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Tucson, AZ, WPH Press, 11/4/18-
Day 3: Sunday
Sunday featured the conclusion of one of 2018’s best events, as the R48, WR48, and SR48 pros battled in The Memorial finals and playoffs, while juniors and amateur players were also in action on Championship Sunday.
R48 Men’s Pro Final
Sean Lenning announced that he would be winning the 2018 Tucson Memorial when he stepped foot on the facility at the Tucson Racquet Club and fulfilled his prediction on Sunday, dictating play and never allowing Carroll into the match. Lenning raced to a 9-1 lead in game one, surged again after a Carroll rally that cut his deficit to one, then finished off the game with a three-point flurry in 36 seconds.
Lenning did not take his foot off the gas in game two, hitting the ball so crisply and low that even the game’s fastest superstar couldn’t retrieve. Lenning hit eight of his 17 ace serves in game two, neutralizing the game’s best returner and winning his third Memorial title.
“I am really happy right now,” exclaimed an ecstatic Lenning. “I heard my mom cheering over all of the other fans with my bear cub senses. Usually I’m a tough critic on my game, but I can’t complain about how I played today.”
“Sean’s serve was just condensing on the ground because he was hitting the ball so hard and with so much spin,” stated Carroll.
Daniel Cordova dominated Emmett Peixoto to defeat “The Rock” for the second consecutive event after losing in their first 11 encounters to win fifth, while Shorty Ruiz completely dismantled the Olympic Club’s Loren Collado to win ninth. Adam “Weekend at Bernie’s” Bernhard won three back-to-back matches to claim 17th, including a dramatic victory against one of the tour’s rising stars Max Langmack.
3rd: Fink/L. Cordova
5th: D. Cordova
11th: R. Fernandez/Stoffel
13th: Canales Sr./Canales Jr./Cooney/Montijo
Casey vs. Ni Churraoin
Catriona Casey was aiming for her 16th WR48 title on Championship Sunday, while CNC was appearing in her second WR48 final and seeking her first title. Casey took control in the first game, winning the majority of the long rallies by pushing CNC into the back corners to take a one-game lead.
CNC played more aggressively to start game two, hitting the ball harder and dictating play from the center of the court to take a 7-1 lead. CNC maintained her advantage throughout the game, leading 9-8 after a Casey run, then eventually leading 13-10. CNC was unable to capitalize on an offensive opportunity that would have given her match point, then unraveled to allow Casey to serve for the match at 14-13. CNC tied the game at 14, but two more unforced errors sealed CNC’s fate, as Casey hoisting The Memorial trophy for the first time.
“I was telling myself to just go for my shots and play aggressively,” stated Casey to ESPN reporter Kara Mack. “We both made a lot of mistakes in the second game but I’m thrilled to win.”
“I suppose I was pressing a bit at the end but it was still better than our match in Minnesota two months ago,” stated CNC. “I’ll go back to Minnesota and work on my footwork and fitness and look forward to the next stop.”
Final: Casey def Ni Churraoin 15-7, 16-14
Tracy Davis outlasted Ashley Moler in a battle of two of the top American stars in the third place playoff, scoring the last three points of the match to win 25-23. Leslie Amminson notched her best ever WR48 finish, winning fifth place with a close victory against former top five WPH Women’s Jennifer Hinman.
2nd: Ni Churraoin
Fink vs. Chavez
David Fink entered the SR48 final having won two of last season’s three SR48 stops, playing Chavez in the finals of all three. Fink and Chavez met for the fourth consecutive SR48 final on Sunday, with Fink aiming to end a two-match R48/SR48 losing streak to his Race 4 Eight rival.
Fink seized control of the math against a sluggish Chavez in game one, needing just eight minutes to take a one-game lead.
Chavez played with more intensity and fire in game two, hitting several of his patented revolving door kills to take a 4-1 lead. Fink scored nine of the next 11 points to take a 10-6 lead, only to see his lead vanish with five consecutive Chavez points in one inning. Fink regained the serve at 10-11 and never looked back, starting his five-point streak with a 32-foot right-handed flat mouse and adding an unreturned serve and three more kills to clinch the first stop of the 2018/19 SR48 tour season.
