So yesterday was unfortunately another rough day for Canada. The women's team fell to Ecuador 2-1 after a shakeup in the lineup that saw Josee sit out due to illness and Jen team up with Brandi to play doubles as well as singles. It wasn't enough to pull out a victory though and thus medals completely eluded the women's racquetball team at this Pan Am Games.
The men didn't fare any better though this round. Also falling to Ecuador 2-1. Positional changes were made to elicit a better result against our would-be opponents, the Americans, in the semi finals. Putting our best doubles team together (Mike and Kris) then myself at the #1 singles and Vinnie at #2. I wasn't there to watch the doubles match as it was almost 4 hours before mine was scheduled (assuming I would even have to play, which given the state of my hip when I woke up was hopefully not going to be necessary). They must have played very poorly though because they fell 11-8 tiebreaker which meant my match would be the difference maker after Vinnie beat his opponent. I was texted about the doubles result shortly after it happened so I had lots of time to prep my hip for the inevitable running battle that would ensue with my opponent. For those of you who don't know, Fernando Rios is the racquetball equivalent of a jackrabbit on crack, with a wicked forehand. I lost to him at the Pan Am Championships in Nicaragua, a match I played very poorly in and was hungry for revenge but if I couldn't move that would be a difficult task. I saw the physio at the Team Canada center hours before I had to leave and she worked out the worst of the soreness, then I made sure I got to the courts a full hour before we were scheduled to begin so that I could get a good long hit to work out the rest of it. Vinnie won fairly easily so we were up.
I came out of the gate strong and playing well. Frankly I think I took him off guard because he seemed on his heels as well, not covering the ball like I thought he would. All that changed when he got the serve back trailing 1-7. He began to chip away at my lead, alternating good serves with brutally long rallies and before long he had tied at 7-7 and began pulling away. I regrouped though and went on another point streak, leading 13-10 before relinquishing the serve once again. I couldn't seem to put points together after that though. He covered the court extremely well and I got frustrated, making errors at late stages of each rally which either gave him the point or an easy shot for it. I would fall 15-13.
The second game started out almost opposite with him jumping out to a lead 7-3. I was getting the serve back but just not scoring so I changed to a drive serve which proved effective. I would get back to 7-6 before he relieved me of my serve and scored a few more points. I switched back to the lob and he while he was just giving me ceiling ball setups I couldn't seem to capitalize and he extended his lead to 12-7. I went back to the drive serve and pulled up to 10-12. He got the serve back and scored a point for 13-10. I got the serve back and drove serve another 3 to tie at 13. He took a timeout to regroup. I felt like I had the momentum and when I went back in to serve I decided to hit a jam drive right into him thinking he wouldn't expect it. Unfortunately I left it short. He flipped to the forehand and ripped the ball right at me but it impossibly flew right between my legs, clipping my shorts on the way by (the ref didn't see it apparently) and flat killing in the middle of the court. He would make no mistakes on the next 2 points, taking them and the match 15-13, 15-13.
As deflated as I was after losing our doubles semifinal to Venezuela earlier, this was worse as the team was counting on me. I had the power to bring us into the semifinals and played just poorly enough to lose. It was hearbreaking. There are a lot of things I could blame my performance on but that's not me. I'm not going to make excuses. I lost and the result was the team lost because of it. It really sucks. But I'm trying to move on from it and now that the tournament is over I will get to see a little more of Guadalajara. Kaitlyn and I have planned to do some exploring downtown. Look for the post tonight or tomorrow with some great pictures. I'm not sure how much reporting I'll do on the rest of the tournament because I'm probably not going to be there today or tomorrow but I will be blogging about my adventures in and around Guadalajara so whoever is interested can keep on reading. Check out theracquetballblog.blogspot.com for tournament results! I'm out...