Tuesday, February 7, 2023

Longoria & Montoya win at Campeonato Nacional 2023

Rodrigo Montoya and Paola Longoria were the top seeds in Men’s and Women’s Singles on the weekend at the 2023 Campeonato Nacional Selectivo - the Mexican national team selection event - in Juarez, Mexico. In the Men’s final, Montoya defeated Eduardo Portillo, 9-11, 16-14, 11-6, 12-10, while in the Women’s final Longoria beat Montserrat Mejia, 11-2, 11-3, 11-8.

Montoya was a double winner as he also won Men’s Doubles with Javier Mar. They came back from down 2-1 to defeat Andree Parrilla and Eduardo Portillo, 13-11, 7-11, 7-11, 11-7, 11-9, in the final. Alexandra Herrera and Mejia won Women’s Doubles by coming back from two games down in the final to defeat Longoria and Samantha Salas, 9-11, 6-11, 11-2, 12-10, 11-6.

Mexico used a double knockout format for the singles divisions in this event, so players who lost a match were put on the “B” side of the draw, regardless of when the loss occurred, and they played down for a chance to claim the second singles spot on the team.

Eduardo Portillo claimed the second men’s spot by defeating Andree Parrilla, 11-7, 11-5, 11-6, and Jessica Parrilla defeated Montserrat Mejia, 6-11, 11-9, 11-7, 8-11, 11-9, for the second women’s spot. Both results are a bit surprising, as Portillo is ahead of Andree Parrilla in the International Racquetball Tour (IRT) rankings, and Montserrat Mejia is ahead of Jessica Parrilla in the Ladies Professional Racquetball Tour (LPRT) rankings.

The player who is surprisingly shut out of Team Mexico is veteran Samantha Salas. Salas and Longoria are the current International Racquetball Federation (IRF) Women’s Doubles World Champions, and are the three time defending gold medalists at the Pan American Games, but it seems they will not have a chance to defend those titles this year, as Herrera and Mejia have earned the right to represent Mexico in Women’s Doubles at the 2023 Pan Am Games in Chile in October.

Andree Parrilla must also be disappointed to not make the team. He’s a fine player, and a multiple winner on the IRT. But Parrilla has seldom played for Mexico, and it looks like he’ll have to wait another year for a chance to do so.

The next international event is the Pan American Championships in Guatemala in April.

CAMPEONATO NACIONAL FMR 2023
Juarez, Mexico - February 1-5, 2023

Women's Open Singles

Final

1) Paola Longoria d. 6) Montserrat Mejia, 11-2, 11-3, 11-8

2nd Place

5) Jessica Parrilla d. 6) Montserrat Mejia, 6-11, 11-9, 11-7, 8-11, 11-9

Semi-finals

1) Paola Longoria d. 5) Jessica Parrilla, 11-4, 11-2, 11-6
6) Montserrat Mejia d. 2) Alexandra Herrera, 9-11, 7-11, 11-2, 11-7, 11-8

Men's Open Singles

Final

1) Rodrigo Montoya d. 11) Eduardo Portillo, 9-11, 16-14, 11-6, 12-10

2nd Place

11) Eduardo Portillo d. 2) Andree Parrilla, 11-7, 11-5, 11-6

Semi-finals

1) Rodrigo Montoya d. 4) Javier Mar, 12-10, 11-13, 11-8, 13-11
11) Eduardo Portillo d. 2) Andree Parrilla, 14-12, 13-11, 12-10

Women's Open Doubles

Final

2) Alexandra Herrera & Montserrat Mejia d. 1) Paola Longoria & Samantha Salas Solis, 9-11, 6-11, 11-2, 12-10, 11-6

3rd Place

3) Jessica Parrilla & Ximena Gonzalez d. 4) Nancy Enriquez & Daniela Rico

Semi-finals

1) Paola Longoria & Samantha Salas Solis d. 4) Nancy Enriquez & Daniela Rico, 11-3, 11-4, 4-11, 6-11, 11-13, 11-3
2) Alexandra Herrera & Montserrat Mejia d. 3) Jessica Parrilla & Ximena Gonzalez, 11-9, 12-10, 14-16, 11-5

Men's Open Doubles

Final

1) Javier Mar & Rodrigo Montoya d. 6) Andree Parrilla & Eduardo Portillo, 13-11, 7-11, 7-11, 11-7, 11-9

3rd Place

4) Emir Martinez & Jose Carlos Ramos d. 2) Sebastian Hernandez & Erick Trujillo - forfeit

Semi-finals

1) Javier Mar & Rodrigo Montoya d. 4) Emir Martinez & Jose Carlos Ramos, 11-6, 11-6, 11-7
6) Andree Parrilla & Eduardo Portillo d. 2) Sebastian Hernandez & Erick Trujillo, 13-11, 11-8, 11-7

Follow the bouncing ball….

