Handball defeats Blair in County Championship


Handball skated by the Blair Blazers in the County Championship game on Wednesday. Photo courtesy Hannah Voegler.

By Isabelle van Nieuwkoop

The handball team (6–2) ended their dominant season at the County Championships Wednesday, edging out the Blair Blazers (4–2) 20–19 for first place.

The top two teams from each division in the regular season moved on to the final four playoff tournament. The Vikes finished second in the regular season, earning a spot in the bracket. In the first round, the Vikes faced off against the top-seeded Sherwood Warriors (6–0) Nov. 5 and won 35–31.

After narrowly defeating the Warriors, the Vikes faced off and won against the Blair Blazers in the final championship game.

“We were down pretty much the entire game,” coach Steve Sutherland said. “It was 12–9 at half, and then we made some adjustments and won!”

Senior James Hester dominated throughout the tournament, scoring seven goals against the Warriors and eight goals against the Blazers. Freshman Felix Lienhart also scored three goals in the last five minutes against the Blazers, leading the Vikes to victory.

The Vikes adopted to the Blazers’ strategies and strengthened their defense throughout the championship, learning from their loss to the Blazers in the regular season.

“We called a time-out with five minutes left [in the game], and we noticed that the other team was guarding us heavily on the right side,” Sutherland said. “We told [the players] to kick the ball up to the middle and pass it over to the left side, and they made that adjustment really quick.”

Last year, the Vikes fell to the