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Menard double dips Williams to win NAPT Division II Championships

Veronique Menard and Susan Williams

It was Canada versus the US in the finals of the North American Pool Tour's Division II Championships on the weekend of February 24-26. The US, in the person of Susan Williams, representing the Arizona Women's Billiard Tour, grabbed the hot seat, but Canada, represented by Veronique Menard, with the Circuit de Feminin du Quebec, came back to double dip Williams in the finals and claim the title. The $5,000-added event, hosted by Hard Times Billiards in Sacramento, CA drew 54 entrants, drawn from 10 Division II Regional Tours. The event was streamed live throughout the weekend by Rail2Rail Productions.
 
The 54 entrants were divided up into eight round robin 'flights,' each yielding four players who competed in a 32-player, double elimination bracket that assured each of them some portion of the $10,400 prize package. Winning their flights and advancing, along with their three closest point-earning competitors were Nicole Keeney, Tina Malm, Veronique Menard, Michelle Cortez, Meredith Lynch, Susan Williams, Jeannie Seaver, and Julia Gabriel.
 
Following victories over Katrina Lyman, Revelina Um, and Liz Lovely, Susan Williams advanced to a winners' side semifinal against Tina Malm. On her end of the bracket, Veronique Menard got by Laura Bendikas, Marion Poole, and Jeannie Seaver, to draw Maria Juana in the other winners' side semifinal.
 
Williams had been alternating between relatively easy matches (if anything at this level can be considered 'easy') and highly competitive matches, including a double hill fight against Lovely in the winners' side quarterfinals. By comparison, she got into the hot seat match with a 7-2 win over Malm.  Menard, on the other hand, saw Juana chalk up two more racks against her (5) than any other opponent to that point. In their first of three, Menard and Williams locked up in a double hill battle that eventually left Williams in the hot seat.
 
On the loss side, Malm met up with Jeannie Seaver, the WPBA's most recent Regional Tour Champion from that January event in Tallahasse, FL. After her defeat at the hands of Menard in a winners' side quarterfinal, Seaver got by Leslie Bernardi 7-1 and Stephanie Hefner 7-2 to draw Malm. Juana drew Lovely, who, following her defeat at the hands of Williams, had downed Nicole Fleming, double hill, and Meredith Lynch 7-5.
 
Malm squeaked by Seaver 7-6, and in the quarterfinals, met up with Lovely, who'd eliminated Juana 7-5. In her 'easiest' loss-side match, Lovely downed Malm 7-2. In what proved to be her toughest loss-side match, Lovely fell to Menard 7-3 in the semifinals.
 
Menard took the opening set of the true double elimination final against Williams 7-4. She took the second set by the same score, and claimed (for Canada) the event title.
The North American Pool Tour thanked the ownership and staff at Hard Times in Sacramento, along with sponsors J. Pechauer Cues, EYO Cues, Rail2Rail Productions, Tara Williams, and MZTam Trinh Designs. Though the complete NAPT schedule of events is still undergoing revisions, the next firmly scheduled event will be the Summer Classic, to be hosted by Shooter's in Chicago on the weekend of August 17-20. Another event has been firmly scheduled for November 2-5 at Mark Griffin's new pool venue, Griff's Billiards in Las Vegas. 

Lovely wins two out of three versus Frideres to take Midwest 9-Ball Ladies title

Liz Lovely rallied from an opening set defeat at the hands of Jessica Frideres in the finals of the Midwest 9-Ball Tour's $700-added Ladies event, held on the weekend of July 8-10, to win the second set and claim the ladies' title. The event, held in conjunction with a One Pocket and Open event (separate stories) drew 24 entrants to Shooter's in Olathe, KS.
 
They met first in a winners' side semifinal, as Kathleen Morast and Karen Lincoln met in the other one. Lovely sent Frideres to the loss side 7-2, and in the hot seat match, faced Morast, who'd defeated Lincoln 7-5. Lovely claimed the hot seat 7-4 over Lincoln and waited on Frideres.
 
On the loss side, Frideres picked up Amy Boulware, who'd defeated Monica Dibben, double hill, to reach her. Morast drew Rhea Brooks, who'd gotten by Alisha Ropes 7-4. Frideres shut out Boulware, and in the quarterfinals, faced Morast, who'd eliminated Ropes, double hill.
 
Frideres took the quarterfinal match over Morast 7-3, and then eliminated Lincoln 7-4 in the semifinals. With a bit of momentum on her side, Frideres took the opening set of the true double elimination final 7-2. Lovely came back to take the second set 7-5 and claim the event title.

