Sunday Finals & Tournament Wrap
Sunday in Minnesota featured the Race 4 Eight and Senior Race 4 Eight number one stars in action seeking their second LAAC slam in less than a year.
Race 4 Eight Final: Ortiz vs. Fink
Mando Ortiz faced David Fink in the Race 4 Eight final, marking Ortiz’s eighth R48 final and Fink’s first. The pair are separated by 11 years but have been playing one another since 2008. Ortiz and Fink have always played close matches and this final would be no different. Ortiz was on fire in game one, finding the bottom board from everywhere on the court with both hands. “Mando can just do no wrong at this point,” stated Ortiz supporter Shorty Ruiz from the front row.
Fink made several adjustments in game two, building a 6-2 lead to curtail Ortiz’s momentum. “I wasn’t playing badly in game one but Mando was just making a lot of great shots,” Fink would later say. “I changed the speed and hook on my serve and that was enough to throw off Mando’s timing and allow me to get quick points and rhythm.” Fink maintained his lead with deep court kills and timely aces, ultimately forcing the tiebreaker, 15-8.
Ortiz regained his white-hot streak in the decider, jumping to a 10-4 lead in the final game to 15. Seemingly just minutes from his second Race title, Fink rattled off five straight points in less than 90 seconds to pull within one. “I really felt like it was my match to win at that point,” stated Fink. Ortiz called a timeout and earned a side out and scored three quick points to take a 13-9 lead. A mishit Fink kill shot attempt at 13-9 led to an Ortiz re kill and a final kill shot sealed the title and the #1 R48 ranking for Ortiz. “I really can’t believe I reached #1,” stated Ortiz at the victory party he hosted after the event. “I always dreamed growing up of beating Tati, Vince, and Chapman and being number one and now that it has happened I just can’t believe it. It’s hasn’t sunken in yet.”
Final: Ortiz def Fink 15-4, 8-15, 15-9
Andy Nett rebounded from a one-sided loss to Mando Ortiz in the quarterfinals by defeating Daniel Cordova and Luis Moreno to win fifth in his first Race 4 Eight start in more than a year, while Marcos Chavez defeated Jonathan Iglesias in his eighth match of the weekend to claim ninth.
Minnesota R48 Finishes
3rd: Peixoto/L. Cordova
7th: D. Cordova/Lenning
R48 Updated Power Rankings (12-month rankings)
1st: Ortiz/Brady (42)
3rd: Lenning (35.5)
4th: Carroll (33)
5th: Fink (23)
6th: Moreno/Peixoto (21.5)
8th: D. Cordova/L. Cordova (16.5)
R48 6 Points Standings (U.S. Open & Minnesota)
1st: Ortiz (18)
2nd: Fink/McCarthy/Peixoto (10)
5th: Lenning (8.5)
6th: L. Cordova (8)
7th: D. Cordova/Moreno (7)
Senior Race 4 Eight Final: Chavez vs. Alvarado
Marcos Chavez and Naty Alvarado renewed their contentious rivalry in Minnesota’s Senior Race 4 Eight final and it didn’t take long for the controversy to flare up in Minnesota. Chavez and Alvarado argued a double-bounce on the second point of the match, with the argument spilling into the gallery and the broadcast booth. Alvarado would eventually build a commanding 12-4 lead before inexplicably relinquishing the lead with errors and erratic play. Chavez tied the score at 13 and closed out the game with two back wall kills. “I talked to Dave Chapman about playing Naty and he told me to use the lob, so that’s what I started doing,” stated Chavez. “I just tried to play like Chapman and it worked.”
The second game was a formality after Alvarado’s first game collapse, as Chavez cruised to his second SR48 title of the season and fifth title in his last six SR48 starts.
