Missoula, MT, WPH Press, 1/28/18– The R48 7 Red Death concluded on Sunday, with the R48 Playoffs, R48 Final, and Pro-am doubles taking center stage at one of the R48’s best events in history.
Finals: Carroll vs. Ortiz
Killian Carroll and Mando Ortiz met for the third time this season and second time in a final. Carroll entered the final with a 4-3 head-to-head advantage in R48 play and rode a two-match winning streak against Ortiz into the final.
Carroll took control of the match with a dominating serve, striking eight aces to take a 12-6 lead in game one. Ortiz called a timeout and stunned Carroll by scoring nine consecutive points to take game one. “I just kept telling myself that I’ve been here before and to not give up,” stated after Ortiz after the match. “I know I’m streaky and I can score points. Once I scored two or three points, my confidence went up and I was able to take the first.”
Carroll regrouped in game two, never allowing Ortiz into the game and running away with the game in just nine minutes to force a tiebreaker.
Carroll continued to dictate play in the tiebreaker, leading 10-4 and arriving at match point at 14-7. Following three dives, Carroll earned a right-hand setup to win the match on the 19th shot of the rally. Carroll’s right-hand kill shot attempt just missed, giving Ortiz life. Ortiz scored four consecutive points and momentarily seized the momentum. Carroll regained the side out with a kill shot and clinched his third R48 title of the season on the next rally.
Carroll def Ortiz 12-15, 15-3, 15-11
Luis Cordova shifted from the Pro-am final to the 5th place final and seized a 9-1 lead against Vic Perez. Perez regrouped, scoring 14 of the next 17 points to take a 15-12 lead at halftime. Perez continued to outplay Cordova, serving for the match at 24-18. Perez earned a back wall setup on the fifth shot of the rally to win the match, but narrowly missed, handing the serve to Cordova. Cordova served seven straight points in one inning before Perez finally regained the serve at 24-25. Perez gave Cordova a back wall opening on a second serve, which Cordova killed to in the right corner to serve for the match. Cordova found the right crack for an ace to complete the improbable comeback. “I started off well because I was warmed up from the doubles and Vic was cold but he crushed me for the rest of the first half,” stated Lucho. “I just wanted it at the end and it feels really good.”
- Cordova def Perez 26-24
Peter Funchion claimed 9th with an impressive win against the Olympic Club’s Loren Collado, taking a 15-7 halftime lead and fighting off a second half Collado surge to win 25-18.
Funchion def Collado 25-18
5th: L. Cordova
10th: L. Collado
11th: Bowler/D. Cordova
Luis Cordova teamed with Lance Wachholz to win four matches, including an impressive two-game sweep against Danos Cordova and Kirk Johnson. “This was a really fun division and Lance and I had a really time playing,” stated Luis, who snagged the most prize money of any player at the Red Death, combining his R48 and Pro-am doubles earnings. “I always try to play as many divisions as possible because I just love to play.”
The Red Death was one of the best events in R48 history, largely due to the incredible Red Death staff of tournament directors and volunteers. Thank you to Red Death tournament director and 2018 WPH Community Builder recipient Sean Sandau, Abraham Montijo, Shorty Ruiz, Ashley Moler, Pete Papathemetrios, Nick Flores, Red “The Nub” Jolliffe, Linda Manning, Che Lowenstein, Jeff Kastner, Kris Gurrad, Peak Health and Wellness, Paradise Falls, and all who made the Red Death a huge success. See you in Montana next year!
To follow all of the brackets and results from the 2018 R48 7 Red Death, go here
To watch replays of the Red Death matches on ESPN3, go here
WPH Senior Writer
Missoula, MT, WPH Press, 1/27/18- Handball players and fans poured into Missoula’s Peak Fitness Center for an action-packed day of handball, featuring the R48 quarterfinals and semifinals, R48 playoffs, a JR WPH Clinic, and a special award for Red Death tournament director Sean Sandau.
R48 Round of 8
Killian Carroll and Luis Cordova met for the first time in R48 play since squaring off in the 2017 R48 6 Player’s Championship final. Carroll owned a 3-0 R48 head-to-head record against “Lucho” and quickly extended his streak to 4-0 with a 25-minute thrashing of the Juarez prodigy.
