Shock make big improvement on Day 1 in Dallas

Shock make big improvement on Day 1 in Dallas

The St. Louis Shock finished ninth out of 12 teams in the first event of the second MLP season in Atlanta.

There wasn’t a lot of success. The Shock lost two of its three group stage matches, didn’t advance out of pool play, and went home early.

Something changed. 

“We had good energy,” said Rob Nunnery. “We came out flat in Atlanta and the team came together better today.”

The Shock was definitely the shock of Day 1 in Dallas, as they were one of the three teams that finished in the bottom four in Atlanta and made their way to the knockout stage in Texas.

The Shock that will go into today’s playoffs as the No. 1-seeded team.

Martin Emmrich and Genie Erokhina. Both went 6-0 and the two were the top performers out of all 48 players Thursday. Meanwhile, Nunnery went 4-2, losing two games that were inconsequential, coming after his team had already earned a match win and Judit Castillo went 4-2. All four players finished among the top 15 individual performances.

“I’m just super excited,” Emmrich said, “especially after how the last MLP went. We came a day earlier than the other teams and we worked really hard.”

The day started with a 4-0 match win against the New Jersey 5s, a team that made the semifinals last time out in Atlanta, and the day ended with Emmrich and Erokhina rallying from 19-14 down for a 23-21 victory against Michelle Esquivel and Brendon Long of the Florida Smash, giving the Shock the match win.

“A team that finished last, last time, could win this time,” Nunnery said. “We’re a good team. We can beat any team here.”

The Los Angeles Mad Drops wound up last in Atlanta. They made the playoffs in Dallas. The Frisco Pandas were 11th in Atlanta, and they are onto today’s knockout stage, joining the Shock, who will get a bye in the first round and play the winner between the New York Hustlers and the Pandas. 

The So Cal Hard Eights earned the win in Atlanta. They are the No. 2 seed, and the only other team to go 3-0 in Dallas. 

”We didn’t worry about the results in Atlanta,” Nunnery said. “We were confident coming in here.”

Friday’s playoffs start at noon with the quarterfinal round - the California BLQK Bears taking on the Mad Drops as well as the Hustlers, led by Kyle Yates and Jillian Braverman taking on the Pandas, led by Bobbi Oshiro and Andre Mick. 

The semifinals will follow.

Premier League group play begins at 10 a.m. local time. The Orlando Squeeze took the first event in Atlanta. They are led by Anna Bright and Zane Navratil. The D.C. Pickleball team, highlighted by Riley Newman, will be first on Championship Court Friday. D.C. lost to Orlando in the final last time out in Atlanta.