The 67th USHA Four Wall Nationals – Saturday’s Wrap
Fountain Valley, CA, WPH Press, 7/1/17- The United States Handball Association is proudly hosting the 67th USHA National Four-Wall Championships at Los Caballeros in Fountain Valley, CA, featuring the top men’s and women’s pro superstars and the top master’s and junior handball players in the country. Defending men’s champion and WPH R48 #1 Killian Carroll and 10-time USHA National Four-Wall Men’s Pro Champion Paul Brady headline the men’s pro field, while defending champion and WPH WR48 #1 Catriona Casey headlines the women’s field alongside living women’s handball legend Tracy Davis. Don’t miss any of the semifinal and finals match-ups in the men’s and women’s pro singles, as well as bonus coverage of the men’s pro doubles and men’s pro big ball singles and doubles, continuing Sunday, July 2nd at http://www.youtube.com/weplayhandball.
Men’s Pro Final: Carroll vs. Brady
Defending champion and WPH R48 #1 Killian Carroll and 10-time USHA National Four-Wall Pro Singles Champion Paul Brady collided for the second consecutive year in the men’s pro singles final, with the pair staging the match of the century in last year’s final. Carroll was aiming to repeat and announce himself as the game’s next dominant champion, while Brady was seeking his record-tying 11th USHA Four-Wall Pro Singles Championship and to prove that he is still the best in the sport. Carroll and Brady had faced one another four times in R48 history, with Brady winning three, including their last encounter at the WPH R48 NYAC in March. By defeating Brady in last year’s final. Carroll became the first player since 2004 to defeat Brady in consecutive tournament matches since 2004.
Carroll dispelled the notion that he was a slow starter, taking an early lead by defending Brady’s power and devastating serve and executing kills when given the opportunity. “You have to visualize playing Paul all year because he is so powerful and so athletic,” stated Carroll after the match. “He is the most consistent of the pros and can run off points very quickly.”
Carroll led 11-7 20 minutes into the first game, a far cry from the 2-20 deficit he faced after 20 minutes in last year’s final. The pair traded incredible shots while burning a tremendous amount of energy to keep rallies alive. Brady took his first lead at 16-15 and eventually led 18-16. A Brady error on the 13th shot of the 18-16 rally from just 10-feet from the front wall halted his momentum. Brady proceeded to make three consecutive inexplicable errors to cede his advantage to Carroll. Carroll would eventually lead 20-18, setting the stage for two of the greatest rallies in handball history. With Carroll serving for the game at 20-19, a 40-shot rally ensued, with both players on the deck three times and Brady ultimately closing out the rally with an underhand over-the-top fist kill. Brady would cut the deficit to 19-20, but Carroll forced a side out to serve for the game a second time. The second game point was the most dramatic of the event, with Carroll ultimately recovering from four dives to end the game with a kill. “That is definitely one of the best rallies I’ve ever seen,” stated WR48 #1 and WPH color analyst Catriona Casey.
With game one under his belt, Carroll’s confidence soared in game two, while Brady’s legs appeared heavy. Carroll built an early lead by demonstrating his full arsenal of back wall, fly, underhand and corner kills, demoralizing the 10-time national champion and cruising to his second consecutive national title.
“Paul is one of, if not the greatest player of all time and to beat him for this title is a great accomplishment,” stated Carroll.
Final: Carroll def Brady 21-19, 21-6
Women’s Singles Semifinals
WPH WR48 #1 and two-time defending USHA Four-Wall Pro Women’s Singles Champion Catriona Casey cruised to the final in the women’s pro singles upper bracket and continued her assault on the record books, defeating Tucson’s Dr. Ashley Moler in two games. Casey continued to amaze in her semifinal win with her sensational blend of consistency, anticipation, power and shot making. Casey improved upon her 4.3:1 points ratio during the 2016-2017 WR48 season by outscoring her two opponents thus far in this event by a ratio of 42:1.
Second-seeded Tracy Davis was sharp in the bottom bracket, defeating veteran Jennifer Schmitt for the second time in three months to advance to her first national 4-Wall final. “I’m feeling really good,” stated the ageless Davis, who was voted “Fittest Pro” by her Race 4 Eight peers this season. “I’m looking forward to tomorrow’s final.”
Casey def Moler 21-2, 21-0
Davis def Schmitt 21-6, 21-3
Men’s Doubles Semifinals
Top-seeded and defending champions Marcos Chavez and Sean Lenning split lopsided games with Ireland’s Joe McCann and Ricky O’Gara, forcing a dramatic tiebreaker. The teams traded the lead throughout the decider, with both teams appearing to have the momentum at various times. Ultimately, the clutch shot making of Chavez/Lenning prevailed, as the best buddies advanced to the final.
The bottom bracket semifinal was an all LAAC affair, as Race 4 Eight top 10’ers Mando Ortiz and Vic Perez faced 11-time national 3-Wall singles champion Vince Munoz and top master’s standout Carlos Chavez. Team Ortiz/Perez dropped game one to their veteran opponents but rallied to dominate the next two to advance to the final.
Chavez/Lenning def McCann/O’Gara 8-21, 21-12, 11-9
Ortiz/Perez def Munoz/Chavez 18-21, 21-8, 11-0
Final: Chavez/Lenning vs.
Men’s Big Ball Singles
Top-seeded Sal “The Wizard” Duenas continued his march to a big ball slam in the singles semifinals, disposing of Stockton’s Manuel Chavez in two games, while Anaheim’s Gabino Velazquez ousted Christian Salcedo in two games less than 24 hours after surviving an 11-10 classic against Antonio Chavez in the opening round.
Duenas def M. Chavez 21-17, 21-13
Velazquez def A. Chavez 21-7, 21-14
Final: Duenas vs Velazquez
To track all of the results from Los Caballeros, go here