Handball continues to grow in the North American nation of the United States of America with the 2019 USA Team Handball Collegiate National Championships taking place this past weekend in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

The Fetzer Gymnasium at the University of North Carolina in the south-eastern US state hosted the tournament which featured six different men’s colleges (universities) across seven teams and three women’s colleges across four teams competing for the national title, with all games livestreamed.

Men’s Competition

The preliminary round saw two groups play each other in a round-robin format initially. Group A featured United States Military Academy – Army West Point (1st Team), University of North Carolina, University of Virginia and Texas A&M University, while Group B saw United States Air Force Academy, Ohio State University and United States Military Academy – Army West Point (2nd Team).

Following the completion of the preliminary round, the winners of Group A received a direct pass into the semi-finals with the remaining teams playing off in the quarter-finals.

Going into the tournament, the Army West Point (1st Team) were clear favourites as the previously-unbeaten side had collected the previous 12 titles.

The University of North Carolina and Texas A&M teams featured Aaron Hamm and William Kennedy respectively, both of whom represented the USA U21 team at the 2019 IHF Men’s Trophy: Intercontinental Phase in Kosovo last month.

In the preliminary round, Army West Point (1st Team) won three out of three in Group A to grab six points, scoring 89 goals in the process, in second spot was North Carolina (four points), followed by Texas A&M (two points) and the winless University of Virginia. In Group B, with their win over the Army in the opening match, Air Force finished top of the group with two wins out of two and four points while the Army side finished in second (two points) and Ohio state bottom.

Following the completion of the preliminary round, Army West Point (1st Team) received a bye through to the semi-finals from Group A due to the uneven groups, with the remaining six teams in the competition facing each other in the quarter-finals.

In the last eight, the University of North Carolina dispatched Ohio State University and Air Force beat University of Virginia easily to claim their semi-final spots, while Texas A&M edged the second Army team by four goals (26:22).

The three teams who lost their quarter-finals played each other in the 5-7 placement round with Army West Point (2nd Team) winning both their matches to finished fifth, followed by University of Virginia (sixth) and Ohio State University (eight).

And in the final four, both results were similar with Army West Point (1st Team) continuing their unbeaten streak to beat Texas A&M 21:16 and the hosts setting up a final, beating Air Force 20:17.

The duel of the disappointed proved to be one of the most dramatic matches of the whole tournament, with Air Force taking bronze in a match which saw nearly 70 goals scored.

Texas A&M had a four-goal lead at the half-time break but were eventually caught and then overtaken by the Air Force side who led by two with two minutes remaining (33:31), but with 14 seconds left of the match it was 33:33 thanks to a Zach Levandoski strike. But, Air Force showed they are dangerous and effective in the air as right-hander AJ Miller squeezed in a right-wing shot with just six seconds left to spark emotional scenes.

It was more of the same in the final as the first team of the United States Military Academy took their 13th consecutive title and, echoing their potential future careers in the Army, it was their defence which stood strong as they restricted the hosts to just seven first half strikes. However, the five-goal (29:24) win in the end did not allow much room to relax, even if they held control of the match ultimately.

Women’s Competition
Like in the men’s competition, Army West Point fielded two teams, with Penn State University and University of North Carolina making up the four teams. After a round-robin stage, the teams then played off for the final and third place matches.

The group stages saw the Army first team dominate with three wins out of three, scoring 83 times to end with six points. The hosts finished second with two wins, while Penn State ranked third with one win, ahead of bottom side, Army (2nd Team) who were winless.

The semi-finals saw reigning champions Penn State lose to the hosts 19:14, while the Army first team easily dispatched their own second team, 21:9.

But after failing in those efforts to retain their 2018 title, Penn State came back to win bronze in a defensive match against the second Army team, while the gold medal match saw the first team from West Point regain their championship they lost last year.

After 25 minutes the match was all-square (8:8) against host side North Carolina, but a dominant closing five minutes saw a four-goal lead for the visitors going into the break (12:8). It was a lead that was not given up and Army took the honours 19:14 in the end to disappoint the home fans.

