Saturday, February 22, 2014

LPRT - Vargas reaches 1st ever final at the 9th Winter Classic

Maria Jose Vargas has reached the final of a Ladies Professional Racquetball Tour (LPRT) event for the first time in her career, as she won her semi-final match against LPRT #2 Rhonda Rajsich, 5-11, 11-0, 12-10, 11-6, at the 9th Annual Winter Classic in Overland Park, Kansas. She'll take on LPRT #1 Paola Longoria in the final on Sunday, as Longoria defeated Samantha Salas Solis, 11-2, 8-11, 11-9, 11-6, in the other semi.

Vargas showed plenty of moxy in her win, as she fought off game point in game two, when Rajsich was serving at 10-8. Then on her first game point, Vargas dove to keep to ball in play three consecutive times and didn't need to do it a fourth time as Rajsich skipped her shot to give the game to Vargas.

Before this season, Vargas had reached the semi-finals once. Saturday was her sixth semi of the season, and now she's gone one better and reached her first final.

Longoria looked frustrated at time during her match with Salas Solis, and she made several unforced errors that seemed uncharacteristic for the LPRT's top player.

After splitting the first two games, Longoria led all the way in game three until Salas Solis tied it at 9-9. However, she couldn't finish it off as Longoria won the next two points with the game winner coming off a three shot rally that ended with a Longoria forehand kill shot after Salas Solis's cross court serve return didn't get fully across the court.

In game four, Salas Solis had the early lead at 4-1, but Longoria scored six straight points to go up 7-4. Longoria kept the advantage as she went on to win the game 11-6 and take the match in four games.

Both players primarily drove serve in the match. Salas Solis usually drove it to the right side - Longoria's forehand. But the match winning rally began with a half lob to the left side - Salas Solis's backhand. The rally was several shots and the last was a backhand by Salas Solis that skipped.

Vargas is the first new finalist in a LPRT event since Adrienne Haynes (Fisher) reached the final of the Puget Sound Challenge in November 2012.

The final can be viewed via the LPRT Network at noon CST on Sunday.

LPRT 9th Annual Winter Classic
February 21-23, 2014 - Overland Park, Kansas


1 Paola Longoria d. 4 Samantha Salas, 11-2, 8-11, 11-9, 11-6
3 Maria Jose Vargas d. 2 Rhonda Rajsich, 5-11, 11-0, 12-10, 11-6

Final (seedings)

1 Paola Longoria v. 3 Maria Jose Vargas

Follow the bouncing ball....

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