Wolverines vs Rush

Rush Down Wolverines in Battle of Top Teams

Rush Dominate to Take first Mixed Doubles Game

In their last games of the Western Split, the West Coast Wolverines came in at 5-1 (no. 1 seed too) and the Vancouver Rush a respectable 4-2. With two powerful teams duking it out, the first game didn’t disappoint as the Rush’s Brett Forsythe and Alex Walker grabbed an early lead and never let go in a 15-11 victory against Vicky Strandlund and Haddow Thul.

Both Forsythe and Walker were forces in the early stages, Forsythe sending a big cross and an overhand to make it 4-1 Rush and Walker later helping force a Wolverines timeout, playing unbelievable defense and contributing a nice cross for an 8-3 cushion.

Down 12-7 later, the Wolverines mounted a bit of comeback, with Thul and Strandlund making good set-ups for Rush unforced errors and then rallying to get the score to 12-10. Walker and Forsythe, though, stood their ground and made blazing crossing shots, Walker for a 13-10 lead and Forsythe putting the icing on the cake at game point.

Rush Come Out on Top in Exciting Contest with Wolverines

On paper, this mixed doubles match-up would likely have been too close to call. On one side, the Wolverines Joel “the Assassin” Pelletier and Angie Walker and on the other, the fiery Nathan Choi and Casey Rodgers. In the end, Choi and Rodgers battled their way to a 15-13 come-from-behind win to put a stranglehold on the match.

Walker and Pelletier were a force from the start, combining to give the Wolverines the early 5-3 cushion. Choi replied in a big way, making a sweet backhand flick for a point, and then getting a lucky bounce on a net cord shot to tie it. The two squads then traded two points apiece to get it to 7-7.

Rodgers then asserted herself, accounting for four of the next five points on a drop, a set-up and two blazing crosses to give the Rush a 12-7 lead. On the other side, Walker put her stamp on the game, setting up Rodgers for a net return and smacking an overhand winner to force the Rush into a timeout up 12-10. The Rush then combined on a point with defense and eventually the teams fought to a double freeze at 14-13 Rush. Two rallies later, a fired-up Choi blasted a shot that Walker went side out with.

Wolverines Keep Match Alive with Exciting Triumph over Rush

We will have to call this one “the Battle of the Walkers.” In a game the Wolverines could ill afford to lose, Angie Walker, along with partner Vicky Strandlund, beat her sister Alex Walker and Casey Rodgers of the Rush, 15-11.

At first, it appeared that younger sister Alex was going to have the upper hand and send the Rush to a match win, scoring two big winners to force her older sister’s side to a timeout with the Rush leading 5-2. Perhaps a little mad her sister was getting the best of her, Angie would record three straight winning shots to tie it. Strandlund later hit a beauty cross to move the score to 7-5 Wolverines and then two points later a controversial line call sent the Rush to a timeout down 9-5.

The teams went back and forth, until Alex drilled an overhand winner to get the Rush within two down 12-10 and see the Wolverines take a timeout. Strandlund then gave her partner a breather, scoring the last two points on a set-up and a cross to keep the Wolverines alive.

Rush Complete Match Victory in Men’s Doubles Barnburner

If the Rush were to come out on top in this battle of the giants, they would have to bring their ‘A’ game. The Player of the Match Brett Forsythe and Nathan Choi did just that, weathering all manner of Wolverines countermoves from Joel Pelletier and Haddow Thul.

With Forsythe playing set-up man, Choi was able to operate freely near the no-go zone, hammering Dura ball after Dura ball for points to give the Rush a 5-2 lead. Pelletier and Thul, no slouches, fought right back, forcing a timeout with the score 6-5 Rush. Unforced errors, though, were the Wolverines problem for a bit, as they made three in a row to go down 10-6.

They fought valiantly, however, forcing a Rush timeout with the score tied 12-12 and a tiebreaker looming. Choi and Forsythe teamed to go up 14-12 and force a Wolverines timeout, then won the game after six straight dramatic freeze holds when the Wolverines hit net on return.


Pronghorns vs Rollers

Pronghorns Easily Dispatch Rollers in Four-Game Sweep

Pronghorns Women Break Open Tight Game in Win over Rollers

Early in this game, it looked like these two women’s doubles squads would go shot-for-shot down to the wire. But, the Pronghorns Kim Brent and Pam Clarke, energized by a timeout taken by the Rollers Jessica Kawamoto and Emma Li, quickly finished them off by a score of 15-9.

The story of the early going were unforced errors, with only a nice Li set-up and a Clarke forehand that the Rollers couldn’t get to make things interesting and leading to a 4-4 tie. After Brent put the Pronghorns ahead for good with a backhand to make it 6-5, she would later bust a big backhand to force a Rollers timeout with the score 9-6.

Kawamoto was able to interject with a blazing cross to get the score to 10-7 but was outdone not long after by a Clarke ATP that just hit the sideline to make the count 13-8 Pronghorns. The Rollers hung in for a couple of freezes, but ultimately Kawamoto found net for game point.

