November 18th, 2010 by John Ellis
On the road again….. I’m heading down to Los Angeles this morning to watch a little junior racquetball while representing the best company in racquetball, Ektelon!! I’m excited about this trip as I’ll be travelling with my homies from Stockton. Making the five and a half hour trek with me is Jose Rojas, Bobby Horn, Jose Serrano and Jesse Serna. We’ll be heavily supporting Jose Diaz and Markie Rojas as they make their way through the Boy’s 16′s Singles and Doubles draws. Naturally I’ll be pulling for the US Team but it’s not that clear cut for me anymore as I’ve gotten to know a lot of international racquetball families and there are a few players outside of the US that I’ll be rooting for. All in all, this will be a great three day trip and allows me to stay in touch with junior racquetball.
So, as I look at the Playoff Bracket Draws this morning, I’ve noticed a few interesting match ups that will happen in the next few days. Here’s my take on the FIVE MOST INTERESTING MATCHUPS @ THE JUNIOR WORLDS………
5) I’ll begin with my girl Devon Pimentelli and her future semifinal match with Maria Jose Vargas. Devon is a player that I work with about once a month and she has a ton of natural talent. However, she’s a shy little thing and sometimes that personality trait comes out on the court, causing her to play unagressive. That can’t happen vs Maria Jose as she packs a ton of energy and desire into her game. Maria has owned the matchups so far but I know Devon has been chomping at the bit to get another chance at Maria and she’ll get it in the semis Friday at 2PM.
4) Thanks to the upset loss by Alex Cardona in his pool play, he’s now seeded 8th and staring directly at Taylor Knoth in the quarter finals of the Boy’s 18′s Singles. This is not good for either player as Alex beat Taylor in the finals two years ago in the 16 & Under Worlds. But times change and now they’re playing early. Advantage Taylor in this one as I believe he’ll carry more confidence this year, his last as a junior. He’s a strong dude that has had some good experience over the last two years. If he plays as well as he can, he’ll win in two.
3) Staying in the Boy’s 18′s, whomever wins the Knoth vs Cardona match will then have to deal with Carlos Keller, assuming he can get by Mexico’s Jaime Martell. I believe he will and Carlos will advance to the semis and in my opinion, beyond. Carlos is my pick for the Boy’s 18′s so I expect him to work his way through the draw and meet Brad Kirch in the finals. I’ve been aware of Carlitos for some time now as I’ve traveled through Bolivia in the past and had several games against him. He’s an awesome talent that will threaten to be a top player on the IRT some day. He’s my pick for the next two years!!
2) Making my way back to the girls and you find maybe the match of the tournament in the Girls 18 & Under semi finals with Aubrey O’Brien vs Jessica Parrilla. This isn’t a sure thing as Jessica will have to get by Maria Paz, but she will and she’ll be ready for Aubrey in that semi. Aubrey is a top level WPRO player at 18 years of age with a ton of great experience. Jessica is a lot of fun to watch with her all out style on the court and serious attitude if things aren’t going her way. I expect a tough tiebreaker in this one and I’ll resist the urge to make a pick this time. I’ll be rooting for Aubrey as a Nor Cal player but wouldn’t be too bummed if Jessica won. Match of the tourney and seats will be tough to come by.
1) Lastly, I have to go with my favorite junior match up out of all of them. Jose Diaz vs. Markie Rojas in the Boy’s 16′s final. Now, both are definitely no sure thing and I dare to say that Markie will have a tough time making it to the finals. But I’ve learned never to count these two out when they have a chance to play each other because at only 17 years of age for each, they’ve played a ton of mathes already and always seem to find each other in draws, whether it’s junior or open play. The way these two communicate with each other is hilarious to watch and I probabaly like that part of the match better than the play. Diaz is always a showman and Markie always looks so stressed against Jose. Jose Diaz won the last match at a tourney here in Stockton a few months ago, but that’s certainly not the finals of the Junior Worlds. Markie’s ankle was badly sprained about eight days ago and I’m sure it’s affecting him. Both have a long way to go and a couple of Mexican players to get by first, but if they do then I’ll take Diaz is this match as he’ll pounce on Markie and the bad ankle, making sure to make the most of the opportunity.
Okay, I’ll try to blog again on the morning of the finals, which will be Saturday. I’m sure some of these matchups won’t take place but I sure hope they all do!!
Keep em rollin……………. Elli