MINNEAPOLIS -- The 67th USHA National Collegiate Handball Championships continued late into Friday with doubles competition and first rounds of the elimination draws. Top players in the Open divisions thrilled fans and teammates through two rounds of play to determine Saturday's semifinal matches. Top seed Galen Riordan (University College Dublin) topped Kevin Diggins (Dublin City University) in two games 21-11, 21-9 while Tyler Stoffel (Minnesota State, Mankato) stopped Diarmuid Mulkerrins (Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology), 21-10, 21-10.
The matches of the day belonged to the other Open quarterfinalists. Coleman McGrath (UC-Santa Barbara) shook off a first-game setback to deny Michael Gaulton (Minnesota State, Mankato), 19-21, 21-15, 11-8. David Walsh (Cork Institute of Technology) was cruising in the quarterfinals with a huge 21-3 win over Niall Joyce (Dublin City University). Joyce halted Walsh's momentum and turned the match into a brawling back-and-forth affair eventually pulling out a dramatic 21-19 win to for a deciding tiebreaker. Neither opponent could gain any sizable lead as they played to a tense 10-10 stalemate, until Walsh finally secured the winning point to advance 11-10.
Walsh plays Stoffel while Riordan faces McGrath to determine the Men's Open final.
In today's Women's Open action, defending champ Fiona Tully (Dublin City University) will tussle with teammate Meadhbh Ni Dhalaig in the first semifinal, while 2017 champ Ciana Ni Churraoin (Minnesota State, Mankato) will battle Sinead Meagher (Limerick Institute of Technology) for a spot in Sunday's final.
The Collegiates are an amazing spectacle, featuring teams from various universities and attracting a diverse crowd of players from all over the world, ranging from Open to Novice level. Viewing is free to the public.
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