|Gotham Boys Four-Peat As Champs In West Point
If there was ever a question which is the best team in North America then the West Point Invitational tournament is the measuring platform for it. Teams from almost every part of the country, including Canada, and players from Mexico and other parts of Americas participate at this event.
Twelve teams competed at this years West Point Invitational. Houston Vikings, Houston Firehawks, Air Force, West Point Back, WP Gold, Boston HC, Chicago Inter, Levis, Celtique, NYAC, Carolina Blue and NYC Team Handball battled at West Point Arvin Gym.
As it has been the case in the past four years New York City Team Handball Club continued with it's success by defending, and four-peating at West Point Invitational by beating in the finals Lévis, the best team of Canada.
"West Point feels like our second home. We have had tremendous success in this great facility, and we always enjoy playing in New York. Of course it's never easy, and we always expect tough games from all the opponents, especially from Canada", said Shkumbin Mustafa of NYC Team Handball Club.
If the Gotham boys had felt any pressure before the event, they definitely were able to hide their feelings as they came in the event relaxed, and confident despite missing key players, and both first team goalies.
"We were missing Ivan, and Martin in the goal. Fredrik, Yianni, Steve, Tak, and Kristo were also absent, but that didn't stop us believing that we can win this tournament again. We came through. Ryan Homsy was spectacular in the goal, and Vlado, Djole, Michal, Tian and Sayed once more showed their big heart in the toughest moments. Very happy the way we played", concluded Shkumbin Mustafa.
Lévis, the top Canadian team with a record of 12-1 this year was in the same group as The World's Handball Club. After both teams beat Air Force easy by 15, respectively 14 goal difference they met for their first battle of the weekend. It was an even game from start to end, with teams taking advantage of any mistake. The difference in this game was Ryan Homsy who was able to shut down his friends from Canada, and with it give NYC Team Handball Club the win 21:20 and first spot in the group. Sayed Shalaby scored 12 goals.
In the quarter-finals NYC beat Boston HC 24:19, and qualified in the semis where Chicago Inter was waiting after triumphing over West Point Black. Sayed Shalaby and Vladimir Bicvic were top scorers with 6 goals each.
Chicago is an old foe, and always dangerous. After a slow start Gotham boys got their act together, with dedication to winning another WPI and hard work on defense they were able to break open Chicago's defense and cruise to another win 26:18. Djole Radovanovic was the top scorer with 8.
In the finals Lévis, led by their top player Alexis Bertrand started furiously and thanks to Alexis goals they took an early 4 goal lead. The lead didn't last long, and New York City was able to change their strategy on defense and quickly adjust their offense to counter attack more effectively. The strategy worked well, and even though Levis had a lead until last five minutes the Gotham boys turned their game into another gear and with a furious finish were able to finish off the motivated team from Canada.
Ryan Homsy once again played a big role in the triumph. Sayed Shalaby led all goal-scorers with 10 and New York City Team Handball Club four-peated as Champs in West Point Invitational.
"It's good to be back on the court, and continue winning in West Point", said Vladimir Bicvic the MVP of West Point Invitational.
It was another great weekend in West Point, thanks to Coach Michael Tilton and his staff. Thank you all for your hard work in keeping up with this tradition. See you all next year.
ROSTERRyan, Ivan, Mario, Vladimir, Sayed, Djordje, Stevo, Michal, Yii-Yih, Tian, Shkumbin, Pedro, Jens, Lewis, Francesco, Mohamed, Gregorzy
NYC - Lévis 31:28
NYC - Chicago 26:18
NYC - Boston 24:19
NYC - Lévis 21:20
NYC - Air Force 33:19
1. New York City
3. Houston Vikings
4. Chicago Inter
5. West Point Black
6. Houston Firehawks
8. NY Athletic Club
11. West Point Gold
12. Air Force