Final: Chavez def Alvarado 15-13, 15-11
Senior Race 4 Eight Minnesota Finishes
Senior Race 4 Eight Power Rankings (Post Minnesota)
1st: Chavez (20)
2nd: Alvarado (16)
3rd: Armijo (12)
4th: Watkins/Repine (5)
6th: Johnson (4)
7th: Bell/Jensen/Garcia/Gustafson/Jasso (3)
Thank you to the University of Minnesota Handball Club, The WPH staff, and all of the players and volunteers who made the Minnesota Race stop an outstanding event.
To watch the R48 and SR48 from Minnesota replays ESPN3, go here
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Sunday Broadcast Schedule: All Times Central
Watch on ESPN3 & WatchESPN App
10:00am: Naty Alvarado vs Marcos Chavez (Senior 40+ Final)
10:45am: David Fink vs Mando Ortiz (Men’s R48Pro Final)
11:30am: Jon Iglesias vs Marcos Chavez (Men’s 9th Place Final)
Chilly outdoor temperatures gave way to white hot play inside the University of Minnesota Recreational and Wellness Center, as the top stars on the Race 4 Eight tour battled in quarterfinal and semifinal action. In between the quarterfinals and semifinals, the Race 4 Eight stars coached one of the Race 4 Eight’s largest JR WPH clinics for juniors players.
Race 4 Eight
Round of 8
David Fink entered his match against Luis Moreno 0-5 in Race play and 0-14 in tournament play. Moreno looked comfortable early, building a 6-0 lead with outstanding fly kills and passes. Fink worked his way into the game, eventually tying the score at eight before Moreno scored three straight to lead 11-8. Fink got the hot hand in the service box, reeling off four straight aces after a side out to take his first lead at 12-11. Three kills following the aces earned Fink the first game, 15-11. The pair played closely in game two, with neither Race 4 Eight star able to separate himself by more than three points. Fink took a 12-9 lead and held on for his first win against “The Natural.” “It felt great to finally beat a Luis, who has been my nemesis for so many years,” Fink would later say. “The match was so tough and it’s great to move into the semifinals.”
Sean Lenning entered the quarterfinal against Luis Cordova in search of his first semifinal of the season, and after a slow start in game one, appeared to be on his way. Lenning scored 15 of the final 16 points of game one to seize control. Cordova would battle in game two, picking up nearly every one of Lenning’s kills and passes, ultimately wearing down the Race 4 Eight #2 in a dominant game two win. Cordova continued to control the action the tiebreaker to earn his first trip to a Race semifinal. “I’m so happy to beat Sean for the first time in the main draw,” stated Cordova. “It was never easy, even with the big lead in the tiebreaker. I just kept telling myself to go for my shots.”
Emmett Peixoto and Daniel Cordova played the longest match of the tournament in the third quarterfinal, with both superstars laying it all on the line for a chance to play in the semifinals. Cordova took a close first game in close to an hour, but Peixoto changed his game in the second, evening the match at one game apiece. Peixoto continued to apply pressure in the tiebreaker, keeping Cordova in the back court and off-balance to prevail. “I just tried to keep Daniel in the back court, even if it was a back wall setup,” stated Peixoto. “When he was in the back court, I was in the rally.”
Mando Ortiz quickly prevented a hometown Cinderella Story in the final quarterfinal of the day, blitzing the former Race 4 Eight finalist in two lopsided games. “I felt a bit sluggish in there,” stated Ortiz. “His serves weren’t really coming off and I just controlled the action.”
Ortiz def Nett 15-1, 15-2
Peixoto def D. Cordova 13-15, 15-8, 15-3
Fink def Moreno 15-11, 15-11
L. Cordova def Lenning 7-15, 15-8, 15-6
David Fink and Luis Cordova met in the first semifinal, with the winner assured of playing in his first Race final. Cordova started quickly, building a 4-0 lead in a match that saw both pros flying and diving all over the court, desperately trying to earn their first finals birth. Fink tied the score at 10, only to see Cordova seemingly take command at 13-10. A timeout from Fink changed the momentum, and Fink returned to score the final five points of the game to steal a one game lead. Although fatigued, Fink continued to apply pressure in game two, building a 12-5 and 14-6 lead. Fink closed out the match on his second attempt with a right-hand rollout. “I’m too tired to be emotional,” stated Fink after his first Race 4 Eight semifinal win in eight attempts. “I’m really excited to play in the final tomorrow.”