Lovely stops loss-side by Keeney to go undefeated on Midwest Ladies Regional Tour

Liz Lovely

The last time Liz Lovely and Nicole Keeney squared off in a final match, during the third stop on the Midwest Ladies Regional Tour (MLRT) in April, Keeney came out on top, defeating Lovely twice to claim the title. On Saturday, June 18, they met again, only this time, it was Lovely who came out on top, stopping a loss-side bid by Keeney in their only meeting, in the finals. The $500-added event drew 13 entrants to Miss Cue North in Toledo, OH.
 
With Keeney already at work on the loss side, thanks to a double hill defeat at the hands of Charlotte Ashley, Liz Lovely advanced to a winners' side semifinal against Cathy McDaniel. Adina Pelletier, in the meantime, faced Toni Tucker. Lovely moved into the hot seat match 7-3 over McDaniel, and was joined by Pelletier, who'd sent Tucker to the loss side 7-5. Lovely shut Pelletier out and sat in the hot seat, waiting on Keeney.
 
Keeney opened her loss-side run against Carla Herevia. A 6-1 victory over Herevia was followed by a double hill win over Angela Mears, which set Keeney up to face McDaniel. Tucker picked up Stephanie Goens, who'd completed two straight double hill wins over Charlotte Ashley and Lupe Harpster.
 
Keeney eliminated McDaniel 6-2, and in the quarterfinals, met with Tucker, who'd defeated Goens 6-3. Keeney took the quarterfinal match over Tucker 6-4, and, as Lovely had done in the hot seat match, shut Pelletier out in the semifinals. 
 
Lovely ended Keeney's run in the finals, but not without a double hill fight. As winner, Lovely qualified for the North American Pool Tour's next stop in August. A scheduling conflict led Lovely to pass the qualification prize on to Keeney.
 
The next stop on the MLRT, scheduled for August 13, will be hosted by 8-Ball Sports Bar in Columbus, OH.

Keeney gets by Lovely twice to win third stop on Midwest Ladies Regional Tour

In a field considerably diminished by snow and ice, still dogging quite a few Northern regions of the country, Nicole Keeney and Liz Lovely showed up to play at the third stop on the Midwest Ladies Regional Tour on Saturday, April 9. They played twice, in the hot seat and finals, with Keeney winning them both to complete an undefeated, short run at the $250-added event that drew 12 entrants to Snookers, in Livonia, MI.
 
Keeney faced Carla Herevia in one winners' side semifinal, as Lovely (for unspecified reasons, playing with a house cue throughout the tournament), squared off against Charlotte Ashley. Keeney gave up only one rack to Herevia. Lovely gave up three to Ashley. In the hot seat match that followed, Lovely chalked up four against Keeney and moved to the semifinals.
 
Herevia picked up Ali Seatle on the loss side, who'd gotten by Cathy McDaniel 6-4 and Jaki Lovrince 6-3. Ashley ran into Joset Seltz, who'd defeated Michelle Barth, double hill, and tour director Angela Williams 6-4. Angela Mears, who'd lost to Williams, and Lupe Harpster, who'd lost to Lovrince rounded out the field of 12.
 
Ashley eliminated Seltz 6-2, while Herevia ended Seatle's bid 6-4. Ashley defeated Herevia 6-3 in the quarterfinal match that followed, and had her own bid ended by Lovely 6-1 in the semifinals. As one might have expected from the finals combination of Keeney and Lovely, the match went double hill, before Keeney finished it at 7-6 to claim the event title.

Keeney outlasts Coffman to win Women’s event of the Chinook Winds 8-Ball Championships

Nicole Keeney with Men’s winner Skyler Woodward

Either way, one of the two finalists in the Women's division of the Chinook Winds 8-Ball Championships, held on the weekend of March 11-13, was going to chalk up her first 2016 title. Nicole Keeney and Mary Coffman, both looking for that win, squared off in the hot seat match, and twice in the finals. Keeney took two out of three to claim the title. The $5,000-added event  drew 37 women to the Chinook Winds Casino Resort in Lincoln City, Oregon.
 
After being awarded an opening round bye, Keeney advanced through Carissa Biggs, Amanda Pulley and Heather Cortez to draw Kim Jones in a winners' side semifinal. Coffman, also awarded an opening round bye, defeated Melyssa Chasteen, survived a double hill match against Jeanne Christiansen, and defeated Carla Jean Beers, to pick up Cynthia Sliva in the other winners' side semifinal. Coffman downed Sliva 5-2, and was joined in the hot seat match by Keeney, who'd survived a double hill fight against Jones. Keeney took the opening round of her three against Coffman in convincing fashion, shutting her out to claim the hot seat.
 
