Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Ireland sweeps 19th European Championships

The 19th European Championships went down last week in The Hague, Netherlands. Ireland proved to be the team to beat, as the Irish swept the team titles as well as the individual divisions. Johnny O’Keeney of Ireland won gold in Men’s Singles by defeating German Arne Schmitz, 15-8, 15-4, in the final.

O’Keeney had a chance for double gold, as he and Joe Devenney were in the Men’s Doubles final, but they were beaten by countrymen Darragh O’Donoghue and Padraic Ryder, 3-15, 15-13, 11-7.

In women’s play, Donna Ryder won gold in both Women’s Singles and Women’s Doubles with partner Katie Kenny. In the singles final, Ryder defeated Kenny, 15-6, 15-10.

19th European Championships - September 13-16, 2017
The Hague, Netherlands


Men’s Singles - Final

Johnny O’Keeney (Ireland) d. Arne Schmitz (Germany), 15-8, 15-4

Semi-Finals

Johnny O’Keeney (Ireland) d. Marcel Czempisz (Germany), 15-12, 15-14
Arne Schmitz (Germany) d. Padraic Ryder (Ireland), 15-11, 9-15, 11-10

Women’s Singles - Final

Donna Ryder (Ireland) d. Katie Kenny (Ireland), 15-6, 15-10

Semi-finals

Donna Ryder (Ireland) d. Ailbhe Gill (Ireland), 15-12, 15-6
Katie Kenny (Ireland) d. Olivia Downey (Ireland), 15-1, 15-8

Men’s Doubles - Final

Darragh O’Donoghue & Padraic Ryder (Ireland) d. Johnny O’Keeney & Joe Devenney (Ireland), 3-15, 15-13, 11-7

Semi-Finals

Johnny O’Keeney & Joe Devenney (Ireland) d. Marcel Czempisz & Arne Schmitz (Germany), 15-9, 14-15, 11-4
Darragh O’Donoghue & Padraic Ryder (Ireland) d. Pascal Matla & Edwin Schipper (Netherlands), 15-12, 15-10

Women’s Doubles - Round Robin

1. Donna Ryder & Katie Kenny (Ireland)
2. Ailbhe Gill & Olivia Downey (Ireland)
3. Lara Ludwig & Daphne Wannee (Germany/Netherlands)

Follow the bouncing ball….

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Horn wins singles, Rios & Ugalde doubles at 2017 WRT Grace Warrior Ministries Atlanta Open

Andree Parrilla was set up to have a great day Saturday at the World Racquetball Tour (WRT) 2017 Grace Warrior Ministries Atlanta Open in Lilburn, Georgia, as he was in the finals of both singles and doubles. But it didn’t work out so well for him, as Parrilla lost both. David Horn beat Parrilla, 15-10, 15-13, in the singles final, and then Fernando Rios and Jose Daniel Ugalde defeated Parrilla and Sebastian Franco, 15-7, 15-2.

Horn’s victory was his 3rd WRT title, and second of the year, as he also won the WRT Midwest Championships in March. Horn’s first win was back in 2015 at the San Luis Open.

In the singles final, Parrilla and Horn were tied at 10-10 in game one. But Horn was able to win the last five points to take the game, 15-10. Horn drove serve at 14-10, but it was short, so he hit a nick lob serve to the left side as the second serve. Parrilla tried to hit a backhand reverse pinch to the front right corner, which was an ambitious choice, and he skipped it.

Horn carried the momentum over into game two, as he took a 6-1 lead. But Parrilla called a time out at that point, and then turned the tables, as he scored the next eight points to lead 9-6. Parrilla continued to lead at 11-7, and 13-10, and it looked like he was going to force a tie-breaker.

But Horn had other ideas. Just like in game one, Horn scored five points in a row to close out the game, 15-13, and the match in two games. The winning point came as Horn drove a Z serve to the left side, and Parrilla hit a backhand down the line, which skipped.

Horn and Parrilla are similar players, as they are more shooting players rather than power players. Also, they are very good at keeping the ball in play. Saturday, Horn was more on his game than Parrilla, who also wasn’t sharp in his semi-final with Gerardo Franco earlier in the day.

The doubles final was not close, as Rios and Ugalde took big leads in both games, and won them comfortably over Parrilla and Franco. Rios and Ugalde have played doubles together for years representing Ecuador several times, and that undoubtedly helped them in the final.

They took a 8-1 lead over Parrilla and Franco in game one, and never trailed from there. Parrilla and Franco did make it close at 8-6, but they never got closer, as Rios and Ugalde won game one 15-7. Game two had a similar pattern, except Rios and Ugalde took a bigger lead at 12-1, and then won 15-2.

There will be two WRT events in October. They’ll be in Mexicali, Mexico for the WRT Casino Open, October 11-15, and then in Salt Lake City for the WRT Rocky Mountain Open, October 25-28.

2017 WRT Grace Warrior Ministries Atlanta Open - Lilburn, Georgia
September 14-16, 2017

Final - Saturday

2) David Horn d. 1) Andree Parrilla, 15-10, 15-13

Semi-finals - Saturday

1) Andree Parrilla d. 4) Gerardo Franco, 15-10, 15-8
2) David Horn d. 3) Jake Bredenbeck, 15-11, 15-14

Doubles - Final - Saturday

4) Fernando Rios & Jose Daniel Ugalde d. 3) Sebastian Franco & Andree Parrilla, 15-7, 15-2

Follow the bouncing ball….