Pronghorns Stifle Late Rollers Rally in Men’s Doubles Triumph

Just like the women’s doubles game before, the Rollers Rob Krizmanich and Jonas Dahler took a 1-0 lead, which was their only lead in a 15-11 loss to the Pronghorns Brad Chapman and Matty Stodola. Unlike their female counterparts, Krizmanich and Dahler made things far more interesting, battling back from deficits to get to make the Pronghorns’ jersey collars just a little tighter.

The stories of the early going were Krizmanich and Stodola, who stole the show with outstanding shot-making and defense as the Pronghorns built a 5-4 cushion. Chapman then added an exclamation mark with some astute defense to gain a point. The action then cooled for a bit, with the Pronghorns going ahead 10-6 and forcing a Rollers timeout.

The rest did the trick for Krizmanich and Dahler, who rallied and shot their way to make the score close at 11-10, accented by a booming Dahler overhand winner. Two plays later Chapman ripped an overhand that eluded the Rollers to push the score to 13-10, followed by a Krizmanich net cord shot to get the Rollers within two. That, though, was all the Rollers had as the Pronghorns capitalized on Rollers errors to win this key contest.

Pronghorns Cap Match Win with Big Victory over Rollers

Few games in the Western Split were as lopsided as this one, which favored the Pronghorns mixed doubles team of Kim Brent and Brad Chapman over the Rollers Jessica Kawamoto and Jonas Dahler by a score of 15-5. Brent, the eventual Player of the Match, with the generous help of Chapman, forced the Rollers back on their heels time and again with amazing shots and defensive to offensive onslaughts.

After Kawamoto smoked a hard backhand cross to make the score 1-1 early, it was all Pronghorns after that. Brent accounted for three of her team’s next four points to make it 5-2 Pronghorns, followed later by a vicious Chapman backhand that sent the Rollers to a timeout at 7-3.

Neither Kawamoto nor Dahler had an answer for what Chapman and Brent sent their way, and only scoring their last two points on unforced errors by Brent and Chapman. Fittingly, Brent’s brilliant dinking led to a Chapman ATP that hit Kawamoto to make it 14-5, followed by a Chapman forehand that Kawamoto couldn’t return for the game and match point.

Pronghorns Outlast Rollers to Sweep Match

Another match, another game that meant little to the outcome. But, as this match between the Pronghorns and Rollers went, this was the most entertaining – and most closely contested. In the end, the Pronghorns mixed doubles team of Pam Clarke and Matty Stodola narrowly trimmed the Rollers Rob Krizmanich and Emma Li, 15-14.

Early, there were moments of absolute brilliance, like a seeing-eye Krizmanich ATP for a point, punctuated by some miscommunication, unforced errors, and the Selkirk net eating too many returns. About the midway point, the Rollers had built an 8-7 lead on a Krizmanich backhand and a sneaky Li set-up that Clarke put into the net.

The teams then fought to a 10-10 tie when Krizmanich and Li dinked brilliantly for the 10th point. Stodola turned the tide with a massive overhand for a point, only to have the Rollers tie it on a Li set-up and then good Rollers defensive play. Stodola then ripped another forehand winner that hit Krizmanich, but eventually the unforced errors did the Rollers in, once again.


Pronghorns vs United

United Caps Brilliant Western Split with Sixth Match Win over Pronghorns

United Mixed Doubles Survive Late Rally to Beat Pronghorns

Credit must go to the Pronghorns Matty Stodola and Pam Clarke, as they nearly caused the United’s Carolina Hack and Mark Gottfried to cough up a 14-7 lead. But it was United’s good fortune to escape with a narrow 15-13 win.

This game was barely two minutes old when the Pronghorns needed to take a timeout, down 4-0 after a wicked cross by Hack that eluded them both. The rest helped for a bit, however Hack and Gottfried upped the lead to 7-2 with marvelous defensive play. Hack was full value a little later, smacking a cross that landed in play between Clarke’s feet and then duplicating that feat by hitting Stodola to make it 9-3.

Clarke and Stodola hung on by their fingertips, but still found themselves down 14-7 after a huge Gottfried overhand. A timeout was needed, and it worked. Clarke and Stodola forced Gottfried and Hack onto their heels, prolonging this match with some fine shooting and defense. However, with the game at double freeze, United took a timeout and then won with Stodola sent a return long.

United Staves Off Another Comeback Attempt by Pronghorns

In what was a pattern in this match, United’s Mixed Doubles shot out to an early lead then had to rally to ensure no comeback was made by the Pronghorns. Player of the Match Matt Kawamoto and partner Hannah Blatt prevailed by a score of 15-13 over Brad Chapman and Kim Brent.

Once again, United came out swinging, with Kawamoto and Blatt playing excellent defense and making unreturnable shots to force a Pronghorns timeout up 7-2. Brent and Chapman, refreshed, went on a tear countering a couple of big hits by Kawamoto with astute defense of their own and seeing eye shots to knot things up at 9-9.

Kawamoto and Blatt again picked up the pace on the Pronghorns, who were forced to take timeouts when Brent injured a finger. After Kawamoto fired yet another laser to make the score 13-10 United, the Pronghorns bounced back with three unanswered points of their own, with both Brent and Chapman hitting winning crosses. Blatt and Kawamoto didn’t fold, though, using defensive to offensive transition to take the final two points.

