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Missoula, MT, WPH Press, 1/27/19
Day 3: Sunday
Sunday at the 2019 R48 Red Death featured three matches, all with important ranking implications. 44-year old Marcos Chavez was vying to become the oldest Elite 8 member in the eight-year history of the tour, Mando Ortiz was seeking his best R48 finish in one year, and Killian Carroll was aiming for his first title of the season and to maintain his standing atop the R48 Power Rankings.
Final: Carroll vs. Lenning
With the #1 R48 ranking on the line, Killian Carroll and Sean Lenning staged a classic at the Red Death, playing at a sensationally high level from the first point of the match and maintaining that level throughout the one-hour and 50 minute affair.
Carroll and Lenning traded the lead four times in a grueling first game, with the momentum seemingly shifting with each incredible rally. With the score tied at 12, Lenning took control of game one with two left-handed back wall kills from the deep court, taking a one-game lead. “You never know what to expect from Sean and those two-left handed back wall kills were great shots,” stated Carroll. “I felt I played well and tried everything I could in that first game.”
Tied at one game apiece, Carroll surged to a 6-1 lead to start the third. Memories of Lenning ‘s 2018 Las Vegas comeback surfaced, as Lenning quickly tied the score at six with two crack serves and three kills. Carroll, now breathing heavily and needing to regroup, called his first timeout of the match. Carroll calmly regained his breath and game plan, reentering the court with vigor. Carroll punished an exhausted Lenning with blistering two-wall passes to setup corner kills, scoring the final nine points of the match to win his first title if the 2018/19 R48 8 season and take a commanding lead on the R48 Power Rankings.
“I’m ecstatic to win here, my first title of the season,” Carroll stated. “It’s always difficult playing Sean and I’m thrilled to take the title.”
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