Sunday, December 11, 2016

Longoria wins twice at 25th NES Associates LPRT Christmas Classic

Paola Longoria, the #1 player on the Ladies Professional Racquetball Tour (LPRT) should have a Merry Christmas, as she won both singles and doubles at the last LPRT event of 2016 Sunday at the 25th Annual NES Associates LPRT Christmas Classic in Laurel, Maryland. In singles, Longoria defeated LPRT #2 Frédérique Lambert, 11-2, 11-3, 10-12, 11-1, while in doubles she and partner Samantha Salas had to come back from a game down to defeat Lambert and Jessica Parrilla, 10-15, 15-9, 11-7. Longoria ends the year undefeated both this season and in the calendar year on the LPRT.

In the singles final, Longoria cruised through the first two games, but Lambert started well in game three, taking a 3-0 lead. However, points came slowly for both players from there. Thirty three rallies later, Lambert’s lead was gone, as Longoria tied her at 6-6. From there Longoria scored four of the next five points to put her on match point at 10-7, and it looked like it would be over in three straight games.

But Lambert caught fire. She fought off the first match point with a great backhand pinch shot, yet didn’t score on her serve, giving Longoria a second match point. However, Longoria skipped a backhand shot, gifting Lambert back the serve.

That time Lambert made good, as she hit five consecutive winners, including a backhand reverse pinch from her shoulder that was her 11th point. Another winning backhand gave her the game, 12-10.

Sadly for Lambert, the fire went out in game four, as Longoria slowly built a 5-0 lead from 21 rallies. Lambert got the serve back then, and called a timeout. However, she didn’t score, and Longoria then extended her lead to 8-0. Lambert got on the board, making it 8-1, but that was all she could muster, as Longoria finished the game, 11-1, and the match in four games.

In doubles, Lambert and Parrilla took the early lead in game one, 5-0, but Longoria and Salas tied them, 5-5. However, a Lambert backhard rekill shot stopped Longoria and Salas there, and then a series of winners from Lambert gave her side back the lead, as they ran it up to 12-5.

Longoria and Salas staged a comeback, and got within three at 12-9, when Lambert and Parrilla called a timeout. When play resumed, Parrilla got them the serve back with a forehand pinch winner.

Parrilla then was called for an avoidable hinder, putting her side half out. However, they did get to game point after Lambert hit two consecutive backhand pinch winners. But a Salas forehand return quashed their first game point.

A series of five half-out or side outs followed that was ended when Longoria hit a drive serve ace against Lambert that made the score 14-10. But Lambert hit a backhand winner on Longoria’s next serve, and after they called a timeout she and Parrilla closed out the game, 15-10, as Lambert hit a forehand rekill winner on what was their fourth game point.

The teams were tied early in game two at 2-2, but then Longoria and Salas scored points on 9 of the next 10 rallies to lead 11-2. Lambert and Parrilla did stage a comeback, but only got to nine, as Longoria and Salas won 15-9.

A similar thing happened in the breaker, as again they were tied 2-2 and again Longoria and Salas took a big lead from there, making it 7-2. But here Lambert and Parrilla responded, and closed the lead to one at 7-6. Salas ended their run with a forehand cross court shot.

With the serve back, Longoria and Salas scored twice, making it 9-6. Lambert and Parrilla called a timeout, and then a Lambert forehand got them the serve back on the ensuing rally.

Lambert and Parrilla made it 9-7 when Lambert hit another forehand winner, but lost the serve when Parrilla skipped a forehand shot. It was a tricky situation, as the ball came big off the back wall, but towards the side wall and past Salas, who might have been screening the ball a bit. Yet Parrilla didn’t ask for a hinder, and may not have got one if she held up.

Serving at 9-7, Longoria hit a backhand winner to give them match point at 10-7. Salas then had a big forehand set up on the next rally, which she skipped, as the ball slid to the front wall. However, her partner Longoria picked her up on the next rally by hitting a good drive serve that Lambert skipped on the return.

The LPRT is now on a two month break, as their first event of 2017 will be the Winter Classic in Overland Park, Kansas, February 17-19. If you missed any of the action from the Christmas Classic, you can view matches via the LPRT LiveStream channel.

25th Annual NES Associates LPRT Christmas Classic, December 9-11, 2016
Laurel, Maryland


1) Paola Longoria d. 2) Frédérique Lambert, 11-2, 11-3, 10-12, 11-1

Doubles - Final

1) Paola Longoria & Samantha Salas d. 2) Frédérique Lambert & Jessica Parrilla, 10-15, 15-9, 11-7

Follow the bouncing ball….

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