On the loss side, Sliva drew Liz Lovely, who was in the midst of a five-match, loss-side winning streak that would take her as far as the quarterfinals. Lovely defeated Cortez 5-3 and Biggs 5-1, to reach Sliva. Jones picked up Beers, who'd gotten by Linda Carter in a shutout and defeated Susie O'Conner 5-3. Jones survived a double hill match versus Beers, and met up in the quarterfinals, with Lovely, who'd eliminated Sliva 5-3.
 
Jones ended Lovely's loss-side streak 5-3, only to be turned away in a double hill fight, by Coffman in the semifinals. The battle for the first 2016 title was on.
 
Coffman immediately made it a compelling story by bouncing back from her shutout defeat in the hot seat match to defeat Keeney 5-2 in the opening set of the true double elimination final. Keeney rallied in the second set, defeating Coffman by the same 5-2 score, to claim the event title.

Woodward and Bryant chalk up 29th Annual Music City titles

Skyler Woodward and Shane McMinn (Photo courtesy of Pool Action TV)

Skyler Woodward took the loss-side route to meet and defeat Shane McMinn in the finals of the 29th Annual Music City Open, held on the weekend of January 13-17. Brittany Bryant picked the undefeated option in capturing the Ladies title, defeating Liz Lovely in the finals. The $6,000-added Open drew 128 entrants, while the $1,000-added Ladies event drew 64 to JOB Billiard Club in Madison, TN. Selected matches were streamed throughout the weekend via the services of PoolActionTV and its host, Ray Hansen. The booth saw Buddy Hall take a turn at the microphone.
 
Shane McMinn, who, in a field that included competitors like Woodward, Justin Bergman, Johnny Archer, Robb Saez, and Jeremy Jones (among others), might have been perceived as something of a dark horse at the beginning of the Open event. He was raising a few eyebrows as he moved into his winners' side semifinal match against Woodward. Jeremy Jones, in the meantime, squared off against Richie Richeson. Jones sent Richeson to the loss side 11-2, as McMinn raised a few more eyebrows with an 11-5 victory over Mosconi Cup competitor, Woodward. McMinn went on to claim the hot seat 11-7 over Jones.
 
On the loss side, the casualty list was growing, and it included Archer, Bergman, Josh Roberts, Alex Olinger, and Jason Klatt (again, among others). By the time Woodward and Richeson showed up, the loss-side list was down to Shane Winters, and geographically appropriate Jonathan "Hennessee from Tennessee" Pinegar. Winters drew Richeson and defeated him 11-1. Woodward got Pinegar and took him out 11-4.
 
Woodward ended Winters' weekend with an 11-9 victory in the quarterfinals and then eliminated Jones 11-7 in the semifinals. Early in the re-match, double elimination finals, it looked as though it was going to be a grind. Woodward and McMinn fought back and forth to a 7-7 tie in the opening set, before Woodward caught a gear and closed it out with four straight. McMinn had dropped his last 9-ball. Woodward shut him out 11-0 in the second set to claim the title.
 
In the Ladies' tournament, it was the eventual winner, Brittany Bryant and Stacie Bourbeau in the hot seat match. Bryant had sent Stephanie Goins to the loss side 7-1, as Bourbeau was defeating Liz Lovely 7-5. Bryant claimed the hot seat 7-2 and waited on the return of Lovely.
 
On the loss side, Goins and Lovely picked up Samantha Patton and Julie Cone, respectively. Lovely and Patton prevailed to face each other in the quarterfinals, won by Lovely. Lovely took advantage of her re-match versus Bourbeau in the semifinals, winning for a shot at Bryant in the hot seat.  Bryant closed it out in the finals to take the Music City Ladies title.
 
In two brackets (A & B) of a Midnight Madness tournament, Justin Bergman went home with the top prize in the A bracket, with Danny Smith in the runner-up slot. Shane Winters took home the top prize in the B bracket, with Josh Roberts in second place.

The Texas Tornado chalks up her third straight Texas Open title

Jennifer Kraber and Vivian Villarreal

Vivian Villarreal, who'll be spearheading her own Tornado Open tournament at the end of the month (September 30 – October 4), took time out from what must certainly be a flurry of activity in preparation, to chalk up her third straight Texas Open title on Labor Day weekend. The $2,000-added Ladies event drew a full field of 32 entrants, and was run concurrently with a $7,000-added Open event that drew a full-field 128, and was won by Skyler Woodward (separate story).
 
