Thursday, December 10, 2015

LPRT 24th Annual NES Associates Christmas Classic - Preview

The 24th Annual NES Associates Christmas Classic - a Ladies Professional Racquetball Tour (LPRT) event - is taking place this weekend in Arlington, Virginia, and 30 players are in the LPRT, including the top 9 LPRT players and 17 of the top 20.

Paola Longoria, the LPRT’s #1 player, leads the way, as she’s won all four LPRT main events. LPRT #2 Maria Jose Vargas and #3 Rhonda Rajsich have both been runner up to Longoria twice: Rajsich most recently last month in Monterrey, Mexico as well as at the US Open in October.

As has become the LPRT norm, there are several young players in the draw who will be trying to knock off the veterans. Players like Monserrat Mejia who will face veteran Adrienne Haynes right off the hop.

Also in the Round of 32, there will be a showdown between two veterans in Susana Acosta and Jennifer Saunders. The winner of Acosta-Saunders will face the winner of Sofia Rascon and Jordan Cooperrider, which should also be a good match.

A couple of tasty potential Round of 16 matches are Michelle Key versus Veronica Sotomayor and Cristina Amaya versus Alexandra Herrera.

Doubles will also be tasty as the teams have been shaken up some. For example, Longoria and Samanatha Salas, who are the current three time World Champions in Women’s Doubles, are not playing together. Instead, the two right handers have teamed up with two left handers to create two lefty-righty teams that are seeded #1 and #2. Salas is playing with Susana Acosta, a veteran left handed player, and they are top seeds with Longoria and young lefty Alexandra Herrera as the 2nd seeds.

Not certain why they’ve chosen to mix it up, and we make no assumption as to whether this is a long term plan. It could simply be a result of Acosta’s usual partner this season - Jessica Parrilla - being absent from Arlington this weekend.

Despite the World Championships, Longoria and Salas weren’t coming into Arlington on a winning note, as Sheryl Lotts and Rhonda Rajsich won the last LPRT doubles event in Monterrey, Mexico last month. They are playing together again, and are seeded 4th.

Runners up in Monterrey, Michelle Key and Frédérique Lambert are also in the draw, but will be hard pressed to make the semi-finals this weekend, as their quarterfinal opponents are Veronica Sotomayor and Maria Jose Vargas.

You can watch matches live from Arlington via the LPRT Livestream channel. The webcast will begin with the singles Round of 16 Friday at 3 PM. The quarterfinals begin at 11 AM Saturday with the semi-finals at 4 PM Saturday and the final on Sunday at 11 AM. Doubles matches will also be shown beginning at 7 PM Friday with the quarters; the semis are at 6 PM Saturday and final at noon on Sunday. All times eastern.

2015 24th Annual NES Associates Christmas Classic, December 11-13
Arlington, Virginia

Round of 32 - Singles

1) Paola Longoria - BYE
16) Gabriela Martinez v. 17) Masiel Rivera

9) Susana Acosta v. 24) Jennifer Saunders
8) Sofia Rascon v. 25) Jordan Cooperrider

5) Frédérique Lambert v. 28) Samantha Simmons
12) Sheryl Lotts v. 21) Cecilia Pratt

13) Adrienne Haynes v. 20) Monserrat Mejia
4) Samantha Salas v. 29) Arrisa Hanson

3) Rhonda Rajsich v. 30) Jean Halahan
14) Carla Muñoz v. 19) Andrea Martinez Gonzalez

11) Veronica Sotomayor v. 22) Amie Brewer
6) Michelle Key v. 27) Ana Sofia Gasca Rodriguez

7) Cristina Amaya v. 26) Jennifer Dering
10) Alexandra Herrera v. 23) Laura Brandt

15) Maria Renee Rodriguez v. 18) Carolina Luque
2) Maria Jose Vargas - BYE

Round of 16 - Doubles

1) Susana Acosta & Samantha Salas - BYE
8) Gabriela Martinez & Andrea Martinez Gonzalez v. 9) Masiel Rivera & Maria Renee Rodriguez

5) Cristina Amaya & Sofia Rascon - BYE
4) Sheryl Lotts & Rhonda Rajsich - BYE

3) Michelle Key & Frédérique Lambert - BYE
6) Veronica Sotomayor & Maria Jose Vargas - BYE

7) Monserrat Mejia & Carla Muñoz v. 10) Cecilia Pratt & Jennifer Saunders
2) Alexandra Herrera & Paola Longoria - BYE

Follow the bouncing ball….

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