Pronghorns Stay Alive with Furious Comeback

As this women’s doubles game proved, no lead is too safe in the Canadian National Pickleball League. The Pronghorns Kim Brent and Pam Clarke had to mount an offensive after United’s Carolina Hack and Hannah Blatt built an early lead, bouncing back to win 15-13 and keep their team’s match hopes alive.

Blatt was on a mission from the get-go, smacking all manner of shots – including an impressive unreturnable serve — to put United ahead 7-3 and force a beleaguered Pronghorns side to take a timeout. The break worked in the Pronghorns’ favor, with Brent and Clarke finding their footing and forcing United into several unforced errors and a timeout with the score tied at 10-10.

It was a fiery tilt, with Brent and Blatt trading blazing shots in a sequence that saw the teams score another three points each to push the count to 13-13. Immediately after that, Brent sent a scorching flick United’s way, paving the way for a rally that saw Hack send a return just wide of the line for a Pronghorns win.

United Men Prevail in Heavyweight Contest with Pronghorns

Blow for blow these two teams went and, in the end, United’s Matt Kawamoto and Mark Gottfried got the better of the Pronghorns Matty Stodola and Brad Chapman, by a score of 15-13. As usual, United sprang out to an early and nearly insurmountable lead, only to have to fight tooth and nail at the end to seal the game and match victory.

United forged ahead 4-0, with Kawamoto making two resounding shots and Gottfried contributing a sneaky set-up, forcing a Pronghorns’ timeout. The tenor of this tilt didn’t change much after the break, United making the lion’s share of the good shots to force another Pronghorns’ timeout with the score 12-5.

Stodola and Chapman, seemingly refreshed, went on a mini run, recording four straight points, courtesy of a scorching Stodola forehand winner and three unforced errors by Gottfried. With the momentum going their way, Chapman hit a return long to make it 13-9, but he redeemed himself later with a flick to make it 13-11. United got to freeze at 14-11, but the Pronghorns stormed back, with Stodola setting up Kawamoto for a Selkirk net return to make it 14-13. However, Gottfried got back into the good books by smoking an overhand winner for the game and match.


Wolverines vs Brewers

Wolverines Whitewash Brewers in Four Straight for Fifth Match Win

Wolverines Complete Spirited Comeback in Mixed Doubles

The Wolverines Haddow Thul and Vicky Strandlund had their hands full drawing hard-hitting Susan Pound and Mark Cleminson of the Brewers. Despite early struggles, they came through with flying colors, coming back from a late four-point deficit to win 15-13. It was a great start for the Wolverines, who came into this match having won four of five in the Western Split to that point.

Cleminson and Pound dominated early, with Cleminson providing laser-like overhands for winners and Pound setting up the Wolverines for unforced errors. Even still, Thul and Strandlund – who dove on the Pickleroll floor for a return – played spirited enough Pickleball to stay in range.

With the score 11-7 Brewers and things looking grim, the Wolverines mounted a slow, steady comeback. While Cleminson was making all the shots in the first half, he made five unforced errors late to aid the Wolverines. Strandlund and Thul, on the other side, played very complementary pickleball, dinking and transitioning in sync to win points. Thul would win it with a blazing forehand shot down the middle.

Wolverines Late Charge Produces Big Win over Brewers

If overcoming deficits pretty much all game, the Wolverines mixed doubles pair of Joel Pelletier and Angie Walker finally won 15-14 over the Brewers Jeff Elwood and Christina Chin after five consecutive freezes at 14-14.

This was a highly entertaining tilt, with a few twists and turns, extended dinking rallies and some interesting results. Pelletier and Walker tried to force the issue with forceful offense, however, the Brewers’ Elwood answered with two overhand smashes to put his team up 6-4. Walker and Pelletier answered emphatically, though, both sending forehands that plunked Chin to tie it.

Elwood and Chin used that sequence as impetus to dink their way to a 9-7 lead, only to the Wolverines rally to tie it yet again. As in the previous mixed doubles game, the Brewers pushed the score to 13-10, making another comeback improbable. But after a timeout, the Wolverines came out swinging and tied it up on another Walker forehand rocket.

Things then got crazy at a 14-14 freeze. It seemed that neither team could solve the other, until after five sequences the Brewers went quietly side out to hand the Wolverines the victory.

Wolverines Women’s Doubles Team Clinches Match in Convincing Fashion

It seems that after a couple of lengthy, hard-fought games, the Wolverines and Brewers women’s doubles teams decided to make this one a truncated affair. While it wasn’t a cakewalk, the Wolverines Angie Walker and Vicky Strandlund breezed by the Brewers Christina Chin and Susan Pound by a score of 15-10.

The only lead the Brewers held was 1-0 and from there the Wolverines tied it on a Strandlund cross and then went ahead for good. Plenty of unforced errors, interspersed with some great shot-making by Strandlund and Walker led to a Brewers’ timeout with the Wolverines up 7-4. In short order the Wolverines pushed the score to 10-5, courtesy of a wicked Walker flick and a Strandlund backhand winner. Strandlund later smashed an overhand to give the Wolverines an 11-6 lead, which got the Brewers going for the first time. Pound and Chin both made great shots and transitioned well from defense to offense to get as close as 12-10.