Mando Ortiz continued to dominate in the second semifinal, never allowing Peixoto into the match. Ortiz raced to a 14-1 lead in game one and did much of the same in game two in dismantling “The Rock” to advance to his eighth Race 4 Eight final. “My advantage is the pace I put on the ball,” stated Ortiz. “Serve and shoot is my game and that’s what I’ll try to do tomorrow.”
Fink def L. Cordova 15-13, 15-6
Ortiz def Peixoto 15-3, 15-4
Final: Ortiz vs. Fink
Junior WPH proudly hosted an instructional clinic for the University of Minnesota junior program, with youngsters between the ages of 8-16 learning from WPH Coaches David Fink, Vic Perez, and Ashley Moler. After practicing the sidearm kill and competing in a “lowest kill” competition, the youngsters played doubles points with the Race 4 Eight stars. “This is just so great for the kids,” stated University of Minnesota junior Coach Mitch. “To hear from the pros and get a chance to play points with them is what it’s all about.”
Marcos Chavez and Naty Alvarado continued on their eventual collision course in Minnesota, with both advancing to the Senior Race 4 Eight Minnesota final in straight sets wins. “I think Naty has the advantage in this one,” stated Chavez. “I’m playing in three divisions and he’s only in one.” The final between the rivals will be a can’t miss affair…it always is.
Chavez def Repine 15-8, 15-6
Alvarado def Armijo 15-3, 15-13
Final: Chavez vs. Alvarado
Stay tuned to this thread for updates throughout the weekend. To watch the R48 and SR48 from Minnesota finals, starting on Sunday at 10 am cst live on ESPN3, go here
Saturday’s LIVE broadcast, by WPHLiveTV & WatchESPN (Channel ESPN3) begins at 10am Central Time. You can see all the smart devices that air the WatchESPN App HERE> What is WatchESPN? Where can I see the brackets for the Handball Players? The WPH raises all money for filming and broadcasting on ESPN, plus funds the professional handball tour. Please consider purchasing a membership and show your support of the WPH. The World Players of Handball is a 501(c)3 Non-Profit Foundation, surviving on your donations, membership purchases and merchandise proceeds. Enter the WPHLiveTV Web Store HERE>
ESPN Broadcast Schedule – Saturday, November 18th, 2016
Men’s Pro Quarters:
10am David Fink (AZ) vs Luis Moreno (AZ)
11am Sean Lenning (AZ) vs Luis Cordova (MEX)
12pm Daniel Cordova (TX) vs Emmett Peixoto (CA)
1pm Andy Nett (MN) vs Armando Ortiz (CA)
Senior 40+ Men’s Semis:
2pm Upper Bracket TBD – Marcos Chavez or Chris Iverson vs George Repine or Mike Gustafson
3pm Lower Bracket TBD – Naty Alvarado or John Stoffel vs Dan Armijo
Men’s Pro Semifinals:
4pm Lower Bracket TBD
5pm Upper Bracket TBD
Minnesota Race 4 Eight 6 Stop #2 Daily Updates
The Race 4 Eight kicked off its first Race stop in Minnesota on Friday with an outstanding qualifier field, featuring hometown hero and NYAC ’15 finalist Andy Nett, Senior Race 4 Eight #1 Marcos Chavez, top 15 Race 4 Eight stars Vic Perez and Anthony Selestow, and a group of hungry young guns from Minnesota State University and Kansas.
The Minnesota qualifier featured one of the most exciting Friday qualifier mornings in Race 4 Eight history, complete with upsets and incredible drama. Top-seeded Vic Perez survived a scare from Northern California’s Anthony Collado, overcoming the youngster 25-23. “Neither of us had a lead of more than three points in the entire match,” stated Perez after the 70-minute classic. Marcos Chavez led 15-13 at halftime against junior star and Minnesota State freshman Luis Bustos and scored 10 straight in the second half to advance to the main draw.