“I knew Marcos would play better in game two and he did,” stated Fink. “You can never count Marcos out because he can take over a match at any moment with his incredible serve and back wall acumen.”
Fink def Chavez 15-2, 15-11
Tyler Hamel completed his comeback with an impressive third place playoff victory against Leo Canales, Sr., overcoming a 7-11 deficit to win 25-14 against the oldest pro (52) in R48 Men’s history. George Garcia, Jr. overcame Joe Harris to finish in fifth.
4th: Canales, Sr.
5th: Garcia, Jr.
7th: Jasso/D. Bardwell
JR WPH Singles
The 2018 showcased junior handball, with several dozen junior players from Tucson, Phoenix, El Paso, and Juarez demonstrating passion for the game and outstanding sportsmanship in the JR WPH singles.
Future R48 star Andres Cordova won the 17-and-under singles, defeating Phoenix’s Jesus Castillo in the final. Sebastian Canales completed the Juarez junior singles sweep in the 19-and-under singles, defeating Phoenix’s Rodrigo Silva in the final.
Thank you to junior coaches Abraham Montijo (FLF), Drft Fernandez (JR WPH Juarez), Chris Hogan (PHX), and Dan Willeford (ASU) for bringing their teams to the 2018 Tucson Memorial.
“The juniors are the highlight of the event,” stated WPH Development Director David Fink. “While the pros inspire the juniors, it’s the juniors that inspire the pros and the rest of tournament players.”
So many people made the 2018 Tucson Memorial one of the best handball events in history. The tireless efforts of Dave Vincent, Lolita de Vincent, Carlos Villegas, Ana Villegas, Steve Soto, Scott Cleveland, Shorty Ruiz, Ashley Moler, Tricia Fink, Jeff Healam, Brenda Hays, Jeff Healam, Conflicted Jim, Abraham Montijo, Kris Gurrad, Linda Manning, Che Lowenstein, Kara Mack, and so many more made this year’s Memorial one that no one will ever forget.
Watch 2018 Tucson Memorial replays ESPN3 HERE
Follow all of the brackets and results from the 2018 Tucson Memorial HERE
WPH Senior Writer
WPHLiveTV continues it’s LIVE coverage of #TheMemorial from Tucson, Arizona, as ESPN3 & WatchESPN App will show matches beginning at 12noon (eastern), 10am Tucson Time. Go to http://www.watchESPN.com for viewing options, or download the WatchESPN App and watch on your smart device! Here’s a direct Link to Sunday’s ESPN Video: http://www.espn.com/watch/_/id/3452274/handball-memorial-open–wph-race-for-eight-pro-tour-stop-2
Sunday, November 4th, 2018
10am Men’s Senior 40+ Final – David Fink (AZ) Ranked #1 vs Marcos Chavez (CA) Ranked #2
1045am Women’s Pro Singles Final – Catriona Casey (IRE) Ranked #1 vs Ciana Ni Churraoin (IRE) un-ranked
1145am Men’s Elite Pro Final – Killian Carroll (IRE) Ranked #1 vs Sean Lenning (WA) Ranked #2
Tucson, AZ, WPH Press, 11/3/18-
Day 2: Saturday
An outstanding first day of handball set the stage for “Super Saturday” at the 2018 Tucson Memorial mega-event, as the R48 Men’s Pro, WR48, and SR48 pros battled for spots in Sunday’s championship matches. Nearly 200 amateur, skill level, and junior players played alongside their Race 4 Eight heroes, also aiming for spots on Finals Sunday.
R48 Men’s Pro
The R48 Men’s Pros dazzled the most enthusiastic and passionate handball galleries in North America with three scintillating tiebreakers.
R48 #5 David Fink faced R48 #4 Danos Cordova in the quarterfinals with the winner to play R48 #1 Killian Carroll in the semifinals. Cordova was “en fuego” in game one, using a power hop serve to setup left and right-hand fly kills in the front court.
