AKISPHERE 2019 Action Pack from Pro Kicker

As usual, the organizers were very lucky with the weather for the finals day at the 2019 Akisphere. We can count on our fingers the times that this annual event had to move indoors or be played in the rain.

The shiniest player of this edition was undoubtedly Walt Houston. Indeed, Walt managed to grab the triple crown, single, doubles and mixed doubles titles are a rare occurrence at any footbag net tournament especially considering that most of them don't feature a mixed doubles category. You can find his complete finals matches in the video album. Note that game 1 of the singles finals starts at 5-0 but other than that you'll see all of the plays with scores and slow-motion replays of significant actions.

Doubles Finals

Walt Houston and Ben Alston representing the Memphis Footworks club met Luc Legault and Manu Bouchard from the local club Aki Quebec. The locals managed to win game 1 over a rusty Memphis team. Then Walt and Ben easily crushed their opponents in games 2 and 3. There was nonetheless some exciting action as these guys are all quality players. The surprise came from Walt Houston refraining from his super-fast serve to use a lot of super slow short services instead. That element alone threw a lot of confusion in the Aki Quebec team.
Memphis wins 6-15, 15-5, 15-6
The 2019 Akisphère champions Ben Alston - Walt Houston. Picture by Hugo Lamontagne (center)

Mixed doubles finals

In the mixed doubles finals Walt teamed up with Marilyn Demuy from Aki Québec to face off with locals Luka Weyler-Lavallée and Maude Landreville. After winning the first game 15-9 the Memphis-AKIQ team ran into trouble at the beginning of game 2. In fact, Luka and Maude built up what seemed like a comfortable 10-3 lead in that game. Then, a series of very unfortunate unforced errors sank them. You certainly don't want to wake the beast up!
After mounting a comeback to equalize the score at 10-10 with big serves from Walt his team just went on with more of the same. Ace from Walt to make it 12-10, then two more big services and finally an unforced error by Luka on a nice set from Maude to conclude the match.
Walt and Marilyn wins 15-9, 15, 10

Singles Finals

Walt Houston already had three singles World Championships titles under his belt coming to this finals match while Luka still had to prove himself. This match was a one-way ticket to hell for Luka and another singles title for Walt at the Akisphere.
Walt Houston wins 21-9, 21-9

Doubles semi-finals A

The first semi-finals opposed the surprise team of Marilyn Demuy and Philippe Lessard, who disposed of Yves Archambault and Martin Côté in the quarters, to the 2017 World Champions Ben Alston and Walt Houston.
Marilyn and Phil did a really good job of scaring the monsters in the first game. They even got the first game point that they couldn't convert.
The second game went all Memphis although it wasn't pretty. The game ended on an ace by Ben which followed a series of 14 unforced errors by both teams. The first game was definitely more interesting.
Memphis wins 16-14, 15-6 

Doubles semi-finals B

This match probably was the best of the weekend. It offered a lot of exciting actions and could have gone either way if not from a strange call in the second game.
Let's start with game 1 though; Luka Weyler-Lavallée and François Depatie Pelletier came out with all guns blazing whereas the team of Luc Legault and Manu Bouchard wasn't ready for such a barrage. The first game went to Luka and Frank by a score of 15-7.

In game 2 the veterans Legault and Bouchard got their game back and took a solid 14-7 lead. Then, the momentum changed and the blue team managed to come back at 11-14. At that moment a questionable call stopped them in their tracks. Bouchard sent a juicy overset to Luka's side which the youngster hit with a solid sole push back on the other side. Luc Legault was patrolling his airspace with a sidekick block attempt but missed as the footbag hit his knee. In Footbag net, all hits must be stricken below the knee so it was a fault on Luke's part and on top of that the ball fell on his side!!! The only thing that I can see that could have motivated the referee's call is a possible contact foul under the net at the very end of the play while Luka might have possibly contacted Luc on his side. It's not clear in the video that you can see below and judge by yourself. Anyway, the play should have ended with the knee touch by Luc. After the call, we saw a lot of confusion and a long discussion which totally killed the blue team's momentum. What was set to happen happened and Luka missed a spike on the next play to give the game to the eventual finalists. I don't say that Luka and François would necessarily have won that game but that was a buzz killer.

Game 3 started with the blue team in awe as Legault and Bouchard were back to full focus. They went on to build a 9-0 lead that turned out to be insurmountable. Although they did a better job at competing in the second half of the game Luka and Frank were ousted for the finals.
Legault and Bouchard win 7-15, 15-11, 15-8

Controversial call Akisphere 2019 - Semi-Finals B, game 2, play 59/60 from Pro Kicker


Simple Open - Open singles 

1- Walt Houston 
2- Luka Weyler-Lavallée
3- Marilyn Demuy
4- Benjamin De Bastos
5- Maude Landreville
6- Martin Côté
7- Dominic O'Brien
8- Stéphane Tailleur
9- Jim Hankins
10- Esteban Restrepo
11-  Nazly Safarzadeh
12- Amélie Beck
13- Brandy Seller

Double Mixte - Mixed Doubles

1- Marilyn Demuy / Walt Houston  
2- Maude Landreville / Luka Weyler-Lavallée
3- Marie-Lou Roy / Yves Archambault
4- Nazly Safarzadeh / Benjamin De Bastos
5- Amélie Beck / Esteban Restrepo 
6- Brandy Seller - Dominique Soulard

Double Open - Open doubles

1- Walt Houston / Ben Alston
2- Luc Legault / Manu Bouchard
3- Luka Weyler-Lavallée / François Depatie-Pelletier
4- Marilyn Demuy / Philippe Lessard
5- Martin Côté / Yves Archambault
6- Dominique Soulard / Benjamin De Bastos
7- Maude Landreville / Jim Hankins
8- Stéphane Tailleur / Dominic O'Brien 
9- Amélie Beck / Esteban Restrepo
10- Marie-Lou Roy / Nazly Safarzadeh
11- Brandy Seller / Justin Soulard

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