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Round of 16 & Quarterfinals at 2017 WRT Grace Warrior Ministries Atlanta Open

Few upsets on the first day of play at the World Racquetball Tour (WRT) 2017 Grace Warrior Ministries Atlanta Open in Lilburn, Georgia. In the Round of 16, only Sebastian Franco had the upset, as he defeated 7th seed Mauricio Zelada, 15-1, 15-13.

Franco almost caused a second upset in the quarterfinals, as he came back from a game down to force a tie-breaker with 2nd seed David Horn. And after Horn got up 10-5 in the breaker, Franco came back to 10-9, but Horn was able to stop the Franco there, and finish off the game and match, winning 15-7, 8-15, 11-9.

Andree Parrilla, the top seed this weekend, is on track to win a third consecutive WRT title in Atlanta after defeating Jose Daniel Ugalde in the quarterfinals, 15-13, 15-7. He’ll play Gerardo Franco in the semi-finals, as Franco beat Francisco Troncoso, 15-4, 15-2.

Jake Bredenbeck will play Horn in the other semi, as he won a close match with Jose Diaz, 15-12, 15-12, in the quarters.

The big upsets came in doubles, as Ugalde and Fernando Rios took out Bredenbeck and Diaz, who were the top seeds, 15-10, 15-6. Gerardo Franco and Troncoso were the second seeds, but they also lost their first match, falling to Jim Minkel and Bryan Titus, 15-14, 15-9, in the quarterfinals. Minkel and Titus, the seventh seeds, fell in turn to third seeds Parrilla and Sebastian Franco, 15-8, 15-9, in the semi-finals. Thus the final will be the third seeds Parrilla and S. Franco versus fourth seeds Rios and Ugalde.

You can watch Saturday’s action live from Lilburn via the WRT website beginning with the singles semi-finals at 11 AM and noon Saturday with the finals at 5 PM for singles and 6 PM for doubles.

2017 WRT Grace Warrior Ministries Atlanta Open - Lilburn, Georgia
September 14-16, 2017

Round of 16

1) Andree Parrilla - BYE
8) Jose Daniel Ugalde d. 9) Hiroshi Shimizu, 15-10, 15-7

5) Francisco Troncoso d. 12) Austin Cunningham, 8-15, 15-4, 11-3
4) Gerardo Franco d. 13) Jim Minkel, 15-11, 15-6

3) Jake Bredenbeck d. 14) Fernando Rios, 15-7, 15-10
6) Jose Diaz d. 11) Jeremy Best, 15-5, 15-5

10) Sebastian Franco d. 7) Mauricio Zelada, 15-1, 15-13
2) David Horn d. 15) Roger Subieta, 15-0, 15-0

Quarterfinals

1) Andree Parrilla v. 8) Jose Daniel Ugalde, 15-13, 15-7
4) Gerardo Franco v. 5) Francisco Troncoso, 15-4, 15-2

3) Jake Bredenbeck d. 6) Jose Diaz, 15-12, 15-12
2) David Horn d. 10) Sebastian Franco, 15-7, 8-15, 11-9

Semi-finals - Saturday

1) Andree Parrilla v. 4) Gerardo Franco - Noon
2) David Horn v. 3) Jake Bredenbeck - 11 AM

Doubles - Quarterfinals

1) Jake Bredenbeck & Jose Diaz - BYE
4) Fernando Rios & Jose Daniel Ugalde d. 5) Roger Subieta & Mauricio Zelada, 15-1, 15-3

3) Sebastian Franco & Andree Parrilla d. 6) Jeremy Best & David Sable, 15-6, 15-13
7) Jim Minkel & Bryan Titus d. 2) Gerardo Franco & Francisco Troncoso, 15-14, 15-9

Doubles - Semi-finals

4) Fernando Rios & Jose Daniel Ugalde d. 1) Jake Bredenbeck & Jose Diaz, 15-10, 15-6
3) Sebastian Franco & Andree Parrilla d. 7) Jim Minkel & Bryan Titus, 15-8, 15-9

Doubles - Final - Saturday

3) Sebastian Franco & Andree Parrilla v. 4) Fernando Rios & Jose Daniel Ugalde - 6 PM

Follow the bouncing ball….

Thursday, September 14, 2017

PREVIEW - 2017 WRT Grace Warrior Ministries Atlanta Open

Andree Parrilla will try to win his 3rd consecutive World Racquetball Tour (WRT) event in Georgia this weekend at the 2017 Grace Warrior Ministries Atlanta Open in Lilburn, Georgia. Parrilla is the #3 WRT player, but he’s the top seed this weekend, as #1 Rodrigo Montoya and #2 Alejandro Cardona won’t be in Atlanta.

But David Horn and Jake Bredenbeck will be there, and are the #2 and #3 seeds, respectively, with Gerardo Franco rounding out the top 4. Also notable in the draw are Jose Diaz, as the 6th seed and doubles partner with Bredenbeck, and Ecuadorians Fernando Rios and Jose Daniel Ugalde, as well as Japanese veteran Hiroshi Shimizu, and Colombian Sebastian Franco.

You can watch the action live from Lilburn via the WRT website beginning at 4 PM Friday with the quarterfinals. The semi-finals will be 11 AM and noon Saturday with the finals at 5 PM for singles and 6 PM for doubles.