Fink turned the tables in game two. Locating his serve-and-shoot game to force a tiebreaker.
Fink continued his second-game momentum in the tiebreaker, building a 7-1 lead, only to see Danos find his second wind and tie the score at nine. Four consecutive side outs at nine-all left the pair still tied. Fink made a commitment to play more aggressively on his sixth serve at nine, finding the bottom board with his right hand on three consecutive rally-ending shots to take a 12-9 lead. With Cordova serving at 9-12, Danos slipped in the service box, falling down and giving Fink an easy return winner. Fink stretched the lead to 14-9 and finished the match on his second match point. “Danos beat me both times we played last year and he’s definitely one of the most difficult opponents I’ve ever played,” stated Fink. “Danos pushes me to the limit every time we play. Danos is definitely the future of the sport.”
Carroll faced Fink later that evening in the semifinals, aiming to regain his dominance on the tour after a semifinal loss in Atlanta four weeks ago. With Carroll leading 1-0 in game one, Flash crashed his head into the left side wall at full speed, rendering him dizzy and completely out of sorts. Carroll was cleared to continue by the WPH medical team, promptly serving two aces after the injury timeout. Fink took control of the game from there, scoring eight consecutive points to take a 9-4 lead. Fink dumped an easy setup into the ground from the short line that would have given him the tenth point and watched helplessly as Carroll scored 11 consecutive points to win game one.
Carroll continued to dominate the action in game two, building a 9-1 lead and seemingly just minutes from the final. Fink regained control by neutralizing Carroll’s serve and executing offensive opportunities, scoring 14 of the next 17 points to force a tiebreaker.
Carroll jumped out to a 9-1 lead once again in the third game, using a perfectly placed power serve to the left and right to earn setups and points. Trailing 4-14, Fink started his charge, scoring points on deep corner kills and back wall kills. Fink stalled at nine, as Carroll closed out he match on his third attempt.
In the bottom bracket, Sean Lenning overcame game point in the first game of his quarterfinal showdown with sharpshooter Mando Ortiz and cruised in game two, while R48 8 Atlanta champion Lucho Cordova dominated Emmett Peixoto to meet Lenning in the bottom bracket semifinals.
The first game of the Lenning/Cordova semifinal produced several dramatic momentum swings and six lead changes. Lenning dictated play early, taking a 9-1 lead. Cordova charged back, scoring 13 of the next 14-point to serve for the game at 14-10. Lenning earned a side out and cracked three ace serves and a kill to tie the game, then added another ace and kill in overtime to complete the comeback. “Lucho was really in a groove during his streak but Sean came in and hit those aces and kills and was able to make the big comeback,” stated Marcos Chavez.
Lucho was in complete control in game two, building a big lead and maintaining the advantage to force a third. Lucho appeared to have the momentum early in the tiebreaker, but Lenning seized the momentum with his serve, power, speed, and kills. Lenning led 13-7 in front of a frenzied gallery, inspiring another Cordova surge. Cordova scraped his way to within two, but was then not awarded an avoidable when Lenning was moving across his shot and was called for a questionable avoidable on the next play. Lenning appeared to have won the match with an ace at 14-11, but the video replay revealed the ball was on the line. Having to put his gloves back on, Lenning calmly ended the match on the next rally to book his spot in the final. “That’s three straight tiebreaker losses to Sean in the semifinals,” lamented Cordova.
Carroll def Perez 15-4, 15-7
Lenning def Ortiz 17-15, 15-8
Cordova def Peixoto 15-5, 15-4
Fink def D. Cordova 5-15, 15-5, 15-10
Carroll def Fink 15-9, 12-15, 15-9
Lenning def L. Cordova 16-14, 6-15, 15-11
R48 Final (Sunday): Carroll vs. Lenning
Catriona Casey was nearly flawless in her quest for her 16th WR48 title, allowing just four combined points en route to the final. Casey’s Irish rival Ciana Ni Churraoin demonstrated that she is back from knee surgery, overcoming Canada’s Leslie Amminson in the quarterfinals and the U.S. living legend Tracy Davis in the semifinals.
