The Midwest Tour Series kicked off in Chicago on April 21. Despite the cold weather, 70 teams made it out to compete in the Advanced, Intermediate, and Women's Divisions. On Sunday 15 teams returned to Cricket Hill for the Coed Division as well.
In a field of top teams and high-caliber mash-ups, the mash-up Hoodiez of Ryan Fitzgerald and Dylan Fogarty came out on top. This duo just edged out the #6 Point Loma Spike (Kenny Orega and Zach Wood) in one of the most exciting finals in recent memory. In the Women's Division, Do-Si-Do (Julie Haselton and Christina Coppola) took first in the 7 team Division. On Sunday, Fogarty and Haselton became the first players to earn two pitchers in one weekend as they won the Coed Division.
Point Loma Spike (Zach Wood and Kenny Ortega, second), Hoodiez (Dylan Fogarty and Ryan Fitzgerald, first), and Chico Rico (Skyler Boles and George Rizk, third) pose for a picture after the Chicago Tour Stop.
The Chicago Tour Stop brought 16 Premier teams who participated in Swiss-style power pool play. These were the top 16 seeds after pool play:
- Point Loma Spike (Kenny Ortega and Zach Wood)
- Hoodiez (Dylan Fogarty and Ryan Fitzgerald)
- No Dinks (Chris Hornacek and Sam Hynes)
- Chico Rico (Skyler Boles and George Rizk)
- L.E.D. (Grayson Ayres and Harding Brumby)
- Joey and Joey (Joey Hafertepe and Joey Pierron)
- Tetelestai (Logan Cornelius and Jesse Throw)
- Origin Moan (Patrick Drucker and Matt Bohnen)
- Shmaneuvments (Brandon Spector and Nick Abramson)
- Total Strangers (Jack Bushart and Chris Wilkins)
- Origin Flow (Nick Daub and Mike Priller)
- Origin Valor (Mike Zagone and Joey Conolley)
- Origin Organic (Jack Matthews and Bradley Thompson)
- Cho's Bros (Micah Corbett and Caleb Royse)
- BoliVVia (David Gonzales and Tom Cortesi)
- Origin Insanity (David Aschenbrenner and Wyatt Semke)
Outside of these sixteen Premier teams, many other skilled players were located in the other pools. This lead to the bottom four power pool teams be upset in the round of 32.
Taking the top seed out of the non-power pools, TBD (Nathan Larsen and Jonathan Schmitz) of Milwaukee took out the #16 seed Origin Insanity. BoliVVia fell to Wicked Spikes (Hunter Greer and Michael Rogers). The half-Premier team Maximum Whiff of Zac Vance of MAXIMUM EFFORT and Erik Schlick of Whift Cream took out the Power Ranked Cho's Bros. To finish the upsets, Origin Thunder (Chris Bradley and Ethan Datwyler) prevailed over their club mates on Origin Organic.
After this slew of upsets, the top seeded teams won their round of 16 games, leading to these quarterfinal match-ups:
- Point Loma Spike v. Origin Moan
- Hoodiez v. Tetelestai
- No Dinks v. Joey and Joey
- Chico Rico v. L.E.D.
Point Loma Spike defeated the mash-up team in two games to move into the semifinals.
Tetelestai gave Hoodiez a bit of a scare by taking game one. Fogarty and Fitzgerald then tightened up their play to take the series.
No Dinks defeated Joey and Joey solidly in game one. In game two, Joey and Joey held a lead near the end of the game, but Hornacek and Hynes converted some defensive touches to avoid a game three situation.
L.E.D. took game one from Chico Rico by landing serves when Boles and Rizk couldn't. In the next two games, though, Boles and Rizk found many defensive touches to give them the edge, leading to a three-game win.
A group photo at the Chicago Tour Stop.
Hoodiez handled No Dinks well in the semifinals to move onto the finals, as expected. In the other semifinals match, Chico Rico found some trouble with Point Loma's serves to drop game one. Game two was closer but Boles and Rizk could not find a break to close it late in the match. Boles and Rizk went on to take the third place match over No Dinks.
