WPH R48Pro#4 Montana: Red Death Wraps Up

Posted on Jan 27 2019 - 5:47pm by DV


Missoula, MT, WPH Press, 1/27/19

Day 3: Sunday

Sunday at the 2019 R48 Red Death featured three matches, all with important ranking implications. 44-year old Marcos Chavez was vying to become the oldest Elite 8 member in the eight-year history of the tour, Mando Ortiz was seeking his best R48 finish in one year, and Killian Carroll was aiming for his first title of the season and to maintain his standing atop the R48 Power Rankings.  

Final: Carroll vs. Lenning

With the #1 R48 ranking on the line, Killian Carroll and Sean Lenning staged a classic at the Red Death, playing at a sensationally high level from the first point of the match and maintaining that level throughout the one-hour and 50 minute affair.

Carroll and Lenning traded the lead four times in a grueling first game, with the momentum seemingly shifting with each incredible rally. With the score tied at 12, Lenning took control of game one with two left-handed back wall kills from the deep court, taking a one-game lead. “You never know what to expect from Sean and those two-left handed back wall kills were great shots,” stated Carroll. “I felt I played well and tried everything I could in that first game.”

Carroll maintained his intensity and conditioning in game two, while Lenning was visibly drained. “I knew after about 10 aces (points) that Sean was going to give away that second game,” stated Carroll.

Tied at one game apiece, Carroll surged to a 6-1 lead to start the third. Memories of Lenning ‘s 2018 Las Vegas comeback surfaced, as Lenning quickly tied the score at six with two crack serves and three kills. Carroll, now breathing heavily and needing to regroup, called his first timeout of the match. Carroll calmly regained his breath and game plan, reentering the court with vigor. Carroll punished an exhausted Lenning with blistering two-wall passes to setup corner kills, scoring the final nine points of the match to win his first title if the 2018/19 R48 8 season and take a commanding lead on the R48 Power Rankings.

“I’m ecstatic to win here, my first title of the season,” Carroll stated. “It’s always difficult playing Sean and I’m thrilled to take the title.”

Final: Carroll def Lenning 13-15, 15-2, 15-6 ( Watch this match on Patreon:  https://www.patreon.com/posts/sundays-on-wph-24260537 )


Marcos needed to win the 9th place playoffs to move into the R48 Elite 8 for the first time and did so in emphatic fashion, dismantling top 12 R48 star Jonathan Iglesias 25-11. Chavez was in complete control throughout, ending rallies with back wall kills, fly kills, and fist drives. “This means so much to me,” an emotional Chavez revealed to the WPH’s Kara Mack. “I have really dedicated myself to trying to break into the Elite 8, working out, cutting down on soda, and it feels really good to have made it.”

Mando Ortiz fell behind 7-0 in the 5th place final to LAAC teammate Vic Perez before seizing control of the match with his signature two-handed offensive attack. Ortiz overwhelmed Perez and overcame three late errors to earn his best R48 finish in 12 months. 

“For me it’s all about conditioning,” stated Ortiz. “If my conditioning and fitness is good I can get back to the top.”

9th place final: Chavez def Iglesias 25-11

5th place final: Ortiz def Perez 25-21

’19 Montana Red Death R48 Finishes

1st: Carroll

2nd: Lenning

3rd: D. Cordova/L. Cordova

5th: Ortiz

6th: Perez

7th: Fink/Peixoto

9th: Chavez

10th: Iglesias

11th: Stoffel/Canales, Jr.

13th: Montijo/Ruiz/Langmack/Kerr

17th: Gaulton

Thank you!

Thank you to Montana Red Death tournament directors Sean Sandau and Paul Polzin, as well as co-tournament director Abraham Montijo. 

Huge thanks to the entire WPH staff and broadcast team for an incredible event, as well as WPH volunteers Ashley Moler, Shorty Ruiz, Nick Flores, and Steve Soto.

For more info on the 2019 Montana Red Death and to follow the brackets go HERE

Watch replays of the ’19 Montana Red Death on WPH Patreon. Become a WPH Patreon HERE

David Fink

WPH Senior 



Saturday’s Wrap:


Missoula, MT, WPH Press, 1/26/19 – Day 2: Saturday


Killian Carroll ousted top five R48 peer David Fink in the opening quarterfinal of the morning, playing evenly with Fink halfway through both games before shifting to another gear to pull away in both games.

R48 8 Portland champion Daniel Cordova overwhelmed former R48 #1 and 2018 Montana Red Death finalist Mando Ortiz, scoring 19 points in a row at one point to dominate the LAAC star. “I didn’t want to give Mando any openings because if he gets a little momentum he can really get hot,” stated Danos after winning his eighth consecutive R48 match.

