MLP Dallas began an 11-day streak of pro pickleball from the new home of Nationals, Dallas, TX. The twelve Challenger Level teams broke in the new courts at Brookhaven Country Club.
The defending champion SoCal Hard Eights picked up right where they left off. The Eights had 3-0 day led by Atlanta's MVP CJ Klinger. Their 3-0 performance however was only strong enough to receive a 2nd seed in the playoff bracket.
The surprise of the day was an electric performance from the St Louis Shock. The Shock also went 3-0 and received the top seed in the bracket. Rob Nunnery is playing Premier Level pickle but he received a helping hand from Martin Emmrich and Genie Erokhina who finished on top of the player standings board.
Rounding out the playoff bracket is the California BLQK Bears, New York Hustlers, LA Mad Drops, and picking up their first match wins, the Frisco Pandas.
The only Dreambreaker AND blue (warning) card on the day came in the Hustlers match vs the Milwaukee Mashers. The card was issued to Kyle Yates who let out frustration on a ball aimed at DJ Young following their mixed doubles match.
The Grandstand Court witnessed a little trash talk between Jill Braverman and Gabe Tardio when the Hustlers faced the Mad Drops earlier in the day.
- Braverman tried to rally the troops with a visceral yell after a point win.
- Tardio and Allison Harris who were ahead, continued to widen their lead and Tardio questioned where the ferocity and volume disappeared to.
- The Mad Drops won that game and the match against the Hustlers.
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Group A was dominated by the Shock. They won all three matches and were close to winning all twelve games. The mixed team of Nunnery/Castillo lost two of their games, both 21-19 after the match win had already been secured.
It was a complete turnaround for the Frisco Pandas who not only got their first MLP match wins but also snuck into the playoffs. It all started with a big comeback in men's against the FL Smash to start the day.
The Hustlers and Mad Drops were the two squads to escape Group B. The Hustlers are one of the more exciting teams to watch in the league. They made headlines today and could have a finals run as the veteran play of Braverman and Yates helps shape the talent of Martinez Vich and Grambeau.
The new look Mad Drops are also finding their stride in Dallas. New additions Siljestrom, Gaytan-Leach, and Harris are still learning how to play together. Siljestrom's 6'9" height proved to be a challenge today and takes half a game for most players to adjust to.
Group C belonged the the 3-0 Hard Eights. They're the favorites to repeat in Dallas. Also stealing the spotlight was the BLQK Bears. Tina Pisnik is a home run for this team but they will have their hands full with a dangerous drops team in the quarterfinals.