Monday, February 6, 2023

Morissette & Murray win at 2023 Canadian National Team Selection Event

Samuel Murray and Michèle Morissette won Men’s and Women’s Open, respectively, at the 2nd Racquetball Canada National Team Selection Event of the season in Grande Prairie, Alberta on the weekend. The Men’s final was a barn burner of a match that went the distance with three of the five games being decided by the minimum two points. Both Murray and Coby Iwaasa were throwing themselves all over the court with Murray narrowly winning, 10-12, 11-4, 12-14, 11-7, 11-9.

In the Women’s final, Morissette and Danielle Ramsay split the first two games, but Morissette won the next two to take the match in four games, 11-6, 8-11, 11-7, 11-7.

Murray led for all of game one of the Men’s Final, although Iwaasa tied it at 7-7. Then when Murray was up 9-7, Iwaasa called a timeout. A Murray forehand made it 10-7, when play resumed, but three game points for Murray went by as Iwaasa again tied it, 10-10. He got to game point with a backhand pinch shot, and then won it, when Murray skipped a forehand shot that made it 12-10.

The match became a best of three after Murray won game two by a comfortable margin, 11-4.

They were back and forth early in game three with Murray leading 3-1 and then Iwaasa up 6-3. In a parallel to game one, they tied at 7-7, and when Murray pulled ahead to 9-7, Iwaasa called a timeout. Yet Murray scored the next point, making it 10-7. Déjà vu all over again.

Iwaasa fought off the first game point with a backhand pinch shot. Before his second game point, Murray called a timeout. Yet that didn’t stop Iwaasa from winning the next three points to get to game point himself at 11-10.

A Murray forehand denied Iwaasa that opportunity, and his got game point #3 as Iwaasa tried to hit a forehand pinch shot from shoulder high. Not a great choice. Murray didn’t convert that opportunity despite having a chance to hit a forehand pinch shot from the left wall, but he skipped that shot, tying the game at 12-12.

Iwaasa closed out game three with forehand winners on the next two rallies - one cross court, one down the line - to go up 2-1 on Murray.

Murray again responded to the loss with a strong game, winning the fourth game 11-7 to force a tie-breaker.

Iwaasa led early in the breaker at 4-1, 5-2 and 7-5. But an ace drive serve to the right side by Murray made it 7-7. They tied again at 8-8, but two winners by Murray put him on match point at 10-8. Iwaasa called a timeout.

On the ensuing rally, Iwaasa held up prior to a backhand shot in the middle of the court, and the referee called an avoidable hinder. It didn’t seem like an avoidable, and Murray appealed the call, but the line judges upheld the referee’s decision, which make the score 10-9 with Iwaasa serving to extend the match.

He drove serve to the left side, and Murray smashed the ball back up the line and it rolled out from the front wall. Game over. Match over. Murray wins.

The Alberta Racquetball Association streamed the final on its Facebook page, so you can view it there.

The results for this event will be combined with the results from last year’s Canadian National Championships, as well as the first National Team Selection Event last November, to select the players for the 2023 Pan American Championships in Guatemala in April. That’s an important event, because it will be the qualifying event for the 2023 Pan American Games in Santiago, Chile in October. How many players countries can send will depend on the results in Guatemala.

The results of this season’s two selection events, as well as the 2023 Canadian National Championships in May, will determine who will compete for Team Canada at the Pan Am Games in Chile.

2023 Racquetball Canada National Team Selection Event February 3-4, 2023 - Grande Prairie, Alberta

Men's Open

Final

1) Samuel Murray d. 2) Coby Iwaasa, 10-12, 11-4, 12-14, 11-7, 11-9

3rd Place

3) Trevor Webb d. 4) Lee Connell, 11-6, 11-4, 11-7

Semi-finals

1) Samuel Murray d. 4) Lee Connell, 11-4, 8-11, 11-9, 11-1
2) Coby Iwaasa d. 3) Trevor Webb, 11-3, 8—11, 11-7, 11-4

Quarterfinals

1) Samuel Murray d. 9) Nathan Jauvin, 11-6, 11-7, 11-1
4) Lee Connell d. 5) Tanner Prentice, 6-11, 11-7, 11-9, 11-4

3) Trevor Webb d. 6) Kurtis Cullen, 6-11, 11-13, 11-6, 11-4, 11-7
2) Coby Iwaasa d. 7) Mitch Brayley, 11-7, 11-4, 12-10

Women's Open

Final

2) Michèle Morissette d. 4) Danielle Ramsay, 11-6, 8-11, 11-7, 11-7

3rd place

3) Juliette Parent d. 1) Christine Kaey, 8-11, 11-5, 11-3, 11-2

Semi-finals

4) Danielle Ramsay d. 1) Christine Kaey, 11-9, 6-11, 11-7, 11-6
2) Michèle Morissette d. 3) Juliette Parent, 11-3, 3-11, 11-2, 11-8

Quarterfinals

1) Christine Kaey - BYE
4) Danielle Ramsay d. 5) Marjolaine Parent, 11-8, 11-8, 11-6

3) Juliette Parent d. 6) Cassie Prentice, 11-9, 11-3, 11-7
2) Michèle Morissette d. 7) Ofelia Wilscam, 11-4, 11-5, 11-7

Follow the bouncing ball….

