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Stroke of Genius

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Video provided by Accu-Stats Video Productions

Mosconi Cup

Player: Shane Van Boening
Event: Mosconi Cup
Location: London, U.K.
Date: December 2, 2020

The Mosconi Cup can be a fickle beast, when you're pitting 10 of the world's best players in a pressure cooker of a team competition in short races. No matter how much you believe in momentum – and its impact on a multiday event – it's an undeniable factor when Team USA meets up with Team Europe each December.

The 2020 Mosconi Cup proved a great case in just how fast things can get out of hand for one squad. After Team Europe took a 3-2 lead in sets in the race to 11, the Americans put up Shane Van Boening against Jayson Shaw with hopes of squaring the match after the first match.

Up 2-1 in the race-to-5, Van Boening worked his way through the rack, all while knowing the 8 and 9 balls were tied up together along the right long rail. As you can see in the diagram, the 8 wouldn't squeeze past the 9 en route to the bottom right corner. There also wasn't enough room to get an angle on another pocket.

Van Boening played shape on the 7 so he was nearly straight in. With a firm stroke, he sent the cue ball forward into the foot rail, sending it off the long rail to kick the 9 ball into the middle of the table. The cue ball then nudged the 8 ball uptable, leaving a perfect angle to clear the rack.

Van Boening did just that, but Shaw wasn't quite done. He roared back to take the set, 5-4. From there, Team Europe scorched the Americans by taking seven of the next eight sets for an emphatic 11-3 victory in front of a small but lively crowd in London's Alexandra Palace. Shaw finished the competition undefeated, with this performance his crowning jewel in earning Most Valuable Player honors for the first time.

(Video clip provided by Accu-Stats Video Productions.)

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