2017 WRT Grace Warrior Ministries Atlanta Open - Lilburn, Georgia
September 14-16, 2017

Round of 16

1) Andree Parrilla - BYE
8) Jose Daniel Ugalde v. 9) Hiroshi Shimizu

5) Francisco Troncoso v. 12) Austin Cunningham
4) Gerardo Franco v. 13) Jim Minkel

3) Jake Bredenbeck v. 14) Fernando Rios
6) Jose Diaz v. 11) Jeremy Best

7) Mauricio Zelada v. 10) Sebastian Franco
2) David Horn v. 15) Roger Subieta

Doubles - Quarterfinals

1) Jake Bredenbeck & Jose Diaz - BYE
4) Fernando Rios & Jose Daniel Ugalde v. 5) Roger Subieta & Mauricio Zelada

3) Sebastian Franco & Andree Parrilla v. 6) Jeremy Best & David Sable
2) Gerardo Franco & Francisco Troncoso v. 7) Jim Minkel & Bryan Titus

Follow the bouncing ball….

Monday, September 11, 2017

Manilla wins 1st IRT Futures Division

A new feature of the International Racquetball Tour (IRT) this season is the Futures Division. This is a second opportunity for up and coming players to win prize money, and possibly ranking points. The method for awarding the latter has not been finalized, so that’s not happening yet. Nonetheless, this is a nice addition to the IRT.

Andree Parrilla won the first IRT Futures division Sunday at the Phase IV Scientific Health and Performance Pro-Am in Canoga Park, California, where he defeated David Horn in the final, 11-6, 11-6, 11-9. In the semi-finals, Parrilla beat Adam Manilla, 11-3, 11-7, 11-7, while Horn had a forfeit win over Mario Mercado.

Manilla was the surprise of the division, as the young American left-hander defeated two IRT regulars en route to the semi-finals. In the Round of 16, Manilla beat another lefty in Robert Collins, 8-11, 11-7, 11-2, 11-0, then in the quarterfinals, he came back from 2-1 down to upset Samuel Murray, 13-11, 4–11, 4-11, 11-6, 11-7.

The next IRT event is the US Open, October 4-8 in Minneapolis, where they will also play singles and doubles. Then there will be three IRT events in November: the Creatix - Atlanta IRT Pro-Am, November 2-5 in Atlanta, the Party with the Pros in St. Louis, November 16-19, and finally the Portland Tournament of Champions in Portland, Oregon November 30-December 3.

2017 IRT Phase IV Scientific Health & Performance Pro-Am, September 7-10, 2017
Canoga Park, California


Final

2) Andree Parrilla d. 4) David Horn, 11-6, 11-6, 11-9

Semi-finals

4) David Horn d. 1) Mario Mercado, forfeit
2) Andree Parrilla d. 22) Adam Manilla, 11-3, 11-7, 11-7

Quarterfinals

1) Mario Mercado d. 9) Thomas Carter, 7-11, 11-7, 11-4, 11-9
4) David Horn d. 5) Felipe Camacho, 9-11, 11-1, 11-3, 11-8

22) Adam Manilla d. 3) Samuel Murray, 13-11, 4–11, 4-11, 11-6, 11-7
2) Andree Parrilla d. 26) Ramon De Leon, 11-6, 11-5, 12-10

Round of 16

1) Mario Mercado d. 16) Wayne Antone IV, 11-3, 11-0, 11-0
9) Thomas Carter d. 8) Andés Gómez, 11-7, 13-11, 11-2

5) Felipe Camacho d. 21) Miguel Rodriguez Jr., 11-2, 11-6, 11-1
4) David Horn d. 13) Luis Avila, 11-3, 12-10, 11-4

3) Samuel Murray d. 14) Sebastian Fernandez, 11-8, 11-6, 11-8
22) Adam Manilla d. 6) Robert Collins, 8-11, 11-7, 11-2, 11-0

26) Ramon De Leon d. 10) Francisco Troncoso, 11-4, 5-11, 11-3, 3-11, 11-9
2) Andree Parrilla d. 15) Dane Elkins, 11-5, 11-4, 10-12, 11-6

Follow the bouncing ball….

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Waselenchuk wins singles & doubles at 2017 IRT Phase IV Scientific Health & Performance Pro-Am

Kane Waselenchuk began the 2017-18 International Racquetball Tour (IRT) season the same way he ended the 2016-17 season: winning. The twist was that he won both singles and doubles Sunday, as Waselenchuk won those respective finals at the Phase IV Scientific Health and Performance Pro-Am in Canoga Park, California. Waselencuk, the #1 IRT player, beat a familiar foe in Rocky Carson in the singles final, 11-0, 11-2, 11-4. In the doubles final, Waslenchuk teamed with Ben Croft to defeat Alvaro Beltran and Daniel De La Rosa, 15-5, 15-13.

The next IRT event is the US Open, October 4-8 in Minneapolis, where they will also play singles and doubles. Then there will be three IRT events in November: the Creatix - Atlanta IRT Pro-Am, November 2-5 in Atlanta, the Party with the Pros in St. Louis, November 16-19, and finally the Portland Tournament of Champions in Portland, Oregon November 30-December 3.

