USA Club Competitions: Looking Back and Looking Forward
by USA Team Handball
(North Carolina took home the title at the Carolina Blue Cup)
Last weekend there were three club competitions. Here's a brief rundown and links to more detailed results
Carolina Blue Cup (Detailed Results)
The University of North Carolina hosted their annual Carolina Blue Cup Tournament. This year's event had a distinctive college flavor with 6 of the 9 teams hailing from college clubs: 3 from the hosts, North Carolina along with Air Force, James Madison and Virginia. And, two of the teams being primarily college alumni teams: Carolina Blue and UVA Alumni. The DC Diplomats were the sole team without a college connections. The hosts, Carolina ended up cruising to the tournament title with no team coming closer than 7 goals. Carolina Blue took 2nd and Air Force 3rd place.
- Carolina Back Court, Aaron Hamm: "The Carolina Blue Cup was super successful and everyone stayed injury free, no complaints at all! We fielded two Tar Heel teams again, one of which took Air Force down to the final minutes and both picked up wins this weekend. We are super impressed with the hard work from the entire program to both, put the tournament on and play quality handball throughout the weekend. Our A team won the Blue Cup, becoming the first Carolina team to win it in back to back years. We now turn our attention to the college conference and college nationals, hoping to build a strong foundation for the future."
Trailblazer Conference West Division (Match Day 2) (Detailed Results)
The University of Pittsburgh hosted Ohio State (Scarlet) and Ohio State (Gray). Pitt came away with 2 victories: A relatively easy 32-22 win over Ohio St (Gray) and a more tightly contested victory over Ohio St (Gray). Ohio State (Scarlet) dispatch Ohio State (Gray) 35-13 in the 3rd match.
- Ohio St Coach, JD Orr: "After climbing cardiac hill, we found ourselves facing a massive deficit against Pitt. With Pau Balcells now healthy their offense is clicking and can be dangerous. We were able to climb back to close an 8 goal gap but with some injuries, no subs, and missing key starters it was too much for us to overcome. Hats off to Pitt as they played a great physical game and utilized the crowd to their advantage."
- Pitt Team Captain, Paul Balcells: "I think it was a great weekend in terms of handball for many reasons. First, it was great to be back playing Ohio State as it is always exciting to play close competed games. On top of that, we were very excited to host the first official handball game at Pitt and to be able to share it with our friends and family who saw the potential that the sport has. We can’t wait to play again in Cincinnati this weekend!"
Northeast Team Handball League (NTHL) (Match Day 4) (Detailed Results)
In NTHL action, New York City picked up two wins to stay undefeated in league play. West Point (Black) got a 32-30 win over Boston to stay in 2nd place right below NYC and just above Boston. The top two slots in the NTHL will qualify for the Elite Division at the U.S. National Championships. In Women's action, New York City also picked up two wins to stay undefeated while Boston beat West Point (Black) 39-29 to separate themselves from 3rd place Army.
Saturday, 26 February will be a busy day for the Trailblazer Collegiate Conference as both the East and West Divisions will wrap up their regular season. In the East the North Carolina (Tarheels) club will look to stay undefeated, while James Madison and Virginia will likely battle for 2nd place. Weather permitting, Penn State will make their debut. In the West, Ohio St will look to get revenge on last weekend's match vs Pitt. The winner of that match will likely take first place in the West Division. All 8 teams from both divisions will then turn their sights on a post season conference tourney, 26-27 March at the SPIRE Institute in Geneva, Ohio.
You can find the results of every sanctioned competition at the 2021-22 Club Competition Web Page: Link And, next week the page will include an official update identifying the 8 U.S. clubs that will currently qualify for the Elite Division at the U.S. National Championships, 13-15 May, in Adrian Michigan.