WEST ALLIS, Wisc. -- The 39th edition of the Milwaukee Handball Classic and USHA Women's Classic continued play after an action-packed first day at the Wisconsin Athletic Club. The top-3 Women’s Classic seeds advanced to the semifinals on Saturday, leaving the final spot to be decided between No. 4 Taylor Rumping (Springfield, Mo.) and No. 5 Kristen Hughes (Austin, Texas). The two All-American Collegiate players always have fiercely contested matches and are evenly matched, and this episode didn’t disappoint.
In game one, Hughes controlled the flow with a strong service game that kept Rumping playing defense for the majority of the rallies, winning 21-12. The second game saw Rumping showcase her shot-making abilities and athleticism, as she roared back with a convincing 21-13 win and the match’s momentum going into the tiebreaker. But in the third set, Hughes picked up her service game and neutralized Rumping’s power en route to an 11-5 victory and a meeting with top-seeded Ciana Ni Churraoin (Mankato, Minn.).
Ni Churraoin hasn’t been tested yet in this Women’s Classic, and the semifinal against Hughes was no exception. Ni Churraoin rolled into the final with a 21-2, 21-2 victory.
On the bottom bracket, Megan McCann (Co. Armagh, Ireland) was doing her best to duplicate Ni Churraoin’s performance by holding everyone to single digits through the first three rounds. She was well on her way to keeping the streak intact with a 21-2 victory of Mikaila Mitchell (Blue Springs, Mo.) in the first game of their semifinal. Mitchell came back strong in the second game, trading shots with McCann to keep things closer before falling 21-13. Mitchell will meet Hughes in tomorrow’s Women’s Classic Third Place final. The top-two seeds Ni Churraoin and McCann will play for the Women’s Classic Open title tomorrow at 11 a.m.
Sean Lenning (Tucson) and Killian Carroll (Boston) will meet in the Milwaukee Classic Men’s Pro final on Sunday morning. Lenning survived two tiebreakers, the first was a comeback effort against rising star Sean Kerr (Co. Tyrone, Ireland). After dropping the first game 17-21, Lenning stormed back to win the second 21-10 and carry the momentum into the tiebreaker for an 11-6 victory.
In the semifinal against Luis Cordova Jr. (Juarez, Mexico), Lenning pulled out a close 21-17 first game win only to see Cordova take game two by just two points (19-21). In the tiebreaker, Cordova couldn’t capitalize on his second game success while Lenning seemingly killed the ball from every position on the court to cruise to an 11-3 win.
In the other semifinal, Vic Perez (Los Angeles) was poised for a possible upset against Carroll, continuing his hot-shooting that produced a quarterfinal upset against Daniel Cordova (Atlanta) in a quarterfinal tiebreaker win.
Perez was the aggressor to start the match, shooting and rekilling shots that wowed the packed Wisconsin Athletic Club gallery. While Perez was on his scoring streak, a calm Carroll weathered the storm and kept within striking distance, down 8-12. But as the game progressed, Perez’s success waned, while Carroll began to pick up his intensity, finally catching up to his opponent to take a small 16-14 lead. Carroll continued to raise the level of his play, dazzling the crowd with some incredible gets that fueled him along for a 21-18 victory.
In the second game, Carroll dipped deeper into his energy tank, raising his intensity and slamming the door shut for a possible Perez upset, winning 21-5 to secure his spot in the final.
See the updated draws and match times at the tournament's r2sports page HERE.