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October 5-8, 2023
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Storylines For The 2023 Vulcan Indoor National Championships

OVERALL TOP 5:
  • Opportunity is Knocking LOUDLY! Ben Johns and Anna Leigh Waters are not playing this event. Who will step up?
  • Under Cover: The adjustment to indoor pickleball (same surface, thanks to Acrytech’s expert court resurfacing) can be significant with different lighting, sightlines, and bounces. Who will adapt the quickest?
  • Greetings 1st timer: Will we have a 3rd consecutive tournament with a PPA Championship Sunday newcomer, following Allyce Jones at Desert Ridge and Jorja Johnson at Mesa?
  • Kooped Up No More: Andrea Koop will be a force to be reckoned with, paired with the red-hot Anna Bright and AJ Koller. 
  • Fed Up: Federico Staksrud has reached 3 consecutive singles finals, winning gold at the Carvana Arizona Grand Slam in an impressive fashion. Will he make it 4 for 4 in finals this year? 
MEN’S SINGLES:
  • Tyson McGuffin, the defending champion, is a scratch again due to the minor foot injury he sustained during the first Major League Pickleball event of the year
  • JW Johnson and Dylan Frazier return to singles in this one after sitting the competition out in Mesa

WATCH OUT FOR: Christian Alshon – he playing hot; could this be his week to break through to the semis or finals?

WOMEN’S SINGLES:
  • Anna Leigh Waters, the defending champion, is not in the draw, so the field for gold is wide open. 
  • The defending silver medalist is Callie Smith who has not played singles in the most recent run of tournaments. 
  • Can Mary Brascia build on her upset victory over Catherine Parenteau from Mesa?

WATCH OUT FOR: Lea Jansen – has medaled in 7 straight events, will this one be for the gold?

MIXED DOUBLES:
  • NONE of the medalists will repeat here as Waters/Johns won the tourney last year and Irvine/Devilliers (silver) and Newman/Parenteau (bronze) are both not playing together. 
  • This will mark event #3 for Riley Newman and Anna Bright. They took the title impressively in Mesa against Johnson/Johnson, can they make it two in a row?
  • #FudgeBar was exciting on court and in social media as Dekel Bar and Megan Fudge had a strong 4th place showing in Mesa. One week later, they are first round…opponents. They will both be playing with different partners.

WATCH OUT FOR: Andrea Koop/AJ Koller – They won the Takeya Showcase together in November.

WOMEN’S DOUBLES:
  • Callie Smith and Lucy Kovalova are the defending champions in Minnesota but have not found gold in ’23. Will indoor pickleball revive their stellar play from early on in ’22?
  • Can Lea Jansen and Allyce Jones grab another medal (they saved a match point in their first match in Mesa, then made a wild run to bronze)?

WATCH OUT FOR: Mesa silver medalists Jessie Irvine/Jackie Kawamoto (another repeat from last week). They have been terrific together and should maintain their success. Will they play on Sunday again? 

MEN’S DOUBLES:
  • Ben and Collin Johns won this event in 2022. Either Riley Newman or Ben Johns has been on the winning team in the past 23 events, dating back to October 2021, when Adam Stone and Dekel Bar won the PPA Championships in Las Vegas. Without Ben in the draw, the burden of maintaining this streak sits with Riley and Matt Wright. 
  • AJ Koller is the defending silver medalist with his cousin Thomas Wilson. This week is tourney #2 for AJ with Dekel Bar, instead of Thomas. The Koller/Bar duo won an epic 90-minute quarter final match 16-14 in the 3rd last week against Callan Dawson and Tyler Loong that had fans on the edge of their seats.

WATCH OUT FOR: Collin Johns and James Ignatowich. Can this pairing find magic together with their usual partners (Ben and Tyson) not playing this event? Look for James to play the left and try to take over, while Collin maintains a defensive wall of counterpunches on the right.

The Indoor National Championships 2022 vs. the Carvana Arizona Grand Slam 2023:

How will the Indoor style of play differ from last weekend? It’s actually pretty close. It’s a small sample size and of course the matchups matter, but here is the comparison of gold medal matches.

Mixed Doubles, shots per rally:

Arizona Grand Slam: 12.1.

2022 Nat’l Indoor: 10.2.

Mixed Doubles, rallies per game:

Arizona Grand Slam: 39.2.

2022 Nat’l Indoor: 39.66.

Men’s Doubles, shots per rally:

Arizona Grand Slam: 11.7.

2022 Nat’l Indoor: 12.6.

Men’s Doubles, rallies per game:

Arizona Grand Slam: 41.5.

2022 Nat’l Indoor: 38.66.

Women’s Doubles, shots per rally:

Arizona Grand Slam: 12.5.

2022 Nat’l Indoor: 11.87.

Women’s Doubles, rallies per game:

Arizona Grand Slam: 37.7.

2022 Nat’l Indoor: 36.4.

Record-longest rally:

Arizona Grand Slam: 97 shots.

2022 Nat’l Indoor: 82 shots.

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