Juarez, MEX, WPH Press, 6/11/17- The Juarez handball community and the World Players of Handball were proud to present the 2017 WPH Torneo de Handball in Juarez, MEX, featuring five WPH Race 4 Eight pros in the top 30, a strong contingent of top open players, and the flourishing JR WPH Juarez junior handball program.
The top four seeds advanced to the Torneo de Handball semifinals, with top-seeded and R48 #5 Luis Cordova cruising past 2016 JR WPH Coach of the Year Drft Fernandez, second-seeded and R48 #6 Sean Lenning and third-seeded R48 #8 Daniel Cordova advancing with little difficulty to face one another in the semifinals, and fourth-seeded and R48 #15 Abraham Montijo defeating R48 #26 and current collegiate finalist Leo Canales to book his spot in the final four.
Luis Cordova started well in his semifinal clash with junior and pro rival Abraham Montijo, taking the first game in the upper bracket semifinal 21-9. “I was hitting the ball well and hitting it hard and it seemed like Abe was having a hard time adjusting,” stated Cordova, Jr.
Montijo pushed himself to the limit in game two, as he always seems to do against his junior rival. Montijo was tracking down nearly all of Cordova’s shots, maintaining a 2-3 point lead midway through the second game. Cordova eventually tied the score at 13 and never looked back, closing out Tucson’s Montijo 21-16.
The match of the tournament pitted Race 4 Eight Elite 8 stars Daniel Cordova and Sean Lenning in the bottom bracket semifinal. Daniel entered the match having not defeated Lenning in tournament play and did not appear to be on the verge of his first victory, falling meekly to Lenning in the first game. “Sean played very well in the first game, making a lot of his crazy kills with both hands and using his offense to keep Daniel out of his groove,” stated Daniel’s older brother Luis.
Daniel flipped the script in game two, dominating the action en route to a 17-6 lead. With the game seemingly over, Lenning started to slowly chip away, scoring seven consecutive points to cut the deficit to 13-17. “There were a lot of side outs but Daniel just could not seem to score,” stated Luis. Lenning continued his charge from 13-17, doubling his consecutive scoring streak to 14 to serve for the match at 20-17. Lenning would serve for the match three times, but despite scoring 14 unanswered points, was unable to make it 15. “Somehow Daniel held Sean at 20 three times and scored his points one-by-one to tie the game at 20,” stated Luis. “Daniel hit an amazing pass/kill with a reverse down the left to force a tiebreaker.”
Daniel grabbed a 4-1 lead in the tiebreaker, only to be caught by Lenning at four. Daniel surged to 7-4, but Lenning cut the deficit to 6-7. Daniel found the final streak of the match, scoring four of the final five points of the match to advance to the final. “It just seemed like Daniel was fresher than Sean in the tiebreaker and Sean’s left was just a lot weaker in the final game,” stated Luis. “That was the difference.”
L. Cordova def Montijo 21-9, 21-16
D. Cordova def Lenning 11-21, 21-20, 11-7
Brothers Luis and Daniel met in their third open final in six weeks, with the pair splitting their recent two clashes in Chattanooga (Luis in a tiebreaker) and Ormond Beach (Daniel in a tiebreaker).
Luis played aggressively in game one, blitzing his younger brother, 21-5. Luis continued to apply pressure in game two, taking a 16-5 lead and on the verge of the Torneo title. Daniel rallied from the brink of a lopsided defeat, coming back to take an 18-16 lead before Luis closed out the match. “Daniel started off really slowly and I was playing well,” stated Luis. “Daniel found his game late and really got into his groove but fortunately for me I was able to win in two after his comeback.”
Final: L. Cordova def D. Cordova 21-5, 21-18
Thank you to 2017 WPH Torneo de Handball sponsors World Players of Handball, E4, La Tostada, Dr. iPhone, Terrasa Jardin Bruselas, Taco El Macizo, Taller El Rudo, Zurvita (Royer Gardea), and Taller La Ranita for a great event.
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WPH Senior Writer