However, the Wolverines countered with outstanding defense, gaining a key point, and then finishing the Brewers quietly when they went side out twice to end this game and seal the match triumph.

Wolverines Men Complete Sweep of Brewers

It was a “nothing” game with nothing on the line, yet the Wolverines men’s doubles duo of Haddow Thul and Joel Pelletier came out hard, beating the Brewers Jeff Elwood and Mark Cleminson 15-9. It was never close, with the Wolverines taking an early 3-1 lead when Thul set the tempo with a brilliant crossing shot for a point.

Thul would send a winning forehand two points later, forcing a Brewers timeout with the score 5-1. After the break, Pelletier got into the act with a nice cross and then the two rallied to go up 7-1. The unforced errors were the Brewers demise in this one, with both Cleminson and Elwood finding the Selkirk net on too many occasions.

Any time the Brewers seemed they might mount a bit of a comeback, it was stifled by the Wolverines, who time and again late forced bad shots by their counterparts to keep a wide margin. Mercifully, the game and the match ended when Cleminson hit the net after an extended rally.


Rush vs Lions

Rush Crush Lions in Four-Game Match

Lions go Meekly in Big Loss to Rush in Mixed Doubles

For two points at least, the Montreal Lions mixed doubles team of Eric Gagnon and Grace Thomas were in this opening game. However, the Vancouver Rush pair of Nathan Choi and Casey Rodgers completely took over at 1-1, eventually stomping their counterparts 15-5.

Choi followed teammate Rodgers – the Player of the Match previously – with a superb effort in this one, setting up the Lions on three occasions for unforced errors and allowing his team to take a commanding 8-1 lead and force a timeout. It wasn’t an all-Choi contest either, with Rodgers contributing to the Lions misery with a wicked cross to make it 9-2.

Choi did make a couple of blunders of his own late in this one, but also made life miserable for Gagnon and Thomas with a cross, a drop and a flick that all fell for points. Aptly, the final point was scored by the Rush when Gagnon was called for a foot foul.

Second Mixed Doubles Game Proves Livelier as Rush Topple Lions

For a little while, this game looked like it was going to be another Lions slaughter, as the Rush’s Brett Forsythe and Alex Walker gave the Lions’ Cam Rich and Kim Layton a thorough beating. The Lions, to their credit, fought gamely and were able to push hard enough to get this contest to a late tie before succumbing 15-13.

This tilt started slowly as both squads felt each other out, until the Rush found the chinks in the Lions’ armor. It was tied 2-2 when Forsythe and Walker went on an extended run, reeling off seven to the Lions two to make it 9-4 and force a timeout. In those rallies, Forsythe ripped two great shots and Walker converted on a brilliant overhand as well.

The Rush kept up the pressure and lead 11-6, when the tide started to turn against them. Rich made two outstanding set-ups in a row for points and later combined with Layton on defense and dinking to stifle any Rush attack and get the game to a 12-12 draw. However, that was all the fight the Lions could muster, with Forsythe and Walker combining to go ahead on dinking and then Forsythe finishing off their opponents with a great flick.

Lions Women’s Doubles Keep Match Hopes Alive with Impressive Win

Once again, the Lions started out slowly. However, this time the Lions women’s doubles team of Grace Thomas and Kim Layton made a brilliant charge back to clip the Rush’s team of Alex Walker and Casey Rodgers, by a count of 15-13.

Before the Pickleroll floor even had a chance to get scuffed, the Rush held a 4-0 margin over the Lions, due to unforced errors on serve and returns. The Lions toughed it out, though, and chipped away at the Rush, with Layton setting them up for an unforced error and then combining with Thomas on defense to tie it 5-5. Then they swung it the other way, making the Rush take a timeout down 8-6.

The Lions wouldn’t relinquish the lead the rest of the way, but Rodgers and Walker made things interesting, staring with a wicked Walker overhand to make it 8-7. Layton and Thomas answered right back, with dinking, flicks, and crosses to up the lead to 12-8 and force a timeout. The Rush then battled back, scoring three straight on astute transition and shot making, but failing to capitalize until it was 14-11 Lions. Walker did singe the Lions with a flick and an overhand winner, but a Lions rally finished them off.

Rush Finish Lions with Convincing Men’s Doubles Triumph

There was a reason Nathan Choi was chosen Player of the Match, and in this thorough beating of the Lions, he was front and center. Choi was a force of nature on the Pickleroll court, sending all manner of devastating shots that the Lions pair of Cam Rich and Eric Gagnon had little chance of returning in a 15-10 Rush match-clinching win.

Choi’s teammate Brett Forsythe got the Rush into the game, sending a flick to cut an early Lions lead to 2-1. Choi then contributed two blistering crosses to put them up, before Rich replied with a massive overhand of his own to tie it. The Rush, with Choi leading the charge, sent things to a timeout by scoring four straight.

After the break, Choi added insult to injury with a flick that hit Rich to go ahead 8-3. He would add a crazy lob and another overhand in a sequence that led to a Rush 12-8 lead and command of the match. It ended mercifully when Choi set up Gagnon for a net return.


Rollers vs Smash

Rollers Clip Smash in Stunning Match Comeback

Smash Gut Out Nice Win over Rollers in Women’s Doubles

On the hunt finish the Western Split on a winning note, the East Toronto Smash got rolling with an impressive victory in women’s doubles. Leigh Bradwell and Jordann Vigna outdueled the formidable Northern Rollers team of Emma Li and Jessica Kawamoto, 15-13.