Casey def Fadden 15-0, 15-0
Davis def Byrd-Jackson 15-3, 15-6
Ni Churraoin def Amminson 15-1, 15-0
Moler def Hinman 15-2, 15-4
Casey def Moler 15-3, 15-1
Ni Churraoin def Davis 15-9, 15-1
WR48 Final (Sunday): Casey vs. Ni Churraoin
Top-ranked SR48 pro David Fink cruised to the final, allowing just two combined points in the quarterfinals and semifinals. “I was excited to play Leo Canales Sr. because I watched him play some great handball over the past few months and we’ve never played,” stated Fink. “I got into a groove and executed all of my shots.”
Marcos Chavez rebounded from his shocking qualifier loss to overcome first-time SR48 pro David Bardwell in a tiebreaker in the quarterfinals and played his best handball of the event in defeating Tyler Hamel in the semifinals. “It’s great to see Tyler playing and traveling to Tucson to compete on the SR48,” stated Chavez. “The SR48 is such a great vibe and we have a great time playing one another.”
Fink def Jasso 15-0, 15-2
Chavez def D. Bardwell 15-10, 15-17, 15-4
Hamel def Harris 15-9, 15-5
Canales, Sr. def Garcia, Jr. 15-10, 10-15, 15-13
Fink def Canales Sr. 15-0, 15-0
Chavez def Hamel 15-8, 15-7
SR48 Final (Sunday): Fink vs. Chavez
JR WPH Clinic
WR48 superstars Catriona Casey and Ciana Ni Churraoin led a special Q&A session for a number of enthusiastic youngsters on Super Saturday at the 2018 Tucson Memorial, detailing their growth in the sport, their passion for the game, how they prepare to play in pro events and much more. The WR48 superstars then fielded questions from the awestruck junior players.
“The juniors were really interested in the types of drills and practice we do to improve,” stated first year Sports Psychology student at Mankato State and former WR48 finalist Ni Churraoin. “Catriona and I also discussed our tournament preparation and what makes handball so special.”
Thank you to Catriona and Ciana for inspiring the next generation of players and providing an opportunity for the youngsters to develop and understanding of what it takes to become a world-class athlete.
Saturday night BBQ
Players were treated to an outstanding Saturday night BBQ, hosted by Don Curry and Fred Lewis. Virtually every pro player was on hand to enjoy incredible food and camaraderie, while reliving all of the weekend’s great matches. Thank you to Don Curry and Fred Lewis for working tirelessly to make Saturday night one of the most special events of the year on tour.
Watch the Tucson Memorial live on Sunday, November 4, starting at 10 am PST on ESPN3 HERE
Editor’s Note: To watch the LIVE action on ESPN for Saturday, go here: https://goo.gl/QT7nCv …Sunday’s ESPN direct Link: https://goo.gl/hf7tAw
Tucson, AZ, WPH Press, 11/2/18- Day One Has Upsets; Juarez, Mexico Shines!
Day 1: Friday
The 2018 Tucson Memorial marked the 50th event in the history of the Race 4 Eight tour, with the tour spanning 16 states in the R48’s first eight seasons. The 2018 Tucson Memorial features the largest prize purse of the 2018 handball season ($50k), with the top R48 Men’s pros, Women Race 4 Eight, and Senior Race 4 Eight (40+) pros vying for one of the sport’s most prestigious prizes. The Tucson Memorial was created in 2015 to honor handball friends and family who were sadly lost, a tradition that has evoked wonderful memories of handball players and fans who spent their lifetimes playing and supporting in the sport.
R48 Men’s Qualifier
2017 JR WPH Coach of the Year Ricardo “Drft” authored one of the R48 qualifier’s largest upsets, defeating R48 #9 and the top seed in the qualifier Marcos Chavez. Fernandez led 15-13 at the half and refused to wilt in the second half, staying aggressive en route to a 24-19 lead. 15 shots into Drft’s first match point, the JR WPH Coach of the Year attempted a cross-court left-hand right corner kill that traveled straight into the side wall at the short line. “I was just so tired and nervous on that point and I felt a cramp in my side,” stated Drft. Chavez hit a blistering ace on his next serve but Fernandez earned a side out on the next rally and qualified for the first time with a right-hand kill.