2017 IRT Phase IV Scientific Health & Performance Pro-Am, September 7-10, 2017
Canoga Park, California


Final

1) Kane Waselenchuk d. 2) Rocky Carson, 11-0, 11-2, 11-4

IRT Doubles - Final

1) Ben Croft & Kane Waselenchuk d. 3) Alvaro Beltran & Daniel De La Rosa, 15-5, 15-13

Follow the bouncing ball….

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Waselenchuk & Carson win semi-finals of 2017 IRT Phase IV Scientific Health & Performance Pro-Am

The new International Racquetball Tour (IRT) season is just like the old IRT season, as the #1 and #2 players will meet in the first final of the 2017-18 season in Canoga Park, California, where IRT #1 Kane Waselenchuk and #2 Rocky Carson will face off on Sunday in the final of the Phase IV Scientific Health & Performance Pro-Am. In the semi-finals, Waselenchuk defeated surprise semi-finalist Rodrigo Montoya, 11-1, 11-0, 11-3, and Carson beat IRT #3 Daniel De La Rosa, 8-11, 11-3, 11-6, 11-8.

There was some chatter ahead of the Waselenchuk-Montoya semi, as Montoya is the #1 player on the World Racquetball tour (WRT). He performed admirably, but not at the level of Waselenchuk, who may have been trying to make a point in limiting Montoya’s points. Interestingly, for periods of the match Waselenchuk chose to lob serve to Montoya’s backhand, and Waselenchuk rarely lob serves, even on second serve. Waselenchuk used both straight lobs and nick or kiss lobs against Montoya with success.

But for the most part, Waselenchuk hit bullet drive serves to both the left and right sides, so both Montoya’s backhand and forehand, respectively.

They both hit some great shots during the rallies, and the best rally may have happened in game one, as they were at 4-0 in Waselenchuk’s favor. Then they exchanged several shots, including pure reaction shots, before Waselenchuk hit a winner to make it 5-0.

The match winner was characteristic of Waselenchuk’s play, as Montoya ripped a backhand cross court to the right side. Waselenchuk, a left-hander, quickly went to his knees to retrieve it, and flat rolled the ball with a backhand shot of his own.

In the other semi, De La Rosa led game one from start to finish, but the opposite was true in game two, as Carson went wire to wire. In game three they were tied at 5-5, but Carson outscored De La Rosa 6-1 in the second half of that game to take the 2-1 advantage in the match.

Although De La Rosa didn’t look as good in game three as he had in game one, he did take the early lead in game four at 4-1. Carson closed the gap to one at 6-5 and then he went down, and seemed to injure himself. Indeed, Carson took an injury timeout, which is 7.5 minutes, but he wasn’t off the court for nearly that long.

As play resumed, Carson didn’t seem much affected by whatever knock he picked up. But De La Rosa did extend his lead to 8-5.

Yet that was as many points as De La Rosa would get as Carson scored the next six points to win the game, 11-8, and take the match in four games. Carson’s match winner was a forehand cross court with De La Rosa in center court.

In doubles, top seeds Ben Croft and Waselenchuk will play De La Rosa and Alvaro Beltran in the final on Sunday, as Croft and Waselenchuk defeated Sebastian Franco and Mario Mercado, 15-6, 15-10, in one semi-final Saturday with De La Rosa and Beltran & Daniel De La Rosa beating Felipe Camacho and Samuel Murray, 15-10, 15-8, in the other.

The singles final is Sunday at 11 AM and you can watch it via the IRT Network. The doubles final will follow the singles final.

2017 IRT Phase IV Scientific Health & Performance Pro-Am, September 7-10, 2017
Canoga Park, California


Semi-finals - Saturday

1) Kane Waselenchuk d. Rodrigo Montoya, 11-1, 11-0, 11-3
2) Rocky Carson d. 3) Daniel De La Rosa, 8-11, 11-3, 11-6, 11-8

Final - Sunday

1) Kane Waselenchuk v. 2) Rocky Carson - 11 AM

IRT Doubles - Semi-finals - Saturday

1) Ben Croft & Kane Waselenchuk d. 5) Sebastian Franco & Mario Mercado, 15-6, 15-10
3) Alvaro Beltran & Daniel De La Rosa d. 7) Felipe Camacho & Samuel Murray, 15-10, 15-8

IRT Doubles - Final - Sunday

1) Ben Croft & Kane Waselenchuk v. 3) Alvaro Beltran & Daniel De La Rosa - Noon

Follow the bouncing ball….

Quarterfinals at 2017 IRT Phasse IV Scientific Health & Performance Pro-Am

Kane Waselenchuk, the #1 player on the International Racquetball Tour (IRT), is into the semi-finals of the Phase IV Scientific Health & Performance Pro-Am in Canoga Park, California, which is the first tournament of the 2017-18 IRT season. Waselenchuk advanced to the semis by defeating Andree Parrilla, 11-6, 11-5, 11-7. But his opponent is a surprise, as Rodrigo Montoya has reached his first career IRT semi-final by beating IRT #4 Alvaro Beltran, 11-8, 12-10, 11-5.

The other side of the draw has followed form, as that semi-final will be IRT #2 Rocky Carson versus IRT #3 Daniel De La Rosa. In the quarters, Carson beat David Horn, 11-4, 11-9, 11-9, while De La Rosa defeated Gerardo Franco, 11-4, 7-11, 11-8, 11-3.

The semi-finals will be Saturday at 4 and 5 PM and you can watch the action via the IRT Network. The final Sunday at 11 AM. All times Pacific.

