A Season Finale Full of Celebrations
by T. J. Baumbaugh, LPRT Commissioner
The LPRT 2022-2023 season-ending event “Battle at the Beach” presented by Invicta Security Services was full of amazing athleticism, ace serves, and emotions.
Montse Mejia (Mexico) not only won the event, but she also finished the season as the new #1 ranked player on the LPRT. In a tearful and heartfelt post-final interview, Mejia reflected on her #1 accomplishment being a childhood dream. She said, “I have no words. I am too happy.”
Mejia joins an elite group of 13 other women who have earned the season-ending #1 title, the most recent of those being Paola Longoria (Mexico). Although this was a difficult loss for Longoria, her recording-setting accomplishments will be celebrated for years to come. Longoria has earned a record 13 season-ending #1 titles (to date), 11 of those titles consecutively.
A big thank you to tournament director and sponsor, Malia Bailey, for bringing the LPRT back to Virginia. Thank you to presenting sponsor Invicta Security Services for your repeated support. Thank you to sponsors Joreth Consulting, City Wide Truck and Auto Sales, LPL Financial, JKB Solutions, Tidewater Landworks, Spencart Properties, Greg Giordano, Gene Fry, Malcolm Daily/Costco, and Sunshine Arterburn.
Thanks to Todd Boss of ProRacquetballStats.com, here is the full event recap:
Let’s review the notable matches in the Singles draw.
In the 16s
- Jessica Parrilla (Mexico) got a nice win over Natalia Mendez (Argentina) in the 8/9 game. Mendez sinks to her lowest ranking since her debut season in 2016-17.
- In one of the matches of the round, #12 Maria Jose Vargas (Argentina) came back from a game down to topple Brenda Laime (Bolivia) who had made the finals of the two previous pro events. From finals to one-and-done, that's what the depth on tour is starting to look like.
- #13 Kelani Lawrence (USA) dominated #4 Erika Manilla (USA) 3,7 on her home courts to move on. Manilla must be wondering what happened; the cement courts in Chesapeake should have worked to her favor, even if she was playing someone who grew up on those courts.
- #14 Valeria Centellas (Argentina) beat #3 Alexandra Herrera (Mexico) for the second time in three months, matching her career-best win.
- #6 Angelica Barrios (Bolivia) continues to show why she's a player nobody wants to face, taking out the previous event's champion Ana Gabriela Martínez (Guatemala) in a tiebreaker.
- #7 Carla Munoz (Chile) ground out a solid win over #10 Samantha Salas Solis (Mexico) 11-9 in the breaker to put a cap on her best-ever pro season.
In the Quarters
- #1 Paola Longoria (Mexico), who knowingly went into this event knowing only a better showing than Mejia would retain her crown, dominated #8 Parrilla to move on.
- #12 Vargas made fast work of hometown favorite Kelani 7,1 to set up a crucial semifinal showdown vs. Paola.
- #6 Barrios shut down any chance of a deep run from Centellas, defeating her fellow Bolivian native 13,8 to move into the semis.
- #2 Mejia, who was also perfectly aware of the stakes in Virginia, held serve 12,12 against a very solid Munoz to move into the semis and keep alive the possibility of a winner-take-all final.
In the Semis
A heartbreak, and a new champion is crowned.
- Vargas took out Longoria for the second time this season in a close 14,12 match. Heartbreak for Longoria, as the loss cost her the title.
- Mejia dominated games one and three, losing focus in game two, and advanced over Barrios 3,(13),1.
Mejia played her semifinal before Longoria, so upon hearing of Paola's loss, Mejia knew she had guaranteed herself the year end title. The LPRT has a new #1 player.
In the Finals
- Mejia handled Vargas in game one, capitulated in game two, then dominated in game three. Final score: 7,(3),3.
- Mejia/Herrera finished the season the same place they started it, with a doubles title. They saved match point in the second game against Vargas/Mendez and then blew them away in the breaker to give Mejia a double for the weekend.
Visit https://www.r2sports.com/website/division-list.asp?TID=31744&sortBy=defaultOrder for LPRT and amateur brackets and results.