Shorty Ruiz had little difficulty overcoming former L.A. sparring partner Dylan Hernandez to qualify for a record 10th consecutive event, while Stephen Cooney and Loren Collado were dominant into ousting George Garcia, Jr. and Adam Bernhard, respectively.
Collegiate All-Americans Tyler Stoffel and Max Langmack faced one another for a spot in the main draw, with Stoffel making his first tournament start in 13 months following right shoulder surgery. Stoffel played with composure and guile against his 6’8 rival, easily moving into the main draw for the first time since the R48 7 Atlanta.
Leo Canales, Jr, needed a dramatic comeback for the second consecutive qualifier to reach the main draw. Canales, Jr. trailed John Wayne Cortez 3-18 in Atlanta four weeks ago before winning in overtime, 26-24. Canales, Jr. trailed Jonathan Iglesias 19-24 in today’s match, holding off five match points to tie the score at 24. Iglesias would serve for the match again at 25-24, but Canales tied his Lake Forest College alumnus at 25 and completed the sensational comeback by scoring the next two points to stun the Colorado handball ambassador.
Drft Fernandez def Chavez 25-20
Ruiz def Dylan Hernandez 25-11
Stoffel def Langmack 25-12
Montijo def Bowler 25-17
Canales Jr. def Iglesias 27-25
Cooney def Garcia Jr. 25-7
Collado def Bernhard 25-8
Canales Sr (direct entry via 2018 Tucson Pre Qualifier)
R48 Round of 16
The Elite 8 cruised in the round of 16 for the second consecutive event on the R48 8 season, with each of the Elite 8 dominating their qualifier counterparts in lopsided matches. Juarez accounted for five of the 16 players in the main draw, a R48 record, while also featuring the first father-son duo (Canales Sr, Canales Jr.) in pro stop history. “The only other time a father and son appeared in the round of 16 in the same pro event was the 1992 Nationals in Lansing, MI with Naty Sr. and Naty Jr.,” stated USHA Executive Director and handball historian Vern Roberts.
Unfortunately for Juarez, four of the players played one another, with Lucho Cordova defeating Leo Canales, Sr. and Danos Cordova defeating Drft Fernandez. David Fink defeating the final Juarez qualifier, current collegiate national champion Leo Canales, Jr.
Emmett Peixoto was steady in ending Tyler Stoffel’s comeback event, Killian Carroll returned to his winning ways in eliminating the Olympic Club’s Loren Collado, Vic Perez defeated an injured (back) Abraham Montijo, and former R48 #1 Mando Ortiz defeating his outdoor doubles partner Shorty Ruiz, all in two games.
R48 Round of 16 Finals
Carroll def Collado 15-6, 15-5
Lenning def Cooney 15-3, 15-11
Cordova def Canales, Sr. 15-6, 15-8
Cordova def Drft Fernandez 15-6, 5-3
Fink def Leo Canales, Jr. 15-9, 15-6
Peixoto def Stoffel 15-3, 15-8
Perez def Montijo 15-5, inj fft
Ortiz def Ruiz 15-8, 15-7
R48 Round of 8 Matchups (Saturday)
Carroll vs. Perez
Cordova vs. Fink
Cordova vs. Peixoto
Lenning vs. Ortiz
WR48 Round of 16
The 2018/19 WR48 season kicked off on Friday with several outstanding round of 16 matches. Former top 5 WPH Women’s pro Jennifer Hinman battled 1990’s collegiate All-American Beth Blackstone in one of the day’s best matches, with “The Hin” escaping 15-13 in the tiebreaker.
Ireland’s Rebecca Mulholland served for the match at 14-7 in the third game against Fred Lewis Foundation star Kena Byrd-Jackson, only to watch helplessly at KBJ earned the best victory of her career, scoring nine unanswered points to stun the smooth-swinging Mulholland.