The two squads duked it out in the first half, with plenty of great shots, interspersed with unforced errors, leading to a 6-6 draw. Yet, the Smash were able to capitalize on two straight Rollers’ shots into the Selkirk net and then a long return by Kawamoto, forcing a timeout with the Smash ahead 9-6.

After that, every time Li and Kawamoto got close on good defense and dinking, the Smash would counter with magical shots of their own, including a Vigna crossing lob to make the score 12-9 Smash. Soon enough, the Smash were up at freeze 14-10, and after several holds were able to secure the victory on a Vigna drop shot.

Smash Dominate Rollers to Take Command of Match

This men’s doubles game was characterized by unforced errors as much as inspired play. The Smash pair of Connor Weeks and Chris Alain had to do just enough to whip the Rollers Rob Krizmanich and Jonas Dahler, by a count of 15-9. Krizmanich was dynamic in the early stages, firing a wicked cross and a flick to keep the score tight at 4-3 Smash.

But, dinking and a Weeks backhand cross, combined with back-to-back Rollers’ unforced errors saw the score move to 7-3. The Rollers didn’t capitulate, though, with Dahler and Krizmanich both contributing unreturnable shots to get within one at 8-7 Smash.

That would be all she wrote for the Rollers, who made successive and costly unforced errors, along with being flummoxed by sneaky set up shots by Weeks and Alain in the loss.

Rollers Back in Match with Superb Effort in Mixed Doubles

Down 2-0 in the match and playing like they had nothing to lose, the Rollers’ team of Jessica Kawamoto and Jonas Dahler scored a big ‘W’ against the Smash’s Leigh Bradwell and Chris Alain. Like the previous contests, the two teams fought their way to an early 3-3 draw, when Kawamoto, the Player of the Match, and Dahler went on a mini run to take a 6-3 lead.

Bradwell and Alain did compete gamely, however, were forced to take a timeout after and Dahler backhand bomb that made it 9-5 Rollers. The Smash did make it as close as 11-9, but Kawamoto’s play, with a big assist to Dahler, was too much to handle, leading to a freeze at 14-10. Alain would get a point on a nice set-up, but Dahler iced it with a forehand rip down the middle for a 15-11 win.

Rollers Force Tiebreaker in Hotly Contested Mixed Doubles Victory

Another game, another do-or-die for the Rollers, who came into this Western Split Match with a 1-4 record (1-11 overall). This time, Rob Krizmanich and Emma Li warded off the best that the Smash’s Jordann Vigna and Connor Weeks could throw their way in a 15-12 triumph.

The Rollers jumped out to a 4-1 lead, thanks to two great shots off the hop by Krizmanich, followed a little later by a Li forehand winner. The Smash fought back valiantly, utilizing great defense and timely shooting to tie it up 6-6.

The teams would trade four points apiece to again see a tie at 10-10, the coup de grace being a vicious Vigna flick that caught Krizmanich square. Krizmanich and Li took over from there, dominating with dinking and booming shots, with Krizmanich paying Vigna back with an Erne to win it.

Rollers Finish Improbable Comeback with Solid Singles Tiebreaker Win

Coming off their first win in either the Western or Eastern Splits, the Rollers faced defeat squarely in the eye in this match, then went out and made one of 2023’s greatest match comebacks. The Rollers Dahler, our pick for player of the game, grabbed three quick points on Alain, including two brilliant crossing shots. Krizmanich and Li followed up with 2-1 pod wins over Weeks and Vigna, respectively, while Kawamoto was 1-2 against Bradwell to make the score 8-4.

Dahler nearly swept Alain again but hit one long to make the score 10-5 Rollers. Krizmanich kept Weeks on his heels long enough to also take two of three and Kawamoto grabbed a key point against a very good Bradwell to move the count to 13-8 Rollers. Li was a dynamo in the final pod, ripping back-to-back overhand and backhand winners against Vigna to seal the huge win.


Wolverines vs Pronghorns

Wolverines Gain Revenge over Pronghorns with Impressive Comeback Victory

Wolverines Women’s Doubles Team Cruises to Win over Pronghorns

The last time these two squads met at the Eastern Split, the Pronghorns made a stirring comeback to win the match 3-2. Looking for a spark then in game 1, the Wolverines women’s doubles team of Vicky Strandlund and Angie Walker put together as complete a game as any, beating the Pronghorns Kim Brent and Pam Clarke 15-10.

In the early going, Clarke and Strandlund traded great crossing shots for points, leading to a 3-3 tie after two Wolverines unforced errors. Strandlund and Walker then went on an offensive surge, scoring four straight and causing the Pronghorns to take a timeout.

The Wolverines onslaught went unabated, until the Pronghorns took the game back with Brent making great shots and pushing the score to 11-7 Wolverines. However, the play of the game came with the Wolverines up 13-9. Walker and Strandlund were unbelievable on defense, scoring an amazing point to put the game at freeze and then win it later on a nice Walker set-up shot.