Third-seeded and 15-time qualifier Anthony Selestow was the first upset victim of the morning, falling to Lake Forest College’s Leo Canales to earn Canales his first trip to the main draw at 21 years old. Fourth-seeded Dalton Beall led 14-9 before Ryan “Depeche Mode” Pesch rallied, outscoring the five-time defending Oregon state champion 16-6 in the final 22 points of the match to qualify for the first time and join Adam Bernhard as the only attorneys ever to be ranked on the Race 4 Eight.
Fifth-seeded Abraham Montijo faced a 15-5 first half deficit before rallying to tie the score at 20 against Loren Collado. Four-straight 30+ shots rallies went the way of Montijo, giving him the momentum to close out the match. Shorty Ruiz had little difficulty overcoming Mathias Longhorst to qualify for the first time this season. Minnesota State All-American Tyler Stoffel qualified for the first time, knocking off top 35+ Master’s star Carlos Chavez. Former Race 4 Eight Elite 8 staple Andy Nett cruised in his qualifier final, defeating Max Langmack.
Perez def A. Collado 25-23
Chavez def Bustos 25-13
Canales def Selestow 25-21
Pesch def Beall 25-20
Montijo def L. Collado 25-20
Ruiz def Longhorst 25-5
Stoffel def Chavez 25-21
Nett def Langmack 25-4
Round of 16
The Race 4 Eight has experienced unparalleled parity in the past 12 months, featuring five different winners in the last seven events. Mando Ortiz nabbed the #1 seed for the first time in his Race 4 Eight career on the heels of a spectacular Race 4 Eight 5 season and finals appearance at the 2016 Simple Green U.S. Open. Ortiz would be in search of his eighth Race 4 Eight final and second title. Sean Lenning entered Minnesota as the #2 seed and in search of his seventh career Race 4 Eight title. The rest of the Race 4 Eight Elite Eight set their sites on becoming the sixth different Race 4 Eight champion in eight events.
Top-seeded Mando Ortiz quickly dismissed first-time qualifier Leo Canales in two games, while second-seeded Sean Lenning needed to make second half comebacks in both games against Vic Perez to advance. Stranded in the airport overnight and not arriving until 30 minutes before his match, Lenning found himself down 10-7 in both games before finding the game that has made him a six-time Race 4 Eight champion in overcoming Perez.
Luis Moreno blitzed Senior Race 4 Eight #1, Marcos Chavez, while fourth-seeded Emmett Peixoto was electric in taking down Ryan “Depeche Mode” Pesch in two games. Fifth-seeded Daniel Cordova was relentless in defeating Tyler Stoffel in two games, while David Fink also skated past WPH Outdoor superstar Shorty Ruiz in two games.
Seventh-seeded Luis Cordova matched up against junior and Southwestern rival Abraham Montijo in a rivalry that started more than 10 years ago. Cordova dropped game one in overtime, 16-14, but raised his level in the second and third games, advancing to the quarterfinals for the second time in his last three R48 starts. Eighth-seeded Jonathan Iglesias drew the qualifier’s most dangerous name, Andy Nett. Iglesias led 12-10 in game one until Nett caught fire, scoring five straight points on three aces and two kills to take a one-game lead. The second game was also close, with Nett pulling away late to advance to the round of eight.
Round of 16 Results
Ortiz def Canales 15-2, 15-4
Nett def Iglesias 15-12, 15-11
D. Cordova def Stoffel 15-2, 15-4
Peixoto def Pesch 15-4, 15-1
Moreno def Chavez 15-2, 15-6
Fink def Ruiz 15-4, 15-11
L. Cordova def Montijo 14-16, 15-9, 15-11
Lenning def Perez 15-10, 15-12
Stay tuned to this thread for updates throughout the weekend. To watch the Saturday action from Minnesota starting at 10 am CST live on ESPN3, go here> and please share!
WPH Senior Writer