The 2016 R48 V Player’s Championship: Saturday
The R48, WR48 and SR48 Elite were in action on Saturday, with each respective tour battling on ESPN for spots in Sunday’s Race 4 Eight Player’s Championship final.
R48 Elite Men
Mando Ortiz faced his mentor and head coach Marcos Chavez in the first ESPN match of the morning. The LAAC teammates put on a sensational show, with the two trading flat back wall rollouts and outrageous speed. Chavez overcame a slow start in game one to take a 12-10 lead, but several costly errors halted his momentum and chance to win the game. Ortiz cruised in game two, advancing to the semifinals for the fourth straight R48 event.
Sean Lenning met good friend Daniel Cordova in the second quarterfinal, with Lenning owning an undefeated record against the 2015 WPH Rookie of the Year in R48 play. Lenning was ruthless in his assault against Cordova, building a 14-0 game one lead in game in just eight minutes and needing less than 30 minutes to close out the match in two games.
Killian Carroll overcame a dismal showing in Salt Lake City to advance to the quarterfinal where he met his Salt Lake City round of 16 vanquisher Vic Perez. The rematch seemed to be a repeat of the pair’s initial encounter, with Perez taking 13-9 lead in game one and seemingly in control. Carroll rallied, holding off six Perez attempts to score his 14th point and scoring the final six points of the game to take a one-game lead. Carroll dominated game two and advanced to his forth R48 semifinal of the season.
Paul Brady was the freshest of the quarter-finalists, having received a forfeit on Friday. Brady was challenged in the first game in the fourth quarterfinal of the day by R48 I Elite 8 member Luis Cordova, leading just 12-9 and needing to summon his best handball to escape in game one. Brady dominated an exhausted Cordova in game two to advance to his 15th R48 semifinal in 17 starts.
Lenning and Ortiz met for the third time this season with not only a spot in the final on the line, but also the season-ending #2 ranking and bonus money on the line. The pair awed one of the most electric galleries in R48 history in a three-game thriller, with Lenning taking game one and Ortiz taking game two. The pair demonstrated outrageous reflexes and athleticism, with the top three R48 pros trading kills, re kills, and making seemingly impossible retrieves. The level of play dropped early in the tiebreaker, with the players making 14 combined errors in the first 10 points. “I think that loose style of play favors Lenning,” stated WPH color analyst Dr. Dan Zimet. “At 5-all Lenning tightened up his game and ran off 10 straight points.”
Paul Brady met countryman Killian Carroll in the final match of the evening, with the palpable energy of crowd galvanizing both players. Brady raced to a 9-3 first game lead and appeared to be completely in control of the match. Carroll stormed back, tying the game at nine and setting the stage for a dramatic finish. Inexplicably, Brady’s energy and shot making slipped, opening the door for Carroll to win his first game against “The Gunner.” Carroll continued to dominate in game two, needing just 12 minutes to hand Brady his third loss in 17 R48 events. Carroll outscored Brady 27-8 to end the match and will take that momentum into Sunday’s final against Lenning.
R48 Final: Lenning vs. Carroll
Catriona Casey cruised to the semifinals for the 10th consecutive WR48 event with a decisive two-game victory against Lara Schoener. Ciana Ni Churraoin defeated New York’s Sandy Ng in two competitive games, while Aisling Reilly also cruised in two games against Tracy Davis to advance to the semifinals. The final quarterfinal of the morning pitted two of the WR48’s top left-handed stars, as New York’s Danielle Daskalakis faced Canada’s Jessica Gawley. The most competitive match of the morning featured tremendous shot making and great drama, with Gawley taking game one in overtime, only to see Daskalakis storm back to take the next two games by identical 15-10 scores.
Catriona Casey ousted her countrywoman Ciana Ni Churraoin in the first WR48 semifinal, outscoring the rising star 30-14 in the two-game. “Ciana made the highlight reel on numerous occasions with flat rollouts, but Casey was too steady throughout the match,” stated ESPN play-by-play announcer David Vincent.
Two-time world champion Aisling Reilly continued her quest to add to one title that has eluded her against Danielle Daskalakis. Reilly scored 21 of the first 22 points of the match to take a commanding 15-, 6-0 lead, but Daskalakis caught fire, scoring 15 straight points with kills from everywhere on the court to force a third game. Reilly regrouped after surrendering game two, dominating the third frame to advance to the final.
WR48 Final: Casey vs. Reilly
Senior R48Pro 40+
Two-time defending SR48 Player’s Champion Marcos Chavez faced Dr. Dan Zimet in a rematch of February’s SR48 Houston semifinal in the first SR48 quarterfinal of the afternoon. Chavez’s full arsenal of tomahawk kill, drop kills, paddle kills and backhanded kills was on display on ESPN, as Chavez cruised to the final
2013 SR48 Player’s Champion Andy Schad faced Ireland’s Gavin Buggy in the second SR48 semifinal of the afternoon. The two played competitively for the first 10 minutes of the first game, but Buggy took over from there, scorching Schad with bottom-board rollouts and precision ceiling shots. Buggy became the second Irishman to advance to the SR48 Player’s Championship final in two years.
SR48 Final: Chavez vs. Buggy
Junior WPH Clinic: Paul Brady Coaches Nearly a Dozen Juniors!
Nearly a dozen junior handball players from Canada, Portland and the University of Texas were treated to a special Junior WPH clinic with the world’s greatest player Paul Brady. The awestruck junior players between the ages of 6-22 were treated to stroke, strategy and cross-training instruction from one of the greatest athletes to have ever lived. Following the instruction, the juniors each played a point with the five-time world champion, with two of the older players winning the rally and a WPH prize. “Having a chance to play a point with Paul Brady would be like playing Steph Curry in one-on-one or playing a hole with Tiger in his prime,” stated WPH Development Director David Fink. “What a thrill for the juniors to be able to learn from Paul and a thrill for the WPH to provide the juniors with the opportunity.”
The live ESPN3 WPH Player’s Championship broadcast (here) continues on Sunday morning, May 8th at 1 pm est with the R48 quarterfinals. To follow the draws and results from the R48 V Player’s Championship, click here
Log onto wphlive.tv, Like the World Players of Handball on Facebook, or follow the WPH on Twitter @dfwph and @wphlive for all of the updates from the 2016 Race 4 Eight V Player’s Championship, featuring the best R48, WR48 and SR48 pros in the world.
The World Players of Handball is a non-profit foundation aiming to grow the game of handball through innovation and inspiring the next generation of players through junior clinics with certified WPH coaches, junior tournaments and the Race 4 Eight tour.
Sunday, May 8th, 2016 – Broadcast Schedule (All Times Pacific: Watch on ESPN3 & WatchESPN App)
9am – 5th Place Men’s Pro Singles Final – Vic Perez (CA) vs Daniel Cordova (TX)
9:45am – 9th Place Men’s Pro Singles Final – David Fink (AZ) vs Emmett Peixoto (CA)
10:45am – 40+ SR48Pro Final – Marcos Chavez (CA) vs Gavin Buggy (IRE)
11:45am – Men’s Elite Eight Final – Sean Lenning (CA) vs Killian Carroll (IRE)
12:45pm – Women’s Elite Pro Final – Aisling Reilly (IRE) vs Catriona Casey (IRE)