Pronghorns Come Off the Mat to Beat Wolverines in Men’s Tilt

In what the video commentators said was a “heavyweight fight” the Prairie Pronghorns duo of Brad Chapman and Matty Stodola were nearly TKO against the Wolverines Haddow Thul and Joel Pelletier. The savvy Pronghorns were down all game, by as many as four late in the game, only to shock Thul and Pelletier by knotting the match with a huge 15-13 triumph.

Thul and Pelletier, both noted big hitters, pushed the Pronghorns around until they called a timeout down 8-6. The Wolverines kept up the pressure after the break, and then put together a massive rally to go up 13-10 and have a lock on the win.

But wait, the Pronghorns had other ideas, rallying well, and getting a couple of points off Chapman set-ups to tie it. And, despite furious defense by the Wolverines, the Pronghorns were that much better, winning on a massive rally.

Pronghorns Hang on to Win Engaging Mixed Doubles Contest

Inspired by the play of the men in the game previous, the Pronghorns mixed doubles team of Kim Brent and Brad Chapman held off a wild rally by the Wolverines Vicky Strandlund and Haddow Thul to win a nailbiter 15-13. The Pronghorns came out firing, with both Brent and Chapman huge shots to put them ahead 9-2.

A Wolverines mini rally saw the lead trimmed to 11-6, followed by some outstanding shot shaping by Thul and Strandlund, with wicked Thul cross that made the score 12-9. But, the Wolverines made two costly unforced errors that led to a 14-10 freeze.

The Wolverines, to their credit, didn’t mail it in, scoring three straight and forcing five straight holds before losing on yet another unforced error.

Wolverines Stay Alive with Massive Come-from-behind Victory

The Pronghorns could take solace that they would have a tiebreaker after allowing the Wolverines to erase a two-point deficit and win handily in this pivotal game. The Wolverines duo of Joel Pelletier and Angie Walker withstood an early charge from the Pronghorns Matty Stodola and Pam Clarke, winning 15-10.

Clarke and Stodola played well off each other initially, getting key shots to drop and benefiting from a controversial line call on a Pelletier wallop to go ahead 7-5. Player of the Match Walker then showed why she was so chosen, smacking two straight set-up shots that Clarke couldn’t handle, for an 8-7 lead. Pelletier then played outstanding defense for a point, followed by a side out to push it to a 9-9 tie.

It was all Wolverines after that, with Pelletier and Walker forcing two Pronghorns timeouts and transition from offense to defense smoothly to win it.

Wolverines Cap Comeback with Thrilling Tiebreak Triumph

Given that that the Pronghorns beat the Wolverines 3-2 in the Eastern Split, it was only fitting this one went to a tiebreaker too. This time, the Wolverines got proper revenge, gutting out a 15-12 win and a match victory.

The Wolverines started out strong, with Pelletier, Thul and Walker all taking two of three points from Stodola, Chapman and Brent, respectively for a 6-3 lead. Clarke then stymied Strandlund for two big points and Stodola stole two from Pelletier to narrow the gap to 8-7.

With the score 9-9, Player of the Match Walker pulled off the first pod sweep on Brent, with a huge forehand to put her team up 12-9. However, Clarke returned the favor, going 3-0 against Strandlund. It was up to Pelletier, then, and he delivered, smacking a massive backhand, a beauty set up and a wicked cross to win it for the Wolverines.


Rush vs Rollers

Rush Sweep Rollers for Third Match Win of Western Split

Rush Women Easily Handle Rollers in First Game

On paper, this first game between the Vancouver Rush and Northern Rollers, looked like it was going to be a barnburner. On the Rush side, no. 8 and no. 9 draft picks Alex Walker and Casey Rodgers, respectively, would do battle with the dynamic Rollers duo of Jessica Kawamoto (11th overall) and Emma Li (22nd overall). However, the Rush won in a relative walk, making quick work of their opponents in a 15-8 victory.

Coming off their first match victory of either the Eastern and Western Splits, the Rollers came out gunning early, pushing the Rush into unforced errors and taking a 4-3 lead on a Li backhand smash. The Rollers would then dink superbly to tie it up 5-5, but that would be as close as they could get to Rodgers and Walker.

Rodgers, the eventual player of the match, scorched a forehand to put the Rush up 7-5, followed later by a Walker overhand that forced a Rollers timeout. After the break, Li asserted herself enough to keep the game within reach, smacking a nice forehand and then a set-up to make it 11-8. Rodgers, though, was too much for the Rollers, clicking on two winners to seal the win.

Rollers Men Squander Late Lead in Tough Loss to Rush

In big need of a victory to keep their hopes of a second match victory alive, the Rollers men’s doubles team of Jonas Dahler and Rob Krizmanich came out gunning but couldn’t sustain the momentum before losing to the Rush’s Nathan Choi and Brett Forsythe 15-13.

The game didn’t hold much drama through the first five points as the Rollers lead 3-2, however, quickly accelerated when Choi flicked the Dura ball nicely to tie it, but countered by a Krizmanich cross that neither Rush could handle. Dahler and Krizmanich kept up the pressure from there, pushing the lead to 8-6 and a Rush timeout.