Villarreal's march to the winners' circle was almost (a relative word, of course) derailed in the finals by Jennifer Kraber, a frequent 'flyer' on the OB Cues Ladies Tour, and payout lists for 15 years. Kraber's threat came from deep on the loss side, as she lost her third round match, double hill, to Belinda Calhoun, and embarked on a five-match winning run to get to those finals.
 
Calhoun, in the meantime, advanced to a winners' side semifinal against Villarreal, while always-a-threat Liz Lovely faced Kim Sanders in the other one. Combined, Lovely and Villarreal gave up a single rack in those semifinals (Lovely gave it up to Sanders). Villarreal kept the trend alive by giving up only a single rack to Lovely in the hot seat match. One win away from her third straight Texas Open, the Texas Tornado idled in the hot seat, and watched as Kraber completed her loss-side run.
 
Kraber had defeated Julia Rapp 7-3 and Gail Eaton 7-2, when she ran into Sanders, coming over from the winners' side semifinal. Calhoun, coming over, picked up Ming Ng, recent winner over Nicole McDaniel 7-3 and Chris Fields 7-5. Ng eliminated Calhoun 7-4, as Kraber got locked up in a double hill fight against Sanders. Kraber prevailed to face Ng in the quarterfinals.
 
Ng came within a game of forcing Kraber into her second straight double hill match, but Kraber advanced 7-5, to get locked up in a double hill battle versus Lovely in the semifinals. Kraber advanced again, this time, facing a Tornado, she was going to have to defeat twice to claim the event title.
 
In a tight match, Villarreal and Kraber battled, while Charlie Bryant and Robb Saez were competing at an adjacent table in the semifinals of the Men's event. Villarreal reached the hill at 6-4, and in the 11th rack, was shooting at the 9-ball. It rattled (or, as PoolActionTV commentators would often say, "boinged') in a corner pocket, allowing Kraber to sink it and draw within a game of double hill, and two, to force a second set. Villarreal put a stop to any such notion and finished it at 7-4.

Young Stars Shine Bright at Midwest Ladies Regional Tour Stop

Liz Lovely

Sixteen women competed in the Midwest Ladies’ Regional Tour Stop #4 at 8 Ball Sports Bar & Billiards in Columbus, Ohio.  
 
The first round competitors put up the best fight against the two young stars of MLRT Stop #5: Midwest favorite 23-year-old Liz Lovely, who beat Julie Skripac-Cooper 7-6, and newcomer 21-year-old “Young Gun” Rae Norgaard, who beat Curtisha Alford 7-6. However, these two young women delivered astonishing knock-out punches in the second and third rounds: Lovely defeated Rosanna Jarvis Ramirez (7-1) and Trish Vermule (7-0), and Norgaard won against Julie Hunter (7-3) and Connie O’Heron (7-3).
 
Spectators and fellow players alike were in awe of the ferocity and focus delivered by Lovely, as she smooth-stroked her way to a victory over Norgaard in the semi-finals (7-3). Young Gun begrudgingly took her seat in the B-side chair and awaited her chance to get back to Lovely. 
 
Meanwhile on the B-side, Columbus native and local legend Shannon Dunn (who struggled in the first round against Hunter, tore through the competition. The quarter finals saw Dunn victorious over Vermule (6-5) and O’Heron won against Hunter (6-4). Dunn then defeated O’Heron in a wicked B-side semi-final round (6-4); O’Heron finished 4th.
 
Not hitting a great stride, but proving great competition, the first players out were Curtisha Alford, Adina Pelletier, Tabitha Carmack, and Chelsea Richert. Ramirez, Angela Williams, Monica Hill, and Cooper finished 9th. Angela Mears and Debbie Cervantes went out in 7th place. 
 
In the finals of the B-side Norgaard and Dunn met again. Young Gun was ready this time, and came out of the gate swinging! The battle was fast and furious, each player running balls, hitting straight as they went tit-for-tat with a mid-match score of 4-3. However, a fatal error on Dunn’s part gave the lead to Norgaard 5-3, who broke and ran the last rack. Dunn finished 3rd.
 
Fresh off her victory, and determined to redeem her earlier defeat, Norgaard was in dead-stroke, pulling out a 9-ball break and two break-n-runs, defeating Lovely in the first set 7-2! 
 