Sunday, February 5, 2023

Two wins for Erika Manilla at 2023 USA Racquetball National Doubles & Singles Championships

Erika Manilla was the big winner at the USA Racquetball National Doubles and Singles Championships at Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona, as she won both Women’s Doubles and Mixed Doubles. Manilla and Michelle De La Rosa won Women’s Doubles by defeating the defending champions Kelani Lawrence and Hollie Scott, 7-11, 11-4, 11-6, 11-7. That title added to the Mixed Doubles title she won with her brother Adam Manilla by defeating Daniel De La Rosa and Scott, 11-6, 11-8, 10-12, 11-9.

It was the fourth consecutive year Manilla was in the Women’s Doubles final, and she’s won three of them, doing so previously with Aimee Roehler (then Ruiz) in 2020 and Rhonda Rajsich in 2021. Manilla and Roehler were runners up last year to Lawrence and Scott. She and Adam were also in the Mixed Doubles final last year, when Michelle De La Rosa and Alejandro Landa won. Thus, Manilla, who is just in her mid-20s, and is the current USA Racquetball Women's Singles champion, already has an impressive USA Racquetball championship record.

Daniel De La Rosa and Landa won Men’s Doubles, as they beat surprise finalists Wayne Antone and Adam Manilla, 15-13, 11-5, 11-8. The win is their first USA Racquetball doubles title together, De La Rosa’s first overall, and Landa’s second overall, as he won with Sudsy Monchik in 2020.

This was just the second time in the last seven championships that Rocky Carson didn’t win the title. The other being Landa and Monchik’s 2020 win. Carson and Charlie Pratt won three of the last four titles, and were two time defending champions. But they were upset in the semi-finals by Antone and Manilla, who ousted them after a five game marathon, 13-11, 6-11, 9-11, 13-11, 11-8.

USA Racquetball is having a National Team Qualifying event for Men’s and Women’s Singles May 25-28 in Lombard, Illinois, which will give players another opportunity to make Team USA for the 2023 Pan American Championships in Guatemala in April, and 2023 Pan American Games in Chile in October. The Pan Am Championships are an annual event, but the Pan Am Games are a quadrennial event - like the Olympics. The Pan Am Games are the second largest multi-sport games after only the Summer Olympics. Many racquetball players consider the Pan Am Games their Olympics.

If you missed any of the action from Tempe, check out the USA Racquetball YouTube channel.

2023 USA Racquetball National Doubles Championships
February 1-5, 2023 - Tempe, Arizona
US National Team Divisions

Men's Doubles

Semi-finals

4) Wayne Antone & Adam Manilla d. 1) Rocky Carson & Charlie Pratt, 13-11, 6-11, 9-11, 13-11, 11-8
3) Daniel De La Rosa & Alejandro Landa d. 2) Jake Bredenbeck & Sam Bredenbeck, 12-10, 6-11, 11-7, 10-12, 11-2

Final

3) Daniel De La Rosa & Alejandro Landa d. 4) Wayne Antone & Adam Manilla, 15-13, 11-5, 11-8

3rd Place

1) Rocky Carson & Charlie Pratt v. 2) Jake Bredenbeck & Sam Bredenbeck, double forfeit

Women's Doubles

Semi-finals

1) Kelani Lawrence & Hollie Scott d. 4) Aimee Roehler & Janel Tisinger-Ledkins, 11-7, 11-3, 11-7
3) Erika Manilla & Michelle De La Rosa d. 2) Rhonda Rajsich & Sheryl Lotts, 11-8, 11-5, 11-6

Final

3) Erika Manilla & Michelle De La Rosa d. 1) Kelani Lawrence & Hollie Scott, 7-11, 11-4, 11-6, 11-7

3rd Place

2) Rhonda Rajsich & Sheryl Lotts d. 4) Aimee Roehler & Janel Tisinger-Ledkins, 11-6, 10-12, 11-8, 8-11, 11-3

Mixed Doubles

Final

2) Adam Manilla & Erika Manilla d. 4) Daniel De La Rosa & Hollie Scott, 11-6, 11-8, 10-12, 11-9

3rd Place

1) Michelle De La Rosa & Alejandro Landa d. 6) Sheryl Lotts & Charlie Pratt, 11-9, 11-7, 11-6

Follow the bouncing ball....