R48, WR48 and SR48Pro stars arrived at the famed New York Athletic Club for the R48’s second-ever stop in the Big Apple. The R48 IV’s NYAC field was finalized on Friday morning, as the final 16 qualifiers played for the final eight spots in the 16-man R48 main draw. “This day is now known as Upset-Friday, around these parts,” says WPH Event Director, Dave Vincent. “I guess it’s good to shake things up, but losing three of the bottom bracket’s four named-players [three of four Elite Eight Members] really shakes the rankings and will eventually mold who gets the invite to Salt Lake City.”
The Qualifier Finals
Colin Crehan (18) survived his second consecutive thrilling qualifier finish, defeating Abraham Montijo 25-23 to become the youngest qualifier in R48 history. Daniel Cordova overcame Adam Bernhard, Stephen Cooney dominated Kevin Kopchuk and Anthony Selestow defeated Isaac Acosta to qualify. Mike Schneider shocked four-time R48 IV qualifier Luis Cordova, rallying from a 9-17 deficit to win 25-21 to qualify for the first time this season. Vic Perez easily defeated Tyree Bastidas, Jon Iglesias defeated Ciaran Neary and Andy Nett outlasted Erik Torres in his first start of the R48 IV season, serving 14 aces in his 25-18 victory.
The R48 Round of 16: Upset Friday
Andy Nett shocked WPH R48 #2 Luis Moreno, defeating “The Natural” for the first time in his career in two close games, 15-13, 15-13. “Nett’s serve is like nothing I’ve ever seen,” revealed WPH lead play-by-play analyst Dave Vincent. Vincent was known for having a devastating serve of his own, should know one when he sees one. “Nett followed that amazing fade-away reverse to the right with a left handed first strike that was on verses his often doubles partner.” Nett will face fellow Cinderella Story Colin Crehan in Saturday’s quarterfinals. Crehan dropped game one to WPH R48 #5 David Fink in just four minutes, but took a 12-4 lead in game two, fought off a match point at 14-15 and won a riveting tiebreaker 15-13. The winner of the Crehan vs. Nett clash will earn his first trip to a R48 semifinal.
Paul Brady cruised past Vic Perez in two games and will face the Mando Ortiz in Saturday’s quarterfinals. Ortiz defeated the NYAC’s Mike Schneider in two games. Brady and Ortiz played for the first time at last year’s NYAC Race Stop, with Ortiz proving that he could hang with the world’s best. Ortiz delivered the upset of the R48 III season when he defeated Brady at last season’s Player’s Championship in the pair’s last encounter. “San Francisco was a wakeup call for me,” revealed Ortiz in reference to his poor showing at last month’s Olympic Club stop. “I’m ready for this tournament.”
Emmett Peixoto made short work of Anthony Selestow and will face longtime rival Naty Alvarado in Saturday’s quarterfinals. Alvarado was impressive after a five-month hiatus from the R48 tour in his 22-minute destruction of WPH #8 Stephen Cooney. “I’ve never seen Naty serve like that,” stated Luis Cordova after watching Alvarado serve 16 aces in two games and many more near aces against Cooney.
Sean Lenning easily defeated Daniel Cordova and will face the NYAC’s Jonathan Iglesias in Saturday’s quarterfinals. Iglesias survived a two hour and 25 minute battle against Marcos Chavez in a back-and-forth match that saw both players gain and lose the momentum on multiple occasions. “I had him (Iglesias) 7-1 in the tiebreaker and I was only able to score three more points,” revealed a dejected Chavez after his loss.
Women’s Opening Round:
Catriona Casey retains her #1 seed with a first round bye; instead opting to help ref and run the WPH tournament desk for TeamWPH. Yvonne August took down Jean Kasamoto in a very entertaining 15-12, 15-2 clash that brought hints of the former national champion back to center-court. August will now face Casey at 9am Saturday.
Aoife McCarthy advanced to the quarters and will square off against former Canadian National and Collegiate National finalist, Maria Dugas. McCarthy looked very sharp in her showing against Amelia DeSardi in the rd of 16. The McCarthy vs Dugas round of eight match will take place at 9:30am.
Martina McMahon looked very impressive when she defeated Shirley Chen 15-1, 15-3; in the 16’s on Friday. She will now take on current Women’s Classic champ, and local standout, Danielle Daskalakis [bye] at 10:45am this morning (Sat).
Current collegiate open finalist, Ciana Ni Churraoin, got past Leslie Amminson in two straight. 18 year old Churraoin, whose got the hardest name we’ve had to type, spell and announce, will now go up against Jessica Gawley at 10am to kick off the broadcast on ESPN and the WatchESPN App.
“To sum up the women’s opening round-to-quarters,” chirps Vincent. “…two Americans, two Canadians and four Irish players remain and we expect some upsets, blowouts and instant classics today.”
To watch 10 hours of R48, WR48 and SR48 action on Saturday, March 14th, go to ESPN & the WatchESPN App (Direct Link to the ESPN Handball Page): All Times Eastern
Women’s Round of Eight on ESPN & WatchESPN App
10:00am – Ciana Ni Churraoin (IRE) vs Jessica Gawley (CAN)
10:45am – Danielle Daskalakis (USA) vs Martina McMahon (IRE)
Men’s Round of Eight on ESPN & WatchESPN App
11:30am – Colin Crehan (IRE) vs Andy Nett (USA)
12:15pm – Sean Lenning (USA) vs Jon Iglesias (CRC)
1:00pm – Naty Alvarado (MEX) vs Emmett Peixoto (USA)
1:45pm – Paul Brady (IRE) vs Mando Ortiz (USA)
Women’s Semifinals on ESPN & WatchESPN App
2:30pm – Catriona Casey (IRE) or Yvonne August (USA) vs Aoife McCarthy (IRE) or Maria Dugas (CAN)
3:00pm – Jessica Gawley (CAN) or Ciana Ni Churraoin (IRE) vs Martina McMahon (IRE) or Danielle Dasalakis (USA)
Senior Semifinals on ESPN & WatchESPN App
3:30pm – Danny Armijo (HON) or TBD vs Andy Rousseau (USA) or Danny Bell (CAN)
4:15pm – Chris Watkins (USA) or Kevin Kopchuk (CAN) vs Andrew Schad (USA) or Denis Gringras (CAN)
Men’s Pro Semifinals on ESPN & WatchESPN App
5:00pm – Paul Brady (IRE) or Armando Ortiz (USA) vs Naty Alvarado (MEX) or Emmett Peixoto (USA)
5:45pm – Colin Crehan (IRE) or Andy Nett (USA) vs Sean Lenning (USA) or Jon Iglesias (CRC)
WPH All Access Pass Holders, unable to get the ESPN feed? Contact us: firstname.lastname@example.org
The world’s best 4-Wall handball players will be in action in quarterfinal and semifinal action. Don’t miss a shot! To follow all of the scores and upcoming matches from all of New York’s divisions, go HERE>
by David Fink – WPH Senior Writer; additional commentary from Dave Vincent