Lucho Cordova was seeking his fourth R48 semifinal of the season, but would have to overcome Emmett Peixoto. Lucho had defeated Peixoto decisively in their two encounters since August, but Peixoto sent a message early in game one, taking a 7-0 lead. Cordova overcame two double faults before scoring his first point to take a 12-11 lead but stalled at 12, as Peixoto took a one-game lead.

Cordova dominated game two from the outset, taking charge of the front court and dictating play to force a third. Cordova trailed 2-4 before taking a 6-2 lead in the tiebreaker, only to go 12 minutes without scoring and receiving serve at 6-11. Peixoto hit what looked to be a crack serve to the left at 11-6, but Cordova was able to strike the ball just before the second bounce, sending a rainbow into the right corner that died right in front of Peixoto. The stroke of good fortune led Cordova all the way back, as Lucho scored nine of the final 10 points of the match to take the match. “Neither of us were shooting the ball that way but I knew he was getting tired and that gave me confidence,” declared Lucho.

Sean Lenning bounced back from the brink of defeat on Friday to dominate R48 #6 Vic Perez, striking 10 left-hand kills in a first game route and holding off Perez in a closer second game to advance to his fourth semifinal of the season. “Yesterday I was just cranky but a little exercise always helps,” stated Lenning. “I felt much happier today and that helped me play better.”


Killian Carroll exacted revenge on Danos Cordova in the upper bracket semifinal, trouncing his Portland conqueror in two games. Carroll dominated game one and held a large lead late in game two before a late rally from Danos pulled the R48 #3 to with two points at 12-14. Carroll closed out the match with a signature one-inch high kill and will be seeking his first title of the season in Sunday’s final.

Sean Lenning met Lucho Cordova for the second time in the semifinals this season in the bottom bracket, with Lenning winning the first encounter in a 15-11 tiebreaker. Lenning needed just six minutes to clinch game one, dominating all facets of the game and allowing the Juarez favorite just three points. Cordova applied pressure in game two, leading until Lenning caught him at 10. Lenning took a 13-10 lead and appeared to score his 14thpoint on an ace that was overturned. Lenning hit an ace on the next serve and appeared to win the match on the next rally, but a hinder was called. Lenning ultimately clinched the match on his fifth match point, advancing to his second final of the season. “I felt like I scored 17 points in there,” Lenning would later say.

Round of 8

Carroll def Fink 15-7, 15-9

Cordova def Ortiz 15-2, 15-3

Cordova def Peixoto 12-15, 15-6, 15-12

Lenning def Perez 15-2, 15-12


Carroll def D. Cordova 15-7, 15-12

Lenning def D. Cordova 15-3, 15-12

Final: Carroll vs. Lenning (11:15 am MST)

9th place final: Chavez vs. Iglesias (9:45 am MST)

5th place final: Ortiz vs. Perez (10:30 am MST)

For more info on the 2019 Montana Red Death and to follow the brackets go HERE


10:00am – Men’s 9th Place Final – Jon Iglesias vs Marcos Chavez

10:45am – Men’s 5th Place Final – Ortiz vs Perez

11:30am – Men’s Pro Final – Carroll vs Lenning

Watch LIVE on Sunday by joining (or logging in, if you are a current member) of the WPH Patreon Page at https://www.patreon.com/wphlive


Missoula, MT, WPH Press, 1/25/19

Day 1: Friday

The 2019 R48 8 Montana Red Death marked the 52nd event in the history of the Race 4 Eight tour and second Montana Red Death R48 event. The 2019 R48 Montana Red Death featured the top eight pros on the R48 Men’s Pro tour, with the “Elite 8” ranked R48 pros joined by 18 qualifier hopefuls, to include R48 #9 and SR48 #2 Marcos Chavez, R48 #10 Shorty Ruiz, current collegiate national champion Leo Canales, Jr., Irish and USHA junior national champion Sean Kerr, and a number of top stars from across the world.

Qualifier Choice Blind Draw

The eight Red Death qualifiers picked numbers out of a hat held by Red Death tournament director Sean Sandeau to determine the order in which the players selected their round of 16 opponent. R48 #9 Marcos Chavez drew the #1 card and selected LAAC teammate Vic Perez, despite having lost his last four R48 matches against Perez. First-time qualifier Sean Kerr selected Emmett Peixoto with the #2 pick and Max Langmack chose Mando Ortiz with the #3 pick. “This qualifier choice makes the draw so much fun,” exclaimed WPH Lifetime Achievement Award winner Lance Wachholz.

Killian Carroll dominated top collegiate star Tyer Stoffel on Friday’s first main draw match, allowing just six points in two games. “I played ok, I just couldn’t return his serve in the second game,” lamented Stoffel.