2017 IRT Phase IV Scientific Health & Performance Pro-Am, September 7-10, 2017
Canoga Park, California


Quarterfinals - Saturday

1) Kane Waselenchuk d. 8) Andree Parrilla, 11-6, 11-5, 11-7
Rodrigo Montoya d. 4) Alvaro Beltran, 11-8, 12-10, 11-5

3) Daniel De La Rosa d. Gerardo Franco, 11-4, 7-11, 11-8, 11-3
2) Rocky Carson d. David Horn, 11-4, 11-9, 11-9

Semi-finals - Saturday

1) Kane Waselenchuk v. Rodrigo Montoya - 5 PM
2) Rocky Carson v. 3) Daniel De La Rosa - 4 PM

IRT Doubles - Semi-finals - Saturday

1) Ben Croft & Kane Waselenchuk v. 5) Sebastian Franco & Mario Mercado - 7 PM
3) Alvaro Beltran & Daniel De La Rosa v. 7) Felipe Camacho & Samuel Murray - 6 PM

Follow the bouncing ball….

Friday, September 8, 2017

Round of 16 at 2017 IRT Phase IV Scientific Health & Performance Pro-Am

Kane Waselenchuk, the #1 player on the International Racquetball Tour (IRT), won his first match at the Phase IV Scientific Health & Performance Pro-Am in Canoga Park, California, when he beat Jose Diaz, 11-3, 11-4, 11-7, in the Round of 16. Waselenchuk will play either Andree Parrilla or Sebastian Fernandez in the quarterfinals on Saturday.

IRT #2 Rocky Carson had a more difficult time Friday, as he needed four games to fend off Jake Bredenbeck, 11-7, 9-11, 11-7, 11-9. Carson’s opponent in the quarters will be David Horn, who upset 7th seed Mario Mercado in five games, 13-11, 9-11, 11-5, 6-11, 11-2.

Bredenbeck was right with Carson in the match. After splitting games one and two, thy were tied 6-6 in game three. But from there Carson went on a 14-2 scoring streak, which effectively ended the match, as he won game three and then took a 9-1 lead in game four.

Bredenbeck made an impressive comeback in game four, including fighting off two match points, as he got to within one of Carson at 10-9. Bredenbeck’s comeback was fueled primarily by drive serving to the right side. A drive serve ace to the right made the score 10-9, but on the next serve Bredenbeck inexplicably went to the left side, and Carson hit a winning backhand return cross court. On the next rally, Carson won the match when Bredenbeck skipped a backhand shot.

The other upset winner in the 16s was Gerardo Franco who beat 6th seed Sebastian Franco (no relation), 11-8, 11-8, 11-7. Gerardo Franco will play 3rd seed Daniel De La Rosa in the quarters, as De La Rosa got the best of Thomas Carter, 9-11, 11-5, 11-1, 11-7.

The quarter finals will be Saturday morning from 9 AM to noon and you can watch the action via the IRT Network, or the IRT Facebook page. The semi-finals will be 4 PM and 5 PM Saturday with the final Sunday at 11 AM. All times Pacific.

2017 IRT Phase IV Scientific Health & Performance Pro-Am, September 7-10, 2017
Canoga Park, California


Round of 16 - Friday

1) Kane Waselenchuk d. Jose Diaz, 11-3, 11-4, 11-7
8) Andree Parrilla d. Sebastian Fernandez, 9-11, 11-3, 12-10, 11-8

Rodrigo Montoya d. 5) Jansen Allen, 3-11, 11-3, 11-5, 11-6
4) Alvaro Beltran d. Nicholas Riffel, 11-5, 11-2, 11-6

3) Daniel De La Rosa d. Thomas Carter, 9-11, 11-5, 11-1, 11-7
Gerardo Franco d. 6) Sebastian Franco, 11-8, 11-8, 11-7

David Horn d. 7) Mario Mercado, 13-11, 9-11, 11-5, 6-11, 11-2
2) Rocky Carson d. Jake Bredenbeck, 11-7, 9-11, 11-7, 11-9

Quarterfinals - Saturday

1) Kane Waselenchuk v. 8) Andree Parrilla - 11 AM
4) Alvaro Beltran v. Rodrigo Montoya - Noon

3) Daniel De La Rosa v. Gerardo Franco - 9 AM
2) Rocky Carson v. David Horn - 10 AM

IRT Doubles - Quarterfinals - Friday

1) Ben Croft & Kane Waselenchuk d. 8) Jake Bredenbeck & David Horn, 15-3, 15-12
5) Sebastian Franco & Mario Mercado d. 13) Tim Herman & Michael Myers, 15-3, 12-15, 11-3

3) Alvaro Beltran & Daniel De La Rosa d. 6) Rodrigo Montoya & Andree Parrilla, 13-15, 15-10, 11-9
7) Felipe Camacho & Samuel Murray d. 2) Rocky Carson & Tito Montanez, 15-1, 15-9

IRT Doubles - Semi-finals - Saturday

1) Ben Croft & Kane Waselenchuk v. 5) Sebastian Franco & Mario Mercado - 7 PM
3) Alvaro Beltran & Daniel De La Rosa v. 7) Felipe Camacho & Samuel Murray - 6 PM

Follow the bouncing ball….

