Saturday, November 14, 2015

Gold for Bolivia, Guatemala & Costa Rica in Girl's divisions at 2015 IRF World Juniors

The Girl's finals Saturday at the 27th International Racquetball Federation (IRF) World Junior Racquetball Championships in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic were won by two Bolivians, a Guatemalan and team from Costa Rica. The USA and Mexico did win gold, but in doubles divisions that were round robin format, and both ended on Friday.

Bolivian Natalia Mendez defeated Dominican Maria Cespedes, 15-9, 15-3. Cespedes was making a bid to win the first U18 title for the Dominican Republic in over 20 years, as Claudine Garcia won Girl's U18 in 1994.

The match was telling from the start, as Mendez hit two drive serve aces to the right side. Those were two of 10 aces or service winners Mendez scored in the match.

However, after Mendez went up 5-0, Cespedes called a timeout and staged a comeback, which included two aces of her own, and she actually took the lead at 6-5.

Then it was Mendez's turn to call time out. That led to six unanswered points and a 12-6 lead. From there they traded points, as Mendez won game one 15-9 with the game winner coming on a forehand to the right side.

In game two, Mendez was up early again, hitting three aces as part of a 5-1 lead. This time Cespedes timeout at that point did not lead to a big comeback, as she never got closer than four points from Mendez who went on to win comfortably, 15-3, hitting a forehand pinch shot for the Championship winning point.

The win is Mendez's third in the World Cup divisions at World Juniors. She won gold in Girl's U14 in 2010 and gold in U16 in 2012. He was a semi-finalist last year in U18.

Gabriela Martinez of Guatemala also won her third gold medal at World Juniors, as she defeated American Jordan Cooperrider, 15-6, 15-8, in the final of Girl's U16. Martinez was the gold medalist in Girl's U14 the last two years.

This year's Girl's U14 winner was Bolivian Romina Rivero, who defeated team-mate Angelica Barrios, 15-11, 15-11, in the final.

In Girl's U18 Doubles, Costa Ricans Melania Sauma and Sofia Soley defeated Guatemalans Gabriela Martinez and Andrea Martinez, 14-15, 15-7, 11-4, to claim what we believe is the first U18 doubles gold medal for Costa Rica in either girls or boys divisions.

The Costa Ricans double served to Andrea Martinez, who was playing the right side with a right side glass wall. The strategy got Costa Rica a lead in game one at 12-6, but the Guatemalans came back to win it after Andrea Martinez tied it at 14-14 with a forehand cross court, and then Sauma skipped a backhand pinch shot for Guatemala's 15th point.

Game two was close early with the teams tied at 7-7. But Costa Rica held Guatemala at 7 while scoring 8 unanswered points to level the match at a game each.

In game three, Costa Rica got up 6-0, as Gabriela Martinez skipped a few shots, some of which she took on the right side for her partner. The Costa Ricans used high, straight lobs serves on the right side.

The Guatemalans did cut the lead to two at 6-4, but never got another point after that. The last rally was Sauma hitting a high lob that Andrea Martinez returned cross court, and Soley hit a backhand down the line shot for the championship point.

27th IRF World Junior Racquetball Championships
Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

Girl's U18 Singles - Final

Natalia Mendez (Bolivia) d. Maria Cespedes (Dominican Republic), 15-9, 15-3

Girl's U16 Singles - Final

Gabriela Martinez (Guatemala) d. Jordan Cooperrider (USA), 15-6, 15-8

Girl's U14 Singles - Final

Romina Rivero (Bolivia) d. Angelica Barrios (Bolivia), 15-11, 15-11

Girl's U18 Doubles - Final

Melania Sauma & Sofia Soley (Costa Rica) d. Gabriela Martinez & Andrea Martinez (Guatemala), 14-15, 15-7, 11-4

Girl's U16 Doubles - Round Robin (wins & losses)

Jordan Cooperrider & Erika Manilla (USA) - 4 & 0
Monserrat Mejia & Andrea Ramirez (Mexico) - 3 & 1
Angelica Barrios & Flavia Meneses (Bolivia) - 1 & 2
Maria Jose Munoz & Ivana Sempertegui (Ecuador) - 1 & 2
Alexis Iwaasa & Marjolaine Parent (Canada) - 0 & 4

Girl's U14 Doubles - Round Robin (wins & losses)

Ana Laura Flores & Ana Cristina Rivera (Mexico) - 5 & 0
Alejandra Jimenez Castillo & Rodaliza Perdomo (Dominican Rep.) - 4 & 1
Ana Lucia Sarmiento & Nathalia Pinero (Ecuador) - 3 & 2
Mary Ellen Phelan & Leanne Ryan (Ireland) - 1 & 4
Elena Dent & Graciana Wargo (USA) - 1 & 4
Juliette Parent & Cassie Prentice (Canada) - 1 & 4

Follow the bouncing ball....

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