Team USA Wins Mosconi Cup 11-7
2009 PartyPoker.net Mosconi Cup
by Sally P. Timko
In an emotionally charged final day at the 2009 PartyPoker.net Mosconi Cup, Team USA prevailed, winning the Cup 11-7. Team Europe put up a fight, but the massive 9-5 deficit they faced going into Sunday’s matches proved to be too much.
Ralf Souquet put a positive spin on the day from the start, as he went up against Shane Van Boening in the first match of the day. Things just seemed to go Team Europe’s way, as Van Boening was forced to jump for the 4 ball in the first rack and left an easy out for the German, who cleared the table to take the first rack. Van Boening scratched on his break in the following game, and Souquet got that one too. A break and run by Souquet put him halfway to 6, with Van Boening still not on the board. That was soon remedied, as Souquet was forced to kick at a safety on the 2 ball and double-kissed it, leaving Van Boening an out to make it 3-1 Europe.
But Souquet was undeterred, breaking and running the next to make it 4-1 in his favor. An illegal break by Van Boening in the following rack saw Souquet attempt to play defense but instead leaving “The South Dakota Kid” an easy out, making it 4-2. Souquet reached the hill when Van Boening was forced to kick at the 4 ball and left a shot for Souquet, and the German ran out. Coolly Van Boening broke and ran out the next, making it 5-3, but it was not enough to stop Souquet. “The Surgeon” had the break in the last rack and missed a 2-6 combo, but Van Boening was forced to jump for the 2 and left Souquet a shot. He pocketed the 2 and then lined up perfectly for a 3-9 combo, which he made to win 6-3.
“It was a very important victory for us, obviously, to get a good start in the day. I’m really looking forward to the next matches,” a smiling Souquet stated. When asked about the difficulties of winning the next six matches in a row, he laughed and said, “It sounds easy, and I’ll take it, but we just have to take things one step at a time.”
The second singles match was a complete reversal of fortune. Dennis Hatch, who had been leading Team USA in terms of whipping up the crowd and high emotions, did not disappoint. He broke and ran the first rack and won a safety battle in the second to go up 2-0. Another break and run-out by “The Hatchetman” put him up 3-0, and when Feijen scratched on his next break, Hatch capitalized and ran out that rack as well. Things looked up for Team Europe when Hatch came up dry on his next break, but Feijen failed to capitalize, shooting the 3 ball too hard. Hatch cleared that table to reach the hill, and when Feijen badly missed the 5 ball in the next, Hatch easily made the remaining balls to win the first match of the day for Team USA 6-0.
“I’m so proud to win for my fans, my family, myself. I feel like crying, but I’m not going to do it this time. I’m so emotional,” said Hatch afterward, obviously elated. “I want to win it, I want to win it for the team … when I looked at the draw, I just smiled. I couldn’t have gotten a better draw.”
View the Mosconi Cup 2009 image gallery
Team USA’s Johnny Archer, the only undefeated player left in the event, was matched with Thorsten Hohmann, who was representing Team Europe, in the third set. “The Hitman” gave Europe more hope when he banked in a 1-9 combo that Archer had left for him in the first rack, and though Archer took the next game, it was all Europe as Hohmann took advantage of a couple of errors on Archer’s behalf. A 6-9 carom saw Hohmann reach a daunting 4-1 lead in the short race to 6. Archer scratched on the 3 ball in the following rack, and Hohmann reached the hill after clearing the balls. A short break and run-out in the last rack put Hohmann as the 6-1 winner, making the overall score 10-7 Team USA.
Coincidentally, Van Boening and Souquet matched up again in the fourth set, as the previous matches were held over from Saturday. But Souquet won the first time they met, and that was not the case this time. The match began evenly enough, as they split the four racks. But Team USA pulled ahead when Souquet, trying for a safety, left Van Boening an open shot on the 4 ball and Van Boening ran out. “The South Dakota Kid” played safe on the 2 ball in the next rack, and Souquet kicked at and hit the 2 but left an open shot for Van Boening, who coolly ran out again to make it 4-2.
A massive defensive battle over the 1 ball in the following game saw Souquet scratch off of a kick shot, and Van Boening cleared to reach the hill. In the final rack, Van Boening had an illegal break, and control passed to Souquet. However, Souquet shot the 2 ball, almost fluking in the 9, but missed. With no good shot on the 2, Van Boening opted to carom off the 2 into the 7 ball, which was in front of the side pocket. This opened the rack up perfectly for Van Boening, who proceeded to pocket the remaining balls and win the match 6-2, making Team USA the 11-7 victors.
Team USA swarmed Van Boening in the arena, chanting, “USA! USA!” as they jumped up and down. Hatch was named Most Valuable Player in the ceremonies that followed, and the team was awarded the coveted Cup. “This has been the best five days of my life,” reported team captain Nick Varner. “I think I’m going to be like Dennis and cry.”
“I didn’t know what to expect—it’s real nerve-wracking, and I had no idea what I was getting into, but everything seemed to work, and we work well as a team. We’ve really gelled,” said rookie Dominguez.
Most Valuable Player Hatch summed it up succinctly, “Words can’t explain how I feel right now. This is the best win of my life.”