Wednesday, May 14, 2014

2014 Ektelon LPRT Pro Nationals Preview

The 2013-14 Ladies Professional Racquetball Tour (LPRT) season comes to a close this weekend with the Ektelon Pro Nationals in Herndon, Virginia. Paola Longoria will finish #1 for the 3rd straight season and fifth in the last six seasons, regardless of what happens this weekend.

Nonetheless, Longoria will be trying to win again, and keep her three year winning streak intact. This would be her third undefeated season.

Rhonda Rajsich and Maria Jose Vargas should finish #2 and #3, regardless of the weekend results, but Samantha Salas Solis and Cristina Amaya are only a few points apart in the season to date race, so if Amaya finishes ahead of Salas Solis on the weekend, she could overtake her and finish the season in 4th, which would be a career high season ending ranking for Amaya.

Frédérique Lambert is solidly in 6th, and looks likely she'll have the highest finish for a Canadian on the women's pro tour with the exception of Christie Huczek (neé Van Hees), who was in the top 5 on six occasions including finishing #1 in 2004-05.

Longoria's not the only player will a streak of importance going in to Herdon, as veteran Cheryl Gudinas has finished in the top 10 for 20 consecutive season. But she's 11th in the season to date points, and needs to overtake Da'monique Davis to continue that streak.

Gudinas is seeded 9th in Herndon, which gets her a bye into the Round of 16, but there she'll face 8th seed Aubrey Kirch. Kirch and Gudinas have not played this season, but Kirch has beaten three top 10 players this season: Salas Solis, Susana Acosta and Amaya (thrice). Gudinas's only wins against top 10 players have come against Davis on two occasions. Thus, Kirch looks to be the favourite against Gudinas.

Davis will play unranked Amie Brewer in the Round of 32, and then Acosta in the 16s. If both Gudinas and Davis lose in the 16s, then Davis should finish ahead of Gudinas, thus ending two decades of top 10 finishes for Gudinas.

The LPRT Network will webcast matches live from Herndon on Saturday and Sunday (the quarter-finals and on).

LPRT Ektelon Pro Nationals
Herndon, Virginia - May 16-18, 2014

Round of 32

1 Paola Longoria - BYE
16 T.J. Baumbaugh v. 17 Sheryl Lotts

9 Cheryl Gudinas - BYE
8 Aubrey Kirch - BYE

5 Cristina Amaya - BYE
12 Adrienne Haynes v. 21 Masiel Rivera

13 Sofia Rascon v. 20 Kelly Gremley
4 Samantha Salas - BYE

3 Maria Jose Vargas - BYE
14 Hailey Miller v. 19 Maria Renee Rodriguez

11 Veronica Sotomayor v. 22 Youngock Lee
6 Frédérique Lambert - BYE

7 Susana Acosta - BYE
10 Da'monique Davis v. 23 Amie Brewer

15 Michelle Key v. 18 Carolina Luque
2 Rhonda Rajsich - BYE

Follow the bouncing ball....

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