This set up the finals as Point Loma Spike v. Hoodiez; the #6 team versus a mash-up of the #3 and #4 teams. It was a good one.
The first game started as a tight affair with Hoodiez holding the advantage. Half-way through the game they find a break to extend their lead and another break late in the game to go up by three. Point Loma could not find many breaks themselves and Hoodiez was able to take game one 21-18.
In game two, Point Loma held the lead, even leading by three breaks late in the game. Hoodiez chipped back slowly and at 19-20, Wood opted to play a pocket and then mishit his shot, sending it right to Fitzgerald for the easy dig and tying break point. The next point, Fogarty challenged Ortega with a serve and found a dig and break of his own, giving Hoodiez a 21-20 lead. This set up something great.
What came next was a whole game's worth of extra points with Hoodiez and Point Loma trading breaks. Filled with long rallies and chances to win, the game pushed all the way to 49-48 with Point Loma serving. Fitzgerald popped his hit far and Ortega chased after it. Fogarty found the dig on Ortega's return and put the ball past Point Loma. Most thought the match was still going, but Fogarty called himself on contacting the set, which is a loss of point, ending the second game at 50-48 Point Loma.
After this long exciting game two, game three returned to the form of game one with no big leads prevailing. Once again the game was sent into extra points. This time around, at 30-29, Fitzgerald found a dig on a short shot of Wood, sealing the series and tournament for Hoodiez with a put away.
This finals was the longest finals (197 points) and featured the longest game (97 points in game two) in an SRA event.
Fogarty and Fitzgerald will be competing with their standard teams this weekend in Lancaster. Can either Origin Vengeance or Anchored LI take out Wabi Sabi like Point Loma did last month in San Francisco?
Delaney's Dusters (Jurie Victor and Ryan Delaney, second), Deep Pockets (Henry Weinberg and Sam Teal, first), and Sheeesh (John Lewis and Chris Russomano, third) pose a picture after the Chicago Tour Stop.
With some upsets in the round of 16 and quarterfinals, the semifinals match-ups were #9 Sheesh vs. #4 Delaney's Dusters and #15 Spike Tyson vs. #3 Deep Pockets. Delaney's Dusters and Deep Pockets each won their semifinals matches in two games and faced off in the finals with Deep Pockets coming out on top. Sheesh beat out Spike Tyson to take 3rd place.
Charlie's Angels (Alex Perry and Angela Becker, third), Do-Si-Do (Julie Haselton and Christina Coppola, first), and Radical Reaction (Elizabeth Hearn and Rachel Luczak, second) pose for a picture after the Chicago Tour Stop.
The favorite, Do-Si-Do flew straight to the grand finals of the Women's double-elimination bracket. Charlie's Angels beat Radical Reaction in the winner's semifinals but Radical Reaction got revenge in the loser's finals with a close three-game win. Do-Si-Do then defeated Radical Reaction in the grand finals to take the tournament.
Spike or Bust (Reba Elliot and Erik Schlick, second), drip (Dylan Fogarty and Julie Haselton, first), and Ballers Without Borders (Lydia Harmon and Harding Brumby, third) pose for a picture after the Chicago Tour Stop.
15 teams returned to the field on Sunday for the Coed Division. In three close games in quarterfinals #5 Spike or Bust (Reba Elliot and Erik Schlick) took out #4 Shoulda Played with Shaun (Nick Gonzales and Christina Coppola).
The semi-finals match-ups then featured #1 Pocket Pickers (Alex Perry and Jack Mathews) vs. #5 Spike or Bust and #2 Drip (Julie Haselton and Dylan Fogarty) vs. #3 Ballers with Borders (Harding Brumby and Lydia Harmon).
Spike or Bust scored another upset and defeated Pocket Pickers in the semifinals and headed to the finals vs. the favorite, Drip. Drip took the finals in two games. The third place match featured a close three games with Ballers Without Borders coming out on top.
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