Aimee Fadden continued to demonstrate her outstanding improvement, defeating Fred Lewis Foundation resident southpaw Belisa Camacho in two games. Former WR48 finalist Ciana Ni Churraoin returned to the tour after a 19-month break for knee surgery to defeat first-time WR48 participant Kyra Vidas, while Canada’s Leslie Amminson overcame Fred Lewis Foundation’s Sophie Della Croce.
Fadden def Camacho 15-11, 15-12
Hinman def Blackstone 15-4, 9-15, 15-13
Ni Churraoin def Vidas 15-6, 15-1
Amminson def Della Croce 16-14, 15-8
Byrd-Jackson def Mulholland 15-4, 15-17, 16-14
WR48 Round of 8 Matchups (Saturday)
Casey vs. Fadden
Moler vs. Hinman
Ni Churraoin vs. Amminson
Davis vs. Byrd-Jackson
The 2018/19 SR48 tour kicked off its season with round of 16 action on Friday. All of the SR48 top eight seeds advanced, with only the four-time SR48 Player’s Champion Marcos Chavez needing a tiebreaker. “After the first game Mando pulled me aside and was yelling, ‘what are you doing in there’,” stated Chavez. “I came back to dominate the next two games.”
SR48 Round of 6
Canales Sr. def J. Bardwell 15-8, 15-4
Garcia Jr. def Flores 15-1, 15-3
Hamel def J. Aranda 15-5, 15-6
Bardwell def Henning 15-0, 15-5
Chavez def Negrete 8-15, 15-2, 15-0
The SR48 will feature several “popcorn” matches on Saturday, to include George Garcia, Jr. facing Leo Canales, Sr., Joe Harris facing Tyler Hamel, and Marcos Chavez facing the world’s fittest man, Dave Bardwell.
SR48 Round of 8 Matchups (Saturday)
Garcia Jr. vs. Canales Sr.
Harris vs. Hamel
Chavez vs. D. Bardwell
USHA Referee’s Clinic
James Bardwell led a spirited USHA Referee’s Clinic for 16 tournament players, including six Race 4 Eight pros, discussing the rules and interpretations to certify referees. Thank you to James Bardwell, Vern Roberts, and Matt Krueger for the outstanding clinic.
Watch the Tucson Memorial live on Saturday, November 3, starting at 10 am PST on ESPN3 HERE
Tucson Memorial R48 8 Stop #2 Press Release HERE
Tucson Memorial ’18 Broadcast Schedule on ESPN3: Saturday, November 3, 10 am-7 pm PST, Sunday, November 4, 10 am-1:30 pm PST
2017/18 R48 and WR48 Match Analytics HERE
Handball Terminology + Instruction and R48 Rules HERE
Race 4 Eight Pro Player Bios HERE
Full Race 4 Eight 8 Preview HERE
WPH Power Rankings: here
DF’s R48 Fun Facts and Trends: here
Race 4 Eight History of Champions and Finalists: here
TO WATCH LIVE GO TO http://www.WATCHESPN.COM
(Select Channel ESPN3, Search for Handball) Download the WatchESPN App and cast to your TV from your smart device! Details at http://www.WatchESPN.com.
Tucson, AZ, WPH Press, 10/29/18
The 2018 Tucson Memorial marks the 50th event in the history of the Race 4 Eight tour, with the tour spanning 16 states in the R48’s first eight seasons. The 2018 Tucson Memorial will feature the largest prize purse of the 2018 handball season ($50k), with the top R48 Men’s pros, Women Race 4 Eight, and Senior Race 4 Eight (40+) pros vying for one of the sport’s most prestigious prizes. The Tucson Memorial was created in 2015 to honor handball friends and family who were sadly lost, a tradition that has evoked wonderful memories of handball players and fans who spent their lifetimes playing and supporting in the sport.
Check out all of the important 2018 Tucson Memorial Tournament information below:
2018 R48 8 Stop #2 Tucson Memorial
Tucson Memorial ’18 Broadcast Schedule on ESPN3: Saturday, November 3, 9 am-6 pm PST, Sunday, November 4, 10 am-1:30 pm PST
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