Sean Lenning rallied from 10-12 in game one but lost 28 of the next 33 points to trail 3-13 in game three. Seemingly out sorts and out of the match, Lenning capitalized on a Ruiz back wall error at 13-3 to start his comeback. In just four minutes, Lenning had erased the deficit and advanced to the quarterfinals. “Sean stepped up his game but Shorty missed some chances,” stated WPH play-by-play announcer Dave Vincent. “I thought Shorty was going to win, even at 10-13, but Sean did just enough “Sean” things to win it.”

David Fink won the battle of Tucson and the battle of bad backs, overcoming Tucson rival Abraham Montijo in two games.

Luis Cordova trailed Juarez teammate Leo Canales, Jr. 7-11 in game one when Lucho executed a diving, back-handed flat kill to begin a streak of eight straight points to end game one. Lucho continued his strong play in game two, advancing to his fourth quarterfinal of the season.

Danos Cordova raced to a 10-0 lead in game on against Lake Forest rival Jonathan Iglesias before Iglesias nearly tied Danos with a nine-point streak. “Danos was just hitting the ball so hard and I couldn’t get used to the pace,” stated Iglesias. Iglesias failed to capitalize on two offensive opportunities at 9-10 and found himself trailing 14-9. A second first-game comeback fell short, as Danos took game one, 15-12. Danos took control in game two, advancing to his fourth quarterfinal of the season.

In matchup of the largest height disparity in pro handball history, Mando Ortiz played his best handball in 12 months, trouncing 2019 Illinois State champion Max Langmack in two quick games. “I wanted to jump on him and not allow him to get any momentum,” stated Ortiz.


Emmett Peixoto welcomed Irish junior prodigy Sean Kerr to the R48 tour with a two-game thumping, never allowing the 20-year-old into the match. Peixoto’s steady percentage style bewildered the former U.S. and Irish junior national champion, as Peixoto returned to the quarterfinals for the first time since November’s Tucson Memorial. “Emmett just looks really prepared for this tournament and really fit,” stated WPH broadcast color analyst Nick Flores.

Round of 16

Carroll def Stoffel 15-6, 15-0

Lenning def Ruiz 15-12, 2-15, 15-13

Cordova def Canales, Jr. 15-11, 15-7

Cordova def Iglesias 15-2, 15-6

Fink def Montijo 15-8, 15-4

Ortiz def Langmack 15-7, 15-3

Peixoto def Kerr 15-2, 15-3

Perez def Chavez 15-11, 6-15, 15-4

Round of 8 (Saturday) (Times Mountain) (Watch on Patreon.com/wphlive)
10am  Carroll vs. Fink 
11am  Cordova vs. Ortiz
12pm  Lenning vs. Perez
1pm Cordova vs. Peixoto
Men’s 9th Place Playoff
2pm semifinal TBD
3pm semifinal TBD
Men’s Pro Elite Semifinal
4pm Upper Bracket Semifinal TBD
5pm Lower Bracket Semifinal TBD

For more info on the 2019 Montana Red Death and to follow the brackets go HERE

’19 Montana Red Death Broadcast Schedule on WPH Patreon: Saturday, January 26, 10 am-7 pm MST, Sunday, January 27, 10 am-1:30 pm MST. Become a WPH Patreon HERE

Lucho Cordova on the Rise HERE

The Flying Cordovas: From Juarez Bros to R48 Pros HERE

2018/19 Race 4 Eight Preview HERE

2017/18 R48 and WR48 Match Analytics HERE

Handball Terminology + Instruction and R48 Rules HERE

Race 4 Eight Pro Player Bios HERE

WPH Power Rankings HERE

DF’s R48 Fun Facts and Trends HERE

Race 4 Eight History of Champions and Finalists HERE

WPH RACE 4 EIGHT: The World Players of Handball’s 2018/19 Race 4 Eight 8 Powered by ESPN features R48 stops in Georgia, Arizona, Oregon, Montana, Louisiana, and California, all culminating with The Player’s Championship in Utah in May of 2019. Similar to NASCAR’s Nextel Cup and the FedEx PGA Playoffs, players earn points in the Race 4 Eight’s regular season stops to qualify for the season-ending Player’s Championship and bonus prizes.

For more information on the WPH Race 4 Eight, please contact World Players of Handball Executive Director David Vincent at dave.vincent@wphlive.tv or World Players of Handball Development Director David Fink at david.fink@wphlive.tv. For more information on the World Players of Handball, please visit wphlive.tv

Support the WPH and inspiring the next generation of players by becoming a WPH Patreon. Enjoy never before seen videos, pro commentary, special awards, Sports Casts archives and new episodes, live broadcasts, and much more. Become a WPH Patreon HERE

David Fink

WPH Senior Writer

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