After the Rollers took a 9-6 lead, unforced errors and balls finding the Selkirk net were the order of the game, seeing the Rush tie it 10-10. Choi then ripped a forehand that hit Krizmanich for a point but then sailed one long to allow the Rollers to tie it. From then on it was about more unforced errors by both sides, with a long shot by Krizmanich sealing the Rollers’ fate.

Rush Mixed Doubles Seal Rollers Fate with Late Rally

A game that saw some decent rallies and great shots, was also punctuated with far too many unforced errors, which didn’t bode well for the Rollers Mixed Doubles team of Jonas Dahler and Jessica Kawamoto. They had a brief lead in the middle over the Rush’s Brett Forsythe and Alex Walker, but long and short shots were their undoing in a match-clinching 15-12 Rush triumph.

The tone of the game was set early when Walker smacked a wicked shot that ticked off Dahler’s paddle for a point. After the teams traded several points, Forsythe got going with a wicked cross to put the Rush ahead 5-4. Dahler then returned a serve into the net to extend the Rush lead. He would redeem himself two points later, smashing a cross to tie it 6-6.

The back-and-forth trading of points on unforced errors continued unabated, punctuated on occasion by great winning shots from Forsythe and Dahler. The turning point happened at 11-11, when Dahler missed long on his serve (Kawamoto had hit the net earlier). Walker then put the dagger in, sailing a cross that eluded the Rollers and the rest was history, the match won on a nice Rush rally.

Rush Sweep Rollers with Comeback Win

With nothing really on the line – other than pride – the Rollers mixed doubles duo of Rob Krizmanich and Emma Li gave it everything they had. Unfortunately, the Rush pair of Nathan Choi and Casey Rodgers had just a little more game, allowing their team to sweep with a 15-10 victory.

An auspicious start – Li hit the net on first serve – was closely followed by a wicked cross by Krizmanich that tied it up early. That pattern would be repeated in the early going, with Rodgers sending a seeing-eye cross for a point, followed by a rally with Choi to see the game tied at 4-4. Li and Krizmanich then played well enough to take a 7-6 lead and looked poised to win one.

Yet, Choi and Rodgers took over proceedings, the highlight being a Choi lob shot that the Rollers couldn’t return for an 11-8 cushion. Unforced errors were the Rollers undoing from there as the Rush completed the sweep.


Brewers vs Lions

Brewers Sweep Lions in Tightly Contested Match

Brewers Women’s Doubles Escape with Win Over Lions

In a harbinger of things to come for Montreal, the Southwestern Ontario Brewers women’s doubles pair of Christina Chin and Susan Pound stole one here. Down for pretty much the whole game, Chin and Pound rallied late against Grace Thomas and Kim Layton to nip them 15-14.

The Brewers trailed 2-0 early on unforced errors, when Pound and Chin fired winning shots for points to tie it. That would be a recurring theme until the Brewers took a timeout down 7-5. Among the highlights at the point were Thomas dropping a nice shot down the line and Layton setting up the Brewers for a return into the Selkirk net to take a 4-2 lead.

The break helped the Brewers who knotted things up courtesy of two straight nice shots by Chin. But the Lions answered with a slew of well-timed shots of their own to go ahead 12-10. However, the Lions made several unforced errors of their own, leading to a 13-13 tie and another Brewers timeout. What followed were six consecutive freezes, until Pound rifled a signature crossing shot for the winner.

Brewers Hold Off Late Charge by Lions for Key Men’s Doubles Triumph

You could almost call this one a “master class in dinking.” The Brewers team of Mark Cleminson and Jeff Elwood got out to a lead and then stemmed a late rally by the Lions Cam Rich and Eric Gagnon to win this pivotal game 15-13.

In terms of dinking prowess, the Brewers scored the first point on brilliant dinking shots and then a Cleminson backhand laser made it 2-0. Rich tied it up with a sweet backhand set-up and net cord shot, but unforced Lions’ errors led to the Brewers pouring it on and taking a 7-4 lead.

Rich would redeem his team with a blazing forehand and backhand to get within one, however, the Brewers rallied nicely, forcing more Lions unforced errors to grab an 11-7 lead. Rich and Gagnon, though, were up to the task, forcing the Brewers into bad returns, tying it up 12-12. Rich, then, would make the shot of the game with the Lions down 13-12, ripping an ATP just down the line to tie it. But the Brewers were too strong, winning it with back-to-back offensive rallies.

Brewers Cap Match Victory with Domination of Lions in Mixed Doubles

There was no solving the Brewers Christina Chin and Player of the Match Jeff Elwood in this mixed doubles contest. Chin and Elwood were excellent defensively and offensively, dispatching the Lions Kim Layton and Eric Gagnon by a count of 15-10.

The Brewers got off to a slow start, allowing Layton to set them up for an unforced error and a Lions 4-3 lead. That was the last time, though, that Montreal would be ahead and two plays later and some great Elwood dinking, the Lions took a timeout down 5-4. The break, however, benefited the Brewers, as Chin and Elwood baffled the Lions with great shots to go up 8-4.

After a foot foul on Chin, Elwood forced a timeout with consecutive sneaky set-up shots to push the lead to 10-5. Gagnon would assert himself after that, keeping the Lions in it, albeit briefly, with two great overhand shots. However, the Brewers answered with defense and upped the lead to 13-7. An Elwood forehand scorcher got the game to freeze, and the Lions then played well enough for six consecutive freezes before succumbing on an unforced error.