Lovely wasted no time, took no breaks before approaching the table to flip for the next set. You could see the sheer focus from the seasoned player, known across the Midwest for her stunning juniors record and major achievements since moving up to semi-professional play. Norgaard missed a total of 3 shots in the second set against Lovely, and that was all it took. Lovely returned the favor, defeating Norgaard 6-2 for the win!
 
MLRT Stop #6 will take place on September 12, 2015 at Plush Pockets in Warren, MI. For more info, see their website at www.midwestladiestour.com and/or contact the tour directors at director@midwestladiestour.com.
 

2015 US Bar Table Championships 8-Ball Matches Released on YouTube

CSI is pleased to announce that the 2015 US Bar Table Championships 8-Ball Division matches have been released on the CSI YouTube channel.  Twenty-One (21) matches featuring some of the best players in the world can be viewed in their entirety absolutely free!
 
The 2015 US Bar Table Championships were held February 16-22, 2015 at the Grand Sierra Resort & Casino in Reno, NV.  The matches were recorded in “The Kamui Arena” with high definition equipment and full-time commentary by Ken Shuman and other special guests. CSI would like to extend a huge THANK YOU to our primary sponsors:
 
Kamui: “The Official Tip of the 22nd US Bar Table Championships!”
OB: “The Official Cue of the 22nd US Bar Table Championships!”
 
Below are the matches on this YouTube playlist:
 
Match 1: Alex Olinger vs Josh Roberts
Match 2: Dan Louie vs Jeremy Sossei
Match 3: Jayson Shaw vs Robb Saez
Match 4: Mark Tadd vs Justin Bergman
Match 5: Rory Hendrickson vs Jeffrey Ignacio
Match 6: Danny Olson vs Tristan Hansen
Match 7: Taylor Hansen vs Liz Lovely
Match 8: Oscar Dominguez vs Tim Baron
Match 9: David Gomez vs Mike Massey
Match 10: Nick Kruger vs Derek Pogirski
Match 11: Justin Bergman vs Josh Roberts
Match 12: Jayson Shaw vs Jeffrey Ignacio
Match 13: Skyler Woodward vs Joven Bustamante
Match 14: Jason Shaw vs Joven Bustamante
Match 15: Scott Frost vs Justin Bergman
Match 16: Shane Van Boening vs Corey Deuel
Match 17: Corey Deuel vs Steve Knoll
Match 18: Jeffrey Ignacio vs Sean McKay (Hot Seat Match)
Match 19: Justin Bergman vs Sean McKay (Semi-Final)
Match 20: Jessica Frideres vs Liz Lovely (Women’s Final)
Match 21: Justin Bergman vs Jeffrey Ignacio (Men’s Final)
 
2015 US Bar Table Championships 8-Ball Division Playlist:
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLdCfnbGD70QV3ReEMkfC6yya28KtVcwED 
 
CSI YouTube Channel:
http://www.youtube.com/user/csipool?sub_confirmation=1
 
Don’t forget to “Subscribe” to the CSI YouTube channel to be notified when we add new content.

Cucculelli spoils Bryant bid for second Music City Open 9-Ball title

Teruko Cucculelli went undefeated through a field of 43 to claim the 2015 Music City Open 9-Ball Ladies title on the weekend of January 16-18. In so doing, she spoiled a loss-side bid by Canada's Brittany Bryant to claim the title for the second year in a row. The $1,000-added event was hosted by JOB Billiards in Madison, TN.
 
Last year, Bryant won eight on the loss side and double dipped Dana Aft to claim the 2014 title. This year, she won five on the loss side, only to be defeated in the finals by Cucculelli. 
 
Bryant was moved to the loss side in this one by Ashley Nandrasy, who'd move on to a winners' side semifinal versus Jessica Human. Cucculelli and Amanda Wilder squared off in the other. Cucculelli got into the hot seat match with a 7-4 victory over Wilder, and faced Human, who sent Nandrasy after Bryant, double hill. Cucculelli claimed the hot seat in a double hill win over Human and waited on Bryant's return.
 
Bryant opened up her loss-side campaign with a 7-3 win over Becca Sullins, and then, defeated 2013's runner-up, Liz Lovely, double hill, to draw Wilder. Nandrasy picked up Grace Nakamura (third place, 2014), who'd defeated Donna Favors 7-4, and April Dobbins 7-5. Nandrasy shut Nakamura out, earning a quarterfinal re-match against Bryant, who'd eliminated Wilder 7-2.
 
Bryant won the re-match 7-2, and with a double hill win over Human in the semifinals, was into the Music City finals for the second year in a row. Cucculelli, though, spoiled Bryant's bid for a second straight title with a single set 7-3 win.