Salt Lake City Aces R48 V Stop #6 + WPH Outdoor V Stop #4: Sunday Recap
The World Players of Handball and Salt Lake City’s sensational handball community produced another memorable Aces event and living up to its advanced billing as the “Player’s Stop.” Players and fans were treated to outstanding hospitality and a spectacular banquet, while the action on the court produced fireworks and outrageous handball.
Race 4 Eight Finals
Paul Brady and Sean Lenning met for the second time this season and the first in a final, with Brady winning their first R48 V encounter in a tiebreaker in the semifinals of the 2015 Simple Green U.S. Open. Lenning came into the final playing the best handball of the event, having defeated his three opponents by a combined score of 90-25. Brady suffered several lapses entering the final, as he trailed 1-11 in the second game of his quarterfinal match and 2-7 in the second game of his semifinal match.
Lenning started strong in game one, taking a 5-2 lead before hitting himself with the ball on the ninth shot of the rally. Lenning never scored again, as Brady scored 13 consecutive points to take a one-game lead. Lenning took an early lead in game two but unlike in game one, Lenning stretched his early lead to a 15-4 blowout to even the match at one-game apiece. Brady returned from the break between games a different player, applying constant pressure and taking a 7-0 lead. Lenning never recovered, as Brady cruised in the second half of the third game to clinch his first title in Salt Lake City 15-5, 4-15, 15-5.
“Sean is so difficult to play because he has such fast hands and hops,” stated Brady in his post match interview with ESPN’s Kara Mack. “I’m still making too many errors and there’s no excuse for that. I can relax a little bit in Portland (at the R48 V Player’s Championship) and just win a couple of matches but I’ll be training for the next nine weeks in preparation for the Nationals.”
Race 4 Eight Playoffs
David Fink defeated Emmett Peixoto for fifth place for the second consecutive year in Salt Lake City, outlasting his good friend in a one-hour, one-game match. Luis Moreno defeated Luis Cordova in the battle of Luis’ for 9th, avenging an earlier season loss to Cordova in New Orleans.
Race 4 Eight Finishes
7th: Perez/D. Cordova
10th: L. Cordova
13th: Selestow/Pe. Funchion/Ruiz/Carroll
Juan Santos defeated his OC rival Alfredo Morales in the first WPH Outdoor semifinal of the morning, sweeping “El Hombre” in two games. The bottom bracket semifinal featured SR48 #1 and R48 top 20 pro Marcos Chavez playing in his first WPH Outdoor singles final against the #1 1-Wall player on the planet and the WPH Outdoor V Stop #3 (last week) singles and doubles champion Timbo Gonzalez. Chavez and Gonzalez played the longest and one of the best matches of the Salt Lake City Aces event, battling for 90 minutes in a three-game thriller. With the score tied at 3 in game one, Chavez scored 18 consecutive points to take a 15-3, 6-0 lead. Gonzalez rallied, scoring 15 of the final 19 points of the second game to force a third game. The momentum shifted several times in the third, with both players appearing to be in control at different moments. Two crucial errors from Gonzalez with the score tied at eight ceded the momentum to Chavez for good, as the 42-year old scored seven of the final nine points of the match to advance to the final.
Santos was in control throughout the final, using his creativity and sensational finesse to overwhelm Chavez in the two-game sweep. Santos clinched his second title of the Chino Hills Ford WPH Outdoor V season and is in position to defend his fourth WPH Outdoor Player’s Cup title in the Race 2 Vegas. Santos, Gonzalez, Morales and the rest of the WPH Outdoor stars will be in Las Vegas in May for the fifth stop of the WPH Outdoor V season.
Thank you to the incredible Ace Disposal family for hosting an incredible Salt Lake City Aces event. Ace Disposal ensured the all of the players and fans were well fed throughout the weekend, and players and fans enjoyed a spectacular banquet at the Ace Disposal headquarters. Special thanks to Lon Stalsberg, Matt Stalsberg, Sonny Roberts, Ruben Garza, Gary Scoggin, Ted McManus, Dave Vincent, David Fink, Lolita de Vincent, Kris Gurrad, Linda Manning, Ben Manning, Matt Titaino, Tom Flores, Javi Flores, Juan Santos, Marcos Chavez, Timbo Gonzalez, and all volunteers that made the Aces event so special.
The live ESPN3 Salt Lake City Aces broadcast can be seen on-demand here.
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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.
WPH Senior Writer