Brewers Complete Match Sweep in Tighter Than Needed Victory

With nothing on the line and the match already won, the Brewers Mark Cleminson and Susan Pound combined business with pleasure in this one, even smiling the odd time on the way to a 15-11 victory over the Lions Grace Thomas and Cam Rich. The score, though, shouldn’t have even got that close, as the Brewers built very healthy leads and looked in command.

The Brewers kicked things into high gear early, with Cleminson putting an exclamation point on this game with a flying cross that gave his team a 7-2 lead and forced a Lions timeout. The break over, the Brewers continued the onslaught as Rich and Thomas couldn’t solve their counterparts, leading to a freeze at 14-5 and a sure loss.

However, Rich and Thomas refused to fold, gamely forcing the Brewers into bad shots with great set-up shots of their own, leading to a Brewers timeout and the score then 14-11. That little wake-up call got Cleminson going, as the Brewers got serve back and then he ripped an unreturnable ATP for the win.


United vs Smash

United Wins Match after Waging Big Battle with Smash

Smash Women Escape with Win over United

Full value must go to the East Toronto Smash women’s doubles team of Leigh Bradwell and Jordann Vigna in their 15-12 defeat of Toronto United. However, it must be said that the United duo of Carolina Hack and Hannah Blatt were the more aggressive team and lost due to missed opportunities.

Blatt and Hack were prolific early, each whizzing crosses for winners, but also making unforced errors on the way to a 4-4 tie early. That seemed to give the Smash some energy, as both Vigna and Bradwell transitioned well from defense to offense to cruise to a 10-5 lead and force a United timeout.

After the break, the teams traded three points apiece, highlighted by some great dinking and beautiful scoring shots from Hack and Vigna. Hack and Blatt would then zing some forehands for winners and force a Smash timeout at 13-11. The Smash got it done after, staving off furious United charges and winning it on an unforced error.

United Rallies to Nip Smash in Men’s Doubles

This time, Toronto United didn’t fail to capitalize on opportunities. While the United women’s doubles team fought hard, but lost, the men’s team of Matt Kawamoto and Mark Gottfried got the job one against the Smash’s Chris Alain and Connor Weeks. United had to overcome three separate deficits in this one to win 15-14.

Alain and Weeks were great in the early stages, especially Alain who banged out two winners to get the Smash ahead 7-4 and force a United timeout. After the pause, Gottfried and Kawamoto came alive, both registering some remarkable shots, including a Kawamoto ATP that tied it up 9-9.

After Gottfried smoked a forehand cross to put United up 11-9, forcing a timeout, the Smash were able to tie it up at 11-11. But Kawamoto and Gottfried were too much the rest of the contest, registering blistering winning shots to overcome the Smash.

United Comes Back Again to Beat Smash in Mixed Doubles

Another game, another United comeback. In a recurring theme in this match, United’s Mark Gottfried and Carolina Hack had to come from behind on three occasions to narrowly trim the Smash’s Chris Alain and Leigh Bradwell, by a count of 15-14.

Alain and Bradwell were full measure the first half, combining great dinking skills and set-up shots to go ahead 8-5 and push United to take a timeout. The rest aided Hack and Gottfried, who took it to the Smash with superb transitional play and timely shots by Gottfried, taking their first lead at 10-9.

However, the Smash staged a massive rally, with Bradwell and Alain catching United in bad positions enough to go ahead on an Alain overhand and force a United timeout. That couldn’t have been timed better, as Hack and Gottfried rallied their way to the narrow victory.

Smash Turn Tables on United to Win Pivotal Fourth Game

Needing a big victory to send this outstanding match to a singles tiebreaker, the Smash mixed doubles pair of Jordann Vigna and Connor Weeks flipped the script and completed a comeback to beat United’s Matt Kawamoto and Hannah Blatt 15-13.

Vigna and Blatt were full value from first serve, both putting a stamp on this tilt with astute shots and defense, with Kawamoto and Weeks also sending overhand rips to put the teams tied at 6-6. Neither squad took command of the next eight points, with Blatt being a catalyst in three of her team’s four points and Smash collectively responding to make it 10-10.

Later, Kawamoto seemingly put United on top for good with a killer cross to make it 13-11. However, the Smash dinked and defended their way to a clutch come-from-behind triumph.

Total Team Effort from United Seals Match Victory over Smash

The Western Split was pretty kind to United to this point, going 4-1, and with the Smash pushing this to a tiebreaker, a fifth victory wasn’t assured. But, after going down 5-3 early in the singles tiebreaker, United poured it on to eventually triumph 15-10.

Down 5-4 after Player of the Match Gottfried made a seeing eye drop shot, Hack took all three points from Vigna to put United ahead for good. Kawamoto followed with another whitewash, stinging Alain for three points with astute defense and a wicked forehand winner.

Blatt then gave up two of three to Weeks, but Gottfried forced Bradwell into two unforced errors to make the score 13-8. Hack would surrender two straight points to Vigna, including a scintillating cross, but got Vigna to go side out to reach freeze at 14-10. Kawamoto made short work of the game and the match against Alain, sending a vicious backhand for the winner.