Sunday, September 8, 2019

Vargas defeats Longoria to win LPRT By the Beach event

Maria Jose Vargas defeated Paola Longoria, 7-15, 15-12, 11-4, to win the Ladies Professional Racquetball Tour (LPRT) By the Beach tournament in Virginia Beach, Virginia Sunday. It’s Vargas’s first win ever over Longoria, the #1 LPRT player. They had played 24 times before Sunday, but #25 was the charm for Vargas. Afterwards, Vargas said she was “so happy” with the win.

In game one, Longoria led 8-3, but Vargas came back to within one at 8-7. However, Longoria, who was undefeated last season, held her opponent at 7 while scoring seven points of her own to win game one, 15-7. A forehand pinch shot got Longoria to game point, and she won it on the first game point, as Vargas skipped a backhand shot in returning Longoria’s drive serve to the left.

Game two was similar in that Longoria had a lead early at 6-3, and she also led 8-7. But from there Vargas grabbed the advantage, as she went up 13-8 on Longoria. There’s no quit in Longoria though, and she came back to get within one at 13-12.

They exchanged sideouts, and then Longoria went for a forehand overhead shot, which isn’t a typical shot for her, and she skipped it. That gave Vargas game point, 14-12. Vargas drove serve down the right side - which she did for much of the match - and Longoria skipped the serve return to end the game, 15-12 for Vargas, and force a tie-breaker.

In the breaker, Longoria served first, and got the first point with a forehand winner, 1-0. But a winning serve return by Vargas got her the serve, and she scored four points on consecutive rallies with two drive serve aces to the right side, and then another skipped return by Longoria off that same serve. At 4-1 down, Longoria called a timeout.

When play resumed, Vargas scored two more points with the second another drive serve ace, but to the left side. She lost serve when a penalty hinder was called against her off a serve that came too far off the side wall into the middle hindering Longoria’s return.

Longoria got two points to make the score 6-3 for Vargas, and then they exchanged sideouts again. After that Vargas put up two more points by first peeling a ball off the left wall for a winning backhand pinch shot, and then hitting another drive serve ace to the right side. With Vargas leading 8-3, Longoria called her second timeout.

A backhand cross court winner got Vargas to 9-3, when play resumed, but Longoria then hit a strong backhand shot into the middle that jammed Vargas, and got Longoria back into the service box. However, that just started another exchange of sideouts.

Longoria did break the deadlock with a forehand pinch shot that made it 9-4 for Vargas. However, Vargas got the serve back with a backhand pinch shot from deep.

She reached match point by hitting a forehand killshot from shoulder high. Vargas won on her first match point by hitting a backhand winner, making the final score 11-4.

Vargas won singles, but Longoria and Samantha Salas won doubles, as they beat Vargas and Natalia Mendez, 15-6, 15-11. After winning game one, Longoria and Salas had a 14-6 lead in game two. But Vargas and Mendez fought off four match points and got themselves back in the game. However, it was too little, too late with Longoria and Salas closing out the game and match on their fifth game point opportunity.

The next LPRT event is the 2019 US Open in Minneapolis October 2-6. But some LPRT players will also be playing at the 3 Wallball World Championships in Las Vegas, September 27-29. If you missed any of the action from Virginia Beach, check out the LPRT YouTube channel, where matches are archived.

2019 LPRT by the Beach - Chesapeake
Virginia Beach, Virginia, September 6-8, 2019

LPRT Singles - Final - Sunday

3 Maria Jose Vargas d. 1 Paola Longoria, 7-15, 15-12, 11-4

LPRT Doubles - Final - Sunday

1 Paola Longoria & Samantha Salas d. 2 Natalia Mendez & Maria Jose Vargas, 15-6, 15-11

Follow the bouncing ball….

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