Carroll def L. Cordova 15-0, 15-4
Sean Lenning and Diarmaid Nash met for the first time in a scintillating matchup of contrasting styles. The matchup lived up to its advance hype and more, as the two played one of the most exciting and memorable matches in R48 history. Nash took game one and appeared to be on the verge of a two-game sweep, leading 13-8 in game two. Lenning found his game on the brink of elimination, scoring the final seven points of the game to force a third. “I find that anything can happen in a game to 15,” stated Nash. “You can have a six-point lead but three aces and your opponent in right back in the game.”
Just as he had in game two, Nash led 13-8 in game three, standing two points from closing out the match for the second consecutive game. Lenning fought back, tying the score at 13. Nash served for the match at 14-13, but Lenning earned a side out with a sensational punch re kill from his knee. Lenning earned match point at 15-14 and the match appeared to be over when Nash hit the front wall-back wall, giving Lenning a setup from just four feet from the front wall. Needing only to hit the ball down the left to win the match, Lenning hit himself with the ball, giving Nash life. “That’s just what I do on match point,” laughed Lenning after the match. “It’s always something and I just expect it.”
Lenning and Nash would both serve for the match twice more, with each superstar staying alive with clutch side outs. Lenning would close out the match on his fifth attempt, serving an ace at 18-17 to win the longest overtime third game in R48 history.
Lenning def Nash 8-15, 15-13, 19-17
LAAC teammates Mando Ortiz and Marcos Chavez faced off for the first time in R48 play in 11 months, where Chavez became the first qualifier to defeat a #1 seed in the round of 16 in R48 history in February of 2017 in Houston. Ortiz was ruthless in game one against his mentor, crushing the 43-year old Chavez, 15-0. Chavez worked his way into the match in game two, playing evenly with Mando to trail by just one at 8-9. Ortiz found another gear, serving and shooting his way to six unanswered points and a semifinal birth.
Ortiz def Chavez 15-0, 15-8
David Fink met Vic Perez for the eighth time in R48 play, with Fink holding a 6-1 edge on the Southern California star. Fink started hit against Perez, locating his serve to the left and right and executing kills with both hands when given the opportunity. With Fink leading 15-5, 12-3, the end appeared just moments away. Undaunted, Perez scored 11 consecutive points to serve to force a tiebreaker at 14-12. “I made one or two errors and Vic started making everything,” stated Fink. “When he gets hit, there is no stopping him.” Fink stopped Perez’s rally with a 30-foot right-handed kill in the left corner, fought off another game point at 13-14, and closed out the match at 16-15 with a right hand kill.
Fink def Perez 15-5, 17-15
Carroll vs. Lenning
Killian Carroll continued his mastery against the best players on the R48, tracking down nearly all of Lenning’s best shots and killing the ball with tremendous consistency en route to a two-game sweep and a third consecutive finals appearance in three R48 7 events
Carroll def Lenning 15-3, 15-8
One of the R48’s greatest rivalries added another chapter on Saturday night, as Ortiz and Fink staged a classic. Fink took command midway through game one, scoring eight of the final 10 points of the game with power serves and bottom board kills. Fink and Ortiz traded haymakers in game two, with neither R48 star able to separate himself by more than two points midway through the game. Fink led 10-8 when Ortiz caught fire, killing the ball from virtually everywhere on the court to force a third game. Fink raced to a 4-0 lead in the third game with two ace serves and two first-strike kills, but Ortiz started finding the bottom board from everywhere to build a 12-5 lead. “I was putting him in the back corners with 3-Wall wrap shots and he was killing nearly every one of them,” stated Fink. “There really wasn’t much I could do when Mando was rolling the ball from 38-feet.
Ortiz led 13-7 when Fink appeared to have one last push. Two quick points closed the gap to 9-13, but a Fink error from just three feet from the front wall halted any comeback plans, as Ortiz booked his spot in his second final this season.
“That was definitely the match of the tournament,” stated Red Death head referee Shorty Ruiz. “The gets, the kills, and the shots were just great to watch.”
Ortiz def Fink 8-15, 15-10, 15-9
Finals (Sunday): Carroll vs. Ortiz
WPH Master Instructor David Fink hosted an exciting junior clinic for youngsters attending the Red Death tournament, with the youngsters having an opportunity to enjoy some court time at one of the country’s best handball events. Coach Fink taught the sidearm stroke, the serve, and organized a rally game to conclude the clinic. “Having fun is the most important aspect of playing handball,” stated Coach Fink. “If you are having fun, you will improve, and the better you get, the more fun handball becomes.”