Round of 32 at 2017 IRT Phase IV Scientific Health & Performance Pro-Am

More matches brought more upsets at the International Racquetball Tour (IRT) Phase IV Scientific Health & Performance Pro-Am in Canoga Park, California, where the IRT is beginning its 2017-18 season. In the Round of 32, the 9th and 11th seeds fell both losing in five games. Sebastian Fernandez defeated 9th seed Samuel Murray, 5-11, 12-10, 10-12, 11-3, 11-8, and Gerardo Franco beat 11th seed Felipe Camacho, 9-11, 11-1, 1-11, 11-3, 11-4, to set up an all Franco match in the Round of 16, as Gerardo will play Sebastian Franco; they aren’t related, as Gerardo is from Mexico and Sebastian is Colombian.

Also of note, Nicholas Riffel, seeded 45th, reached the Round of 16 for the first time, as he was a straight game winner over Ramon De Leon, 11-4, 11-6, 11-1. Riffel’s the highest seed to get to the 16s.

The Round of 16 is Friday afternoon from 3 PM to 6 PM and you can watch the action via the IRT Network, or the IRT Facebook page. The quarter finals will be Saturday morning from 9 AM to noon, and the semi-finals at 4 PM and 5 PM Saturday. The final will be Sunday at 11 AM. All times Pacific.

2017 IRT Phase IV Scientific Health & Performance Pro-Am, September 7-10, 2017
Canoga Park, California


Qualifying Round 2 - Friday

Q8) Jose Diaz d. Adam Manilla, 11-6, 7-11, 11-8, 5-11, 11-6
Q1) Sebastian Fernandez d. Samuel Murray, 5-11, 12-10, 10-12, 11-3, 11-8

Q4) Rodrigo Montoya d. Luis Perez, 11-7, 12-10, 11-0
Q5) Nicholas Riffel d. Ramon De Leon, 11-4, 11-6, 11-1

Q6) Thomas Carter d. Justin Johnson, 11-5, 11-0, 11-3
Q3) Gerardo Franco d. Felipe Camacho, 9-11, 11-1, 1-11, 11-3, 11-4

Q2) David Horn d. Luis Avila, 11-9, 12-10, 11-1
Q7) Jake Bredenbeck d. Miguel Rodriguez Jr., 11-5, 11-4, 11-1

Round of 16 - Friday

1) Kane Waselenchuk v. Jose Diaz - 5 PM
8) Andree Parrilla v. Sebastian Fernandez - 5 PM

5) Jansen Allen v. Rodrigo Montoya - 6 PM
4) Alvaro Beltran v. Nicholas Riffel - 6 PM

3) Daniel De La Rosa v. Thomas Carter - 3 PM
6) Sebastian Franco v. Gerardo Franco - 3 PM

7) Mario Mercado v. David Horn - 4 PM
2) Rocky Carson v. Jake Bredenbeck - 4 PM

IRT Doubles - Round of 16 - Friday

1) Ben Croft & Kane Waselenchuk - BYE
8) Jake Bredenbeck & David Horn d. 9) Set Cubillos & Andrés Gómez, 15-7, 15-8

5) Sebastian Franco & Mario Mercado d. 12) Adam Manilla & Nicolas Riffel, 15-9, 15-9
13) Tim Herman & Michael Myers d. 4) Jansen Allen & Charlie Pratt, forfeit

3) Alvaro Beltran & Daniel De La Rosa d. 14) Ramon De Leon & Luis Perez, 15-0, 15-1
6) Rodrigo Montoya & Andree Parrilla d. Bryan Crosser & Dane Elkins, 15-4, 15-12

7) Felipe Camacho & Samuel Murray d. Sebastian Fernandez & Miguel Rodriguez Jr., 15-9, 15-11
2) Rocky Carson & Tito Montanez - BYE

IRT Doubles - Quarterfinals - Friday

1) Ben Croft & Kane Waselenchuk v. 8) Jake Bredenbeck & David Horn - 8 PM
5) Sebastian Franco & Mario Mercado v. 13) Tim Herman & Michael Myers - 8 PM

3) Alvaro Beltran & Daniel De La Rosa v. 6) Rodrigo Montoya & Andree Parrilla - 7 PM
2) Rocky Carson & Tito Montanez v. 7) Felipe Camacho & Samuel Murray - 7 PM

Follow the bouncing ball….

2017 IRT Phase IV Scientific Health & Performance Pro-Am begins

There were upsets in the first round of play at the International Racquetball Tour (IRT) Phase IV Scientific Health & Performance Pro-Am in Canoga Park, California, as the three highest seeded players all lost. Luis Perez took out 12th seed Robert Collins, 11-6, 11-7, 8-11, 11-6, and Justin Johnson beat 14th seed Scott McClellan, 11-8, 11-5, 8-11, 11-5. 13th seed Charlie Pratt lost by no show default to Ramon De Leon.

Pratt, a former top 10 player and Head Coach for the USA Junior Team for this year’s World Junior Championships, now lives in Gainesville, Florida, so his absence may be weather related. The Racquetball Blog hopes that’s not the case, and we wish the best all the racquetball players in the southeast US during this exceptional hurricane season.

Those results were in the Round of 64, so the winners will play once more on Friday morning before the Round of 16 brings in the top 8 seeds, including the top four IRT players: #1 Kane Waselenchuk, #2 Rocky Carson, #3 Daniel De La Rosa and #4 Alvaro Beltran.

