Saturday, July 25, 2015

USA & Mexico to playoff for team gold at 2015 Pan American Games

Mexico and the USA will play for gold in the Men's Team event at the 2015 Pan American Games, just as they did four years ago in Guadalajara. Sound familiar? That's because it's a Mexican-American showdown in the Women's Team final also. On the men's side, both Mexico and the USA needed three matches to advance. Mexico defeated Bolivia in one semi-final while the USA beat Canada in the other.

Alvaro Beltran and Javier Moreno got Mexico off to a good start, as they defeated Bolivians Roland Keller and Conrrado Moscoso in doubles, 15-5, 15-14. In the second match, Moscoso got the better of Daniel De La Rosa over three games, 10-15, 15-5, 11-5.

That set up a deciding third match, which also went to a tie-breaker, when Beltran came through for Mexico by defeating Carlos Keller, 15-12, 3-15, 11-3.

That Beltran was able to take part in the semi-final at all was "basically, a miracle," Beltran said afterwards. "Never thought I was going to be able to play," as he'd suffered "a terrible back spasm" against Costa Rica in doubles.

But with an "effort by everyone on our team. My teammates. Their support. Their trust. The doctors put me on the court," said Beltran, adding "I told them just get me on the court. I'll do the rest."

In the other semi-final, the USA also started well, as Jansen Allen and Jose Rojas beat Canadians Vincent Gagnon and Tim Landeryou, 15-4, 15-9. The win avenged the Americans loss to the Canuck team in the group stage of the individual competition earlier in the week.

Rojas said afterwards "I was just focussed. I felt we had the right strategy. I was just executing almost every time that I needed to. We put a lot of pressure on them. They were putting some pressure on us, but I just felt good the whole match." It showed in his performance, as he was the main shooter for the US in the match.

In the second match, veteran Mike Green got the better of young Jake Bredenbeck, 15-6, 15-12, to level the match at 1-1.

Thus, a third match would decide who was going to play for gold with Rocky Carson (USA) and Coby Iwaasa (Canada) facing off. Carson, the gold medal winner in Men's Singles in Toronto, looked like he wasn't going to have any problem with the young Canadian after game one. However, Iwaasa had other ideas, and pushed the gold medal winner to the limit before Carson was able to pull it out, winning 15-6, 15-14.

"Being up 9-2 in the second and then having to fight to win 15-14.
That was probably the best racquetball I've had anybody play against me all weekend. No doubt," said Carson afterwards. "I was hitting good shots, and he was hitting better shots at times. You have to live with that. I was living with it at that moment a little bit more than I wanted to. But I was able to weather the storm enough. Hit a couple clutch shots, and put a little pressure on him at the end that forced him into a couple skips."

The match ended with two serve return skips by Iwaasa off Carson drive Z serves to the left side that Iwaasa tried to hit as the ball was coming off the back wall.

Iwaasa actually had one game point on Carson, but Carson hit a forehand winner to get the serve back. Iwaasa never served again, as he had those two return errors.

Asked about what they expect in the final, Beltran said "as long as we're in the court. I think we have pretty good chances." He knows "it's not going to be easy. They won the individual singles and doubles. But we're going to be ready."

Beltran and Moreno could play Americans Rojas and Allen again in doubles, and the USA won their first match. Of that match, Beltran said "I thought we played them pretty well. They just executed with the pressure on. That's not easy to do. We didn't play a bad game. They just made the shots."

On Sunday, Beltran said "we're going to do the same thing. We're going to keep that pressure on. Hopefully, [the Americans will] miss" more this time than they did in the last match.

Carson also expects "it's going to be tough." But he said "I think we have a really good chance. We go in with a lot of confidence."

Rojas agreed they are "going to play confident." Also, he said they'll "play calm, and try to get that gold. We'll be ready."

For updates during the event - between postings on the website - follow us on Twitter: @racquetballblog.

2015 Pan American Games - Toronto, Canada

Men's Team


1) USA (Rocky Carson, Jake Bredenbeck, Jansen Allen & Jose Rojas) d. 4) CANADA (Coby Iwaasa, Mike Green, Vincent Gagnon & Tim Landeryou), 2-1
2) MEXICO (Daniel De La Rosa, Alvaro Beltran & Javier Moreno) d. 3) BOLIVIA (Carlos Keller, Roland Keller & Conrado Moscoso), 2-1


1) USA (Rocky Carson, Jake Bredenbeck, Jansen Allen & Jose Rojas) v. 2) MEXICO (Daniel De La Rosa, Alvaro Beltran & Javier Moreno)

Follow the bouncing ball....

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