The WPH was proud to honor Red Death R48 tournament Sean Sandau with the 2018 WPH Community Builder Award, recognizing Sandau’s commitment, passion, and enthusiasm for growing the game of handball in Montana. “Sean is the type of guy who does it all to make handball grow,” stated WPH Executive Director Dave Vincent. “Sean organizes tournaments, rallies local support, finds sponsors, makes the game fun, picks people up at the airport, and just does it all. He’s also one of the greatest guys you could ever meet. The WPH is incredibly proud to honor Sean for his tremendous efforts and accomplishments in growing the sport.”
To follow all of the brackets and results from the 2018 R48 7 Red Death, go here
Sunday’s LIVE Broadcast on ESPN (All Times Mountain)
1000am – Peter Funchion (IRE) vs Loren Collado (CA) – Men’s 9th Place
1045am – Luis Cordova (GA) vs Vic Perez (CA) – Men’s 5th Place
1130am – Killian Carroll (IRE) vs Mando Ortiz (CA) – Men’s Final
Pro/Am Doubles – If Time Permits to follow men’s final (TBD)
Watch with ESPN HERE: http://www.espn.com/watch/_/id/3245533/the-red-death–wph-race4eight
Missoula, MT, WPH Press, 1/26/18- The Race 4 Eight hosted in first event in Montana on the final weekend of January, with the Red Death event selling out within hours of the application going live. “We are so excited to be hosting the best players in the world and for our Montana handball community to have a chance to watch and play alongside our handball heroes on the Race 4 Eight tour,” boasted Red Death tournament director Sean Sandau.
Play kicked off on Friday morning with a loaded qualifier draw that featured Luis Moreno, Diarmaid Nash, Abraham Montijo, Shorty Ruiz, and many more. Following the qualifier, the Race 4 Eight Elite 8 faced the eight qualifier winners.
R48 #2 Luis Moreno declined his Elite 8 invite to the Red Death, but opted to compete several weeks after declining. Moreno became the highest ranked pro to ever enter a qualifier, while also playing in his first R48 qualifier. Moreno trailed Washington’s Pete Svennungsen 5-15 at the half , tied the scored at 19, but down 19-23 after Svennungsen reeled off four straight points from 19-all. Svennungsen pushed Moreno to the back corner, on the ensuing rally, but a rocket from Moreno down the right wall earned “The Natural” a side out. Svennungsen would serve three more times but fail to score again, as Moreno escaped. “I felt really good,” stated Svennungsen. I’ve been playing a lot of handball and I’m happy with how I played. Luis just hops the ball so much during the rally that it was hard to ever really be set.”
Ryan Pesch was aiming to qualify for the third consecutive event and looked be on his way, leading Loren Collado 22-18. Collado turned the tables, scoring the final seven points of the match to qualify for the second time. “I had the lead at halftime and he (Ryan) just got hot and got up. I regained control and pulled it out.”
In the matchup of “Killer B’s,” Ryan Bowler played sensational ball to oust Dalton Beall and stay in the R48 top 30.
In the remaining qualifier matches, Jonathan Iglesias overcame hard-hitting Michael Gaulton, Red Death ambassador Abraham Montijo cruised past Washington’s Fred Schoener, Shorty Ruiz ousted Steven Stenberg, Ireland’s Peter Funchion qualified for the second consecutive event by defeating Scottie Moler, while current Irish National champion Diarmaid Nash qualified for the first time in two years against former junior star Pete Papathemetrios.
Moreno def Svennungsen 25-23
Iglesias def Gaulton 25-16
Montijo def Schoener 25-7
Ruiz def Stenberg 2511
Funchion def S. Moler 25-7
Nash def Papathemetrios 25-4
Collado def Pesch 25-22
Bowler def Beall 25-16
The eight qualifiers drew numbers out of a hat, with the corresponding number dictating the order in which they chose their Elite 8 opponents. Ryan Bowler picked the number one, selecting Marcos Chavez, Jonathan Iglesias drew number two and selected Vic Perez, Loren Collado drew number three and selected David Fink, while Diarmaid Nash picked the number four and chose Daniel Cordova. Funchion selected Luis Cordova, Ruiz selected Mando Ortiz, Moreno chose Sean Lenning, and Montijo was left with Killian Carroll.
R48 Round of 16: Overtimes and Tiebreaker Friday
The Red Death’s R48 round of 16 produced a number of thrilling overtime games and tiebreakers, as enormous Montana galleries filled Missoula’s Peak Fitness Center to catch a glimpse of the world’s best handball players.
