But he tied the game at 10-10. Barth then got to match point at 14-10, using his height advantage to generate a lot force against Montero, who is more of a control player.

The Costa Rican didn't give in easily, as he fought off two match points, and scored another point before the American got the championship point he needed.

Bolivian Mario Mercado again surprised the crowd, as he defeated countryman and last year's champion Conrado Moscoso to claim the U18 title, winning 15-12, 7-15, 11-7. In winning the title, Mercado beat 4th seed Adam Manilla of the USA, 1st seed Coby Iwaasa of Canada, and then the defending champion. Thus, the title is well deserved after that difficult path.

It was not an easy victory in the final either, as Mercado was down 7-0 in game one. But he came back by scoring 15 points and holding Moscoso to only five more. The game winner was a diving kill shot.

They were close early in game two with Moscoso leading 7-6. But then he ran the score up while holding Mercado to only one more point, as Moscoso won 15-7 to force a tie-breaking third game.

In the breaker, Moscoso quickly went up 5-0 using a lob nick serve to Mercado's backhand. Some observers thought the match was over at that point.

But Mercado called a timeout. Then he got the serve back, and scored a couple of points to make it 5-2 in favour of Moscoso.

They went back and forth for a few rallies before Moscoso scored two points to make it 7-2. On the next rally, Moscoso was hit by the ball on a rally where it looked like he would win.

Yet from then on, Moscoso failed to score any points, as Mercado got nine unanswered points to win the game, match and championship. The winning shot was a soft forehand down the right side with Moscoso getting himself up off the floor on the left side. Moscoso appealed for a hinder on the rally, but it was denied, as one of the line judges agreed with the referee that there was no hinder.

In a bit of irony, the serve that Mercado used to get back in the tie-breaker was the serve that Iwaasa used against him to come back and win the second game of their semi-final match on Friday: a lob z to the right or forehand side.

The Boy's U18 final also needed tie-breaker, as Mexicans Erik Garcia and Francisco Mar turned a match that seemed all but lost to defeat Americans Sawyer Lloyd and Adam Manilla, 1-15, 15-13, 11-8.

The Americans won the first game in the blink of an eye, and were three points from the title at 12-5 and then two points at 13-6. But the Mexicans came back, and tied the game at 13-13.

But the Americans got the serve back at that point. However, they failed to score at Manilla skipped two shots. The first was a bang-bang play in the front court and the second was a forced error.

Serving again, the Mexicans closed out game two with two more skips from Manilla.

The pattern of scoring was reversed in game three, as the Mexicans went up 7-1 only to see the Americans come back and tie it at 7-7 with Manilla hitting a clean down the line winner.

But three pinch shots by Garcia got them the serve back and two points to make it 9-7 in favour of the Mexicans. The US called a timeout, but when play resumed Mar hit a backhand pinch to the front left corner to give them match point.

The Americans got the serve back with Lloyd hitting a forehand pinch shot and Manilla a kill shot off a straight drive serve. They scored a point, but then gave up the serve after a Garcia kill shot and a splat return from Mar.

For much of the second part of the match, Lloyd - the right side American player - was hitting jam serves to the left side that came around to Mar on the right side (Garcia was playing the left side). For his serves, Mar hit a lot of half lob serves tight to the right side glass wall.

With the serve back, Mexico thought they'd won the match but a no hinder call was overturned by the line judges giving the Americans another chance. That chance lasted only one rally, however, as Lloyd ended a rally with a skipped forehand pinch shot that was not off by much.

Cristian Longoria of Mexico - the younger brother of Paola Longoria, the #1 player on the Ladies Professional Racquetball Tour (LPRT) - won both the singles and doubles titles in Boy's U16. He beat Cristhian Mina of Bolivia in the singles final, winning 15-10, 8-15, 11-5, and with Jordy Alonso, beat the Americans Jordan Barth and Justus Benson, as mentioned above.

Finally, the Boy's U14 doubles title went to Eduardo Portillo and Santiago Garcia of Mexico, who beat Costa Ricans Andres Montero and Julian Homberger, 15-12, 8-15, 11-5.

The matches that were streamed live will be archived, and available early next week via the IRF Network.

26th IRF World Junior Racquetball Championships
Cali, Colombia

Boy's U18 Singles Final

Mario Mercado (Bolivia) d. Conrado Moscoso (Bolivia), 15-12, 7-15, 11-7

Boy's U16 Singles Final

Cristian Longoria (Mexico) d. Cristhian Mina (Bolivia), 15-10, 8-15, 11-5

Boy's U14 Singles Final

Jordan Barth (USA) d. Andres Montero (Costa Rica), 15-10, 15-11

Boy's U18 Doubles Final

Erik Garcia & Francisco Mar (Mexico) d. Sawyer Lloyd & Adam Manilla (USA), 1-15, 15-13, 11-8

Boy's U16 Doubles Final

Jordy Alonso & Cristian Longoria (Mexico) d. Jordan Barth & Justus Benson (USA), 15-9, 15-6

Boy's U14 Doubles Final

Santiago Garcia & Eduardo Portillo (Mexico) d. Julian Homberger & Andres Montero (Costa Rica), 15-12, 8-15, 11-5

Follow the bouncing ball....