Look to the IRT Network, or the IRT Facebook page, for this weekend’s action. The Round of 16 is Friday afternoon from 3 PM to 6 PM with the quarter finals Saturday morning from 9 AM to noon, and the semi-finals at 4 PM and 5 PM Saturday. The final will be Sunday at 11 AM. All times Pacific.

2017 IRT Phase IV Scientific Health & Performance Pro-Am, September 7-10, 2017
Canoga Park, California


Qualifying Round 1 - Thursday

Adam Manilla d. Set Cubillos, 3-11, 11-3, 11-4, 11-0
Jose Diaz d. Bryan Crosser, 11-0, 11-2, 11-2

Samuel Murray - BYE
Sebastian Fernandez d. Dane Elkins, 11-9, 11-4, 11-6

Rodrigo Montoya d. Majeed Shahin, 11-4, 12-10, 11-1
Luis Perez d. Robert Collins, 11-6, 11-7, 8-11, 11-6

Ramon De Leon d. Charlie Pratt, forfeit
Nicholas Riffel d. Francisco Troncoso, 11-6, 11-5, 11-9

Thomas Carter d. John Wolfe, 11-1, 11-6, 11-8
Justin Johnson d. Scott McClellan, 11-8, 11-5, 8-11, 11-5

Felipe Camacho - BYE
Gerardo Franco d. Troy Warigon, 11-3, 11-4, 11-9

Luis Avila d. Wayne Antone IV, 9-11, 8-11, 11-9, 11-6, 11-5
David Horn - BYE

Jake Bredenbeck d. Hank Minardo, injury forfeit
Miguel Rodriguez Jr. d. Andrés Gómez, 12-10, 11-6, 11-4

Qualifying Round 2 - Friday

Q8) Adam Manilla v. Jose Diaz - 11 AM
Q1) Samuel Murray v. Sebastian Fernandez - 11 AM

Q4) Rodrigo Montoya v. Luis Perez - 11 AM
Q5) Ramon De Leon v. Nicholas Riffel - 11 AM

Q6) Thomas Carter v. Justin Johnson - 10 AM
Q3) Felipe Camacho v. Gerardo Franco - 10 AM

Q2) David Horn v. Luis Avila - 10 AM
Q7) Jake Bredenbeck v. Miguel Rodriguez Jr. - 10 AM

Round of 16 - Friday

1) Kane Waselenchuk v. Q8 - 5 PM
8) Andree Parrilla v. Q1 - 5 PM

5) Jansen Allen v. Q4 - 6 PM
4) Alvaro Beltran v. Q5 - 6 PM

3) Daniel De La Rosa v. Q6 - 3 PM
6) Sebastian Franco v. Q3 - 3 PM

7) Mario Mercado v. Q2 - 4 PM
2) Rocky Carson v. Q7 - 4 PM

IRT Doubles - Round of 16 - Friday

1) Ben Croft & Kane Waselenchuk - BYE
8) Jake Bredenbeck & David Horn v. 9) Set Cubillos & Andrés Gómez - Noon

5) Sebastian Franco & Mario Mercado v. 12) Adam Manilla & Nicolas Riffel - Noon
4) Jansen Allen & Charlie Pratt v. 13) Tim Herman & Michael Myers - 1 PM

3) Alvaro Beltran & Daniel De La Rosa v. 14) Ramon De Leon & Luis Perez - Noon
6) Rodrigo Montoya & Andree Parrilla v. Bryan Crosser & Dane Elkins - 1 PM

7) Felipe Camacho & Samuel Murray v. Sebastian Fernandez & Miguel Rodriguez Jr. - Noon
2) Rocky Carson & Tito Montanez - BYE

Follow the bouncing ball….

Thursday, September 7, 2017

The 2017-18 IRT season begins in Canoga Park

The 2017-18 International Racquetball Tour (IRT) begins today in Canoga Park, California site of the 2017 Phase IV Scientific Health & Performance Pro-Am. There’s a healthy draw this weekend, as 37 players are in the singles draw led by IRT #1 Kane Waselenchuk, who’s coming off not just an undefeated season in 2016-17, but a season where he didn’t lose a game in any of the 29 matches he played. An astounding accomplishment.

Rounding out the top four seeds this weekend are IRT #2 Rocky Carson, #3 Daniel De La Rosa and #4 Alvaro Beltran.

They are also playing doubles in Canoga Park, and the big news there is that Ben Croft is in the draw with Kane Waselenchuk. This is Croft’s first appearance on tour since last year’s US Open. Croft and Waselenchuk won the US Open in 2015 and 2014, but since having shoulder surgery in 2015 Croft has played very little, and mostly just doubles with Waselenchuk, who hasn’t played with anyone else since partnering with Croft.

Look to the IRT Network, or the IRT Facebook page, for this weekend’s action. The Round of 16 is Friday afternoon from 3 PM to 6 PM with the quarter finals Saturday morning from 9 AM to noon, and the semi-finals at 4 PM and 5 PM Saturday. The final will be Sunday at 11 AM. All times Pacific.

