Los Angeles Mad Drops Defeat New York Hustlers 3-1 to Claim MLP Mesa Championship
The top seeded Los Angeles Mad Drops claimed the 2023 Major League Pickleball opener today with a 3-1 win over the New York Hustlers, who were considered the Cinderella story of the tournament. The Mad Drops entered the knockout rounds as the top seed, and earned two wins on the day, shutting out the 4th seeded Florida Smash 3-0 in the semifinal before winning the Championship over the Hustlers. Below is a score synopsis from Championship Sunday:
(1) Los Angeles Mad Drops def. (5) New York Hustlers 3-1.
Los Angeles Mad Drops: Catherine Parenteau, Irina Tereschenko, Julian Arnold, Thomas Wilson.
New York Hustlers: Anna Bright, Lacy Schneemann, Tyson McGuffin, Rafa Hewett.
WD: Bright & Schneemann def. Parenteau & Tereschenko 21-16.
MD: Arnold & Wilson def. McGuffin & Hewett 21-16.
MX: Wilson & Tereschenko def. Hewett & Schneemann 21-16.
MX: Arnold & Parenteau def. McGuffin & Bright 21-12.
The Los Angeles Mad Drops showed dominance through both matchups today, only dropping one game to 21 the entire day. Catherine Parenteau provided stability and tenacity throughout the event, showing off her world-class reliability in any matchup. Thomas Wilson and Julian Arnold both had breakout years in 2022, and proved they can excel against the best that the sport has to offer with their electric combination of court coverage and hand speed.
The most remarkable player story from the Mad Drops comes in the form of Irina Tereschenko. Tereschenko has gone 4/5 so far in Major League Pickleball Championships, as she has been a member of nearly every MLP Championship team thus far in the short history of the league.
Julian Arnold, who came through in high-pressure scenarios all event long for the Mad Drops, was named the Most Valuable Player of the tournament.
"We have a lot of fight. I think some people out there were sleeping on us, thinking that we may not be the most conventional team," said Julian Arnold. "What this team does have is a lot of fight, a lot of passion, and a lot of heart. We really gave it our all and I'm so proud of this squad."
The New York Hustlers were the big surprise of the tournament, pulling off multiple upsets to reach the Championship. Led by veteran Tyson McGuffin sporting a new colorway of the Vanguard Power Air Invikta, the Hustlers brought relentless energy and proved to be a prominent force in singles anytime they faced a dreambreaker. In particular, fourth round pick Lacy Schneemann raised eyebrows with her solidity, firepower, and singles prowess. Her singles performance over Meghan Dizon was especially clutch in the semifinal round to secure the upset over Ben Johns and his second seeded Seattle Pioneers.
"This team is so special, we caught a lot of magic and scraped our way into the playoff rounds," said Anna Bright. "We had a great run."
(2) Bay Area Breakers def. (4) Utah Black Diamonds 3-0.
Bay Area Breakers: Ewa Radzikowska, Rachel Summers, Pablo Tellez, Christian Alshon.
Black Diamonds: Michelle Esquivel, Olivia McMillan, Spencer Smith, Rob Cassidy.
WD: Radzikowska & Summers def. Esquivel & McMillan 21-19.
MD: Tellez & Alshon def. Smith & Cassidy 21-19.
MX: Alshon & Summers def. Cassidy & McMillan 21-18.
The Breakers overcame a tough semifinal matchup against the Atlanta Bouncers to win 3-2, before beating the Black Diamonds in the finals with a 3-0 sweep.
"I'm so proud, everyone really stepped up for every single matchup," said veteran and Selkirk pro Pablo Tellez.
Ewa Radzikowska was named the MLP Challenger Level MVP.