David Fink bounced back from a first round loss at the Tucson Memorial by defeating the Olympic Club’s Loren Collado in two. “It’s very hard to sit on a first round loss for two months,” stated Fink. “It feels great to advance.”
Shorty Ruiz raced to a 9-0 first game lead against Mando Ortiz, with Ruiz poised to make his first R48 quarterfinal. Ortiz would rally with two-handed offensive fireworks, eventually serving for the game at 15-14. A hand error turned the serve over to Ruiz, who capitalized by scoring three straight points to take a one-game lead. Game two was close throughout, with the players reaching their fourth tie of the game at 12-12. Standing just three points from his biggest R48 win, Ruiz was unable to close the door, dropping the final three points of the game on the heels of two Ortiz kills and an ace. Ortiz took control in game three, taking a 10-0 lead and serving for the match at 14-7. Ortiz missed his favorite shot, a left hand setup from the short line, opening the door for Ruiz. Ruiz scored six consecutive points in one inning and narrowly missed a right-handed fly kill to send the game into overtime. Ortiz advanced with a first strike kill on the next rally. “I just felt tentative in there,” stated Ortiz. “I just couldn’t get my feet in a good position. Shorty played great though.”
Marcos Chavez was clinical in eliminating Ryan Bowler, taking the top-ranked Canadian on several dozen tours of the court en route to a two-game sweep.
Sean Lenning appeared rusty in game one against 10-time R48 champion Luis Moreno, making nine errors en route to a one-game deficit against “The Natural.” Lenning righted the ship, locating his serve and sensational kills to defeat Moreno for the second consecutive event. “I haven’t been playing too much, just an exhibition match a couple of weeks ago,” stated Lenning.
Former Lake Forest College roommates met for the third time in in less than a year, as Jonathan Iglesias faced seventh-seeded Vic Perez. Iglesias took an 8-2 lead in game one, but was unable to maintain his advantage, losing a 38-minute game-one in overtime, 16-14. Iglesias started hot in game two as well, leading 6-0 before falling flat, losing to Perez for the third consecutive time in the main draw.
Irish National champion Diarmaid Nash met nextgen star Daniel Cordova in one of the day’s marquee matches. The pair played to a standstill for much of game one, dazzling the huge Missoula galleries with diving retrieves, deep court kills, and ace serves before Cordova broke through to serve for the game at 14-12. Cordova was unable to capitalize on two left-handed opportunities from the short line, skipping the setups to allow Nash back into the game. Nash served for the game at 15-14 and after a 15-shot rally, Cordova mishit a left-handed ceiling shot to drop game one. Nash seized the momentum in game two and cruised to the quarterfinals.
Top-seeded Killian Carroll faced Tucson’s Abraham Montijo in the night’s first primetime match and took control early, building a 9-2 lead and never looking back en route to a one-game lead. The Pride of Tucson pushed the R48 #1 in game two, tying the score at eight before the Cork man scored seven of the final nine points of the match to advance.
Luis Cordova took an early morning flight on Friday, flying across the country to play his late evening round of 16 match against Ireland’s Peter Funchion. Funchion defeated former R48 #2 Emmett Peixoto in his last R48 start and was aiming for his second consecutive R48 quarterfinal. Funchion’s bid for a second career R48 quarterfinal started promisingly, as Funchion grabbed game one. Cordova rallied in game two with his unique brand of offensive and steady handball to force a tiebreaker. Cordova continued to outduel Funchion in game three, advancing to his third consecutive R48 quarterfinal of the season.
Round of 16
Carroll def Montijo 15-5, 15-10
Fink def L. Collado 15-4, 15-2
Ortiz def. Ruiz 15-17, 15-12, 15-13
Lenning def Moreno 7-15, 15-6, 15-6
Nash def D. Cordova 16-14, 15-1
Chavez def Bowler 15-7, 15-10
Perez def Iglesias 16-14, 15-11
Cordova def Funchion 10-15, 15-10, 15-8
R48 Round of 8 Matchups (Saturday: all times mst)
Lenning vs. Nash 1:30 am
Ortiz vs. Chavez 10:45 am
Fink vs. Perez 10 am
17th Place Playoff
Ryan Pesch set aside his qualifier final loss to Loren Collado by winning the 17th place playoff, defeating Michael Gaulton, Pete Papathemetrios, and Pete Svennungsen.
To follow all of the brackets and results from the 2018 R48 7 Red Death, go here
To watch Saturday’s matches live on ESPN3, starting at noon est, go to the direct ESPN3 link here
WPH Senior Writer