RESULTS

Men’s Competition

Preliminary Group A

Army West Point (1st Team) vs Texas A&M 32:18

University of North Carolina vs University of Virginia 29:19

University of North Carolina vs Army West Point (1st Team) 18:28

University of Virginia vs Texas A&M 18:32

Army West Point (1st Team) vs University of Virginia 29:17

Texas A&M vs University of North Carolina 23:28

Preliminary Group B

Air Force vs Army West Point (2nd Team) 22:21

Ohio State University vs Army West Point (2nd Team) 19:24

Ohio State University vs Air Force 17:33

Quarter-Finals

University of North Carolina vs Ohio State University 32:12

Air Force vs University of Virginia 32:15

Army West Point (2nd Team) vs Texas A&M 22:26

(Fourth quarter-final not played as Army West Point (1st Team) received by through to semi-finals due to uneven groups)

5-7 Placement Round

Ohio State University vs University of Virginia 22:25

Army West Point (2nd Team) vs University of Virginia 30:24

Army West Point (2nd Team) vs Ohio State University 23:18

Semi-Finals

Army West Point (1st Team) vs Texas A&M 21:16 (9:7)

University of North Carolina vs Air Force 20:17 (11:9)

Bronze Medal Match

Texas A&M vs Air Force 33:34 (18:14)

Gold Medal Match

Army West Point (1st Team) vs University of North Carolina 29:24

Final Ranking

1 United States Military Academy – Army West Point (1st Team)

2 University of North Carolina

3 United States Air Force Academy

4 Texas A&M University

5 United States Military Academy – Army West Point (2nd Team)

6 University of Virginia

7 Ohio State University

Most Valuable Player: Kendrick Thomas (Army West Point)

Most Valuable Goalkeeper: Jordan Wenske (Texas A&M University)

Top Scorer: William Kennedy (Texas A&M University) – 46 goals

Women’s Competition

Preliminary Group

University of North Carolina vs Army West Point (1st Team) 18:24 (9:8)

Penn State University vs Army West Point (2nd Team) 24:7

Army West Point (1st Team) vs Penn State University 28:11

University of North Carolina vs Army West Point (2nd Team) 29:17

University of North Carolina vs Penn State University 18:11

Army West Point (1st Team) vs Army West Point (2nd Team) 31:8

Semi-Finals

Army West Point (1st Team) vs Army West Point (2nd Team) 21:9

University of North Carolina vs Penn State University 19:14

Bronze Medal Match

Penn State University vs Army West Point (2nd Team) 15:9 (8:3)

Gold Medal Match

University of North Carolina vs Army West Point (1st Team) 14:19 (8:12)

Final Ranking

1 United States Military Academy – Army West Point (1st Team)

2 University of North Carolina

3 Penn State University

4 United States Military Academy – Army West Point (2nd Team)

Most Valuable Player: Maria Carolina Araujo (Penn State University)

Most Valuable Goalkeeper: Tasia Stevens (Army West Point)

Top Scorer: Maria Carolina Araujo (Penn State University) – 28 goals

Full results can be found on the USA Team Handball website HERE

2019 NORCA Beach Handball Championship participation confirmed

In other USA handball news, the men’s and women’s beach handball teams have confirmed their participation at the 2019 NORCA Beach Handball Championships which will be held on Turtle Beach in Tobago from July 10-15.

Ahead of the competition, both teams are holding open training and evaluation sessions for talent identification (try-outs) on Hermosa Beach in California.

Any interested athletes should contact men’s head coach Michael Hinson ([email protected]) or women’s head coach Juliano de Oliveira ([email protected]) prior to participation.

The women’s sessions will be held on 18, 19 and 25 May, while the men’s session will take place on 18 May.

All athletes are encouraged to attend, with the USA Team Handball website stating:

“There are no prerequisites to attend any of the evaluation events…all athletes at the evaluation events will be evaluated. Athletes unable to attend an evaluation practice may contact a member of the selection committee and provide evaluation materials to be considered.”