2017 IRT Phase IV Scientific Health & Performance Pro-Am, September 7-10, 2017
Canoga Park, California


Qualifying Round 1 - Thursday

Set Cubillos v. Adam Manilla
Jose Diaz v. Bryan Crosser

Samuel Murray - BYE
Sebastian Fernandez v. Dane Elkins

Majeed Shahin v. Rodrigo Montoya
Robert Collins v. Luis Perez

Charlie Pratt v. Ramon De Leon
Francisco Troncoso v. Nicholas Riffel

Thomas Carter v. John Wolfe
Scott McClellan v. Justin Johnson

Felipe Camacho - BYE
Gerardo Franco v. Troy Warigon

Luis Avila v. Wayne Antone IV
David Horn - BYE

Jake Bredenbeck v. Hank Minardo
Andrés Gómez v. Miguel Rodriguez Jr.

Qualifying Round 2 - Friday

Q8) Set Cubillos or Adam Manilla v. Jose Diaz or Bryan Crosser
Q1) Samuel Murray v. Sebastian Fernandez or Dane Elkins

Q4) Majeed Shahin or Rodrigo Montoya v. Robert Collins or Luis Perez
Q5) Charlie Pratt or Ramon De Leon v. Francisco Troncoso or Nicholas Riffel

Q6) Thomas Carter or John Wolfe v. Scott McClellan or Justin Johnson
Q3) Felipe Camacho v. Gerardo Franco or Troy Warigon

Q2) David Horn v. Luis Avila or Wayne Antone IV
Q7) Jake Bredenbeck or Hank Minardo v. Andrés Gómez or Miguel Rodriguez Jr.

Round of 16 - Friday

1) Kane Waselenchuk v. Q8 - 5 PM
8) Andree Parrilla v. Q1 - 5 PM

5) Jansen Allen v. Q4 - 6 PM
4) Alvaro Beltran v. Q5 - 6 PM

3) Daniel De La Rosa v. Q6 - 3 PM
6) Sebastian Franco v. Q3 - 3 PM

7) Mario Mercado v. Q2 - 4 PM
2) Rocky Carson v. Q7 - 4 PM

IRT Doubles - Round of 16 - Friday

1) Ben Croft & Kane Waselenchuk - BYE
8) Jake Bredenbeck & David Horn v. 9) Set Cubillos & Andrés Gómez - Noon

5) Sebastian Franco & Mario Mercado v. 12) Adam Manilla & Nicolas Riffel - Noon
4) Jansen Allen & Charlie Pratt v. 13) Tim Herman & Michael Myers - 1 PM

3) Alvaro Beltran & Daniel De La Rosa v. 14) Ramon De Leon & Luis Perez - Noon
6) Rodrigo Montoya & Andree Parrilla v. Bryan Crosser & Dane Elkins - 1 PM

7) Felipe Camacho & Samuel Murray v. Sebastian Fernandez & Miguel Rodriguez Jr. - Noon
2) Rocky Carson & Tito Montanez - BYE

Follow the bouncing ball….

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

“Play your game!” But what is your game?

In coaching, a common piece of advice is to “play your game.” The idea being that you should play how you want to play, and not get lulled into playing whatever way your opponent wants to play.

In racquetball, this can be taken to mean that you should just do whatever it is that will enable you to hit a winning shot. So racquetball players are often trying to roll the ball out on every shot, because those are the shots that will be winners, right?

Well, yes, but racquetball involves two people (or four in doubles), so if you are trying to “play your game” without taking into account your opponent(s), then you are overlooking a key part of what is happening on court.

If you are a sports fan, then you are likely watching some of the 2017 US Open Tennis Championships now going on in New York. Consider the Men’s Singles match between John Isner and Mischa Zverev. Isner, at 6’10”, is a very tall fellow, which is a big advantage in tennis. But the thing about tall people is they don’t like getting down low, because it’s awkward and takes a lot of effort. All in all, they’d rather not do it.

Zverev, who at 6’3” is not short guy, turned Isner’s height, which is generally an advantage, into a disadvantage by hitting a lot of slice shots to Isner, so the ball was naturally low to the ground. Thus, Isner had to continuously go down to get it, and over the course of the match this took it toll and helped Zverez, the 23rd seed, upset 10th seeded Isner.

Clearly, Zverev had a game plan, and hitting balls low to the ground was part of it. When you play racquetball matches, you should also have a game plan, and you should “play your game (plan).” That plan needs to take your opponent into consideration.

Does your opponent like hitting the ball hard and low? Many racquetball players like doing that. If so, then would it be a good plan to serve hard and low to him or her? Maybe not. Maybe it would be better to serve slower shots to that opponent.

It’s good to know what you like to doing on the court, and good to know what you do well on court. But often what is going to win the match is doing things that put your opponent in an awkward position more than hitting the shots you like most.

Consider: if you like hitting the ball hard and low all the time, and hate ceiling balls, but a coach tells you if you hit a ceiling ball in every rally against your opponent, you will win the match, would you do it? Could you do it? What if two ceiling balls were required to win every rally?

It’s true that after the match people ask how many more often than how, so, for most people, saying Zverev over Isner, 6-4, 6-3, 7-6, will be enough (and then it was Querrey over Zverev, 6-2, 6-2, 6-1) without saying anything about how it happened. But, as a player, in order to get the result you want, you need to know how to do it. And that means having a game plan.

Plans can change during the match, of course. There’s a saying that all battle plans are perfect until the first shot is fired, and then they are all useless. But much of what is valuable about the plan is the thinking that went into it. That thinking will help you figure out how to get the result you want.

Then during the match you can just “play your game (plan).”

Follow the bouncing ball….