USATH's Championship Season begins with Carolina win

April 03, 2009, 11:52 a.m. (ET)
Carolina defeated Army Sunday morning to win the Gold Medal Match, 8-6. The SportsQuest MVP was Lily Clark, UNC's goalie.

On Saturday, the first two matches left Army 2-0. The College Select and Army teams pounded the court in an aggressive head-to-head game until after the half, when College Select pulled ahead to win 17-11. Army was no luckier in its second match of the day against UNC; Carolina, at the exciting conclusion of the match, gained the lead for a 9-7 victory. Diva Desai of UNC scored five of her team's goals.

Later on Saturday, after a break, College Select defeated Army 20-15 and Carolina 18-10.

Friday night in Richmond, Army prevailed in a see-saw 15-13 affair over North Carolina, as the 2009 Championships got underway. Thirteen was also the loser's tally in the nightcap, when USA College Select pulled away from a tie game at halftime to race to a 24-13 victory.

Weather wreaked havoc on the tournament's opening night. Referees Edina Batar and Birane Diouf were stranded trying to get out of New York. Diouf, a highly-rated referee from Mauritania, missed his debut as his itinerary was diverted to Norfolk, Virginia - more than an hour to the east of Richmond.  Richmond resident Volker Grzimek and North Carolina resident Estelle Berengier picked up the slack on opening night.

USA College Select is coached by West Region coach Marko Brezic, and includes 18-year-old Farida Abou-Zeida, who debuted for the USA Senior Women's National team in Mexico last year. Abou-Zeida attends university in Auburn, Alabama. Other Select players traveled from Furman University  in South Carolina, New York City, Maryland.

The 2009 Women’s Collegiate National Championship take place April 3-5 at the Weinstein Center for Recreation and Fitness. Teams from the University of North Carolina and the U.S. Military Academy (West Point) will compete in addition to the USA College Select Team, a team composed of college students from various universities coached by USATH West Region Coach Marko Brezic. Competition will begin 6:45 p.m. on Friday and continue through the weekend until the match for first place at 9:30 a.m. Sunday.

Sports Quest, 501(c)(3) not-for-profit company that is dedicated to supporting sports programming throughout the greater Richmond community, is serving as the local organizing committee. This is Sports Quest’s first team handball event, but principal Steve Burton has outlined plans to include the sport in the multi-sport complex currently in development.

All schools from the area have been invited to attend and learn more about team handball, one of the fastest and most exciting Olympic sports.

The 2009 Men’s Collegiate National Championship will take place across the country April 10-12 at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, CO. Last year’s champions Army Black will defend its title against University of North Carolina, Air Force Blue, Air Force White, Army Gold, and USA College Select. Competition begins at 5:30 p.m. on Friday, April 10.

One of the weekend’s highlights will be the inter-academy clash between Air Force and Army, two of the oldest collegiate handball clubs in the United States. The game will be streamed live on the official U.S. Olympic website at Air Force will look to avenge its October loss against Army during Army vs. Air Force Week at West Point. The broadcast, 3:30 p.m. MST on April 11, will feature play-by-play commentary from veteran broadcaster Kenn Tomasch and color commentary from a Colorado Springs-based handball Olympian. The video will stream through Windows Media Player, which is optimally viewed in Internet Explorer.

USATH’s 2009 Open Club National Championships, taking place May 8-10 in Chicago, will see 20 men’s teams and six women’s teams competing for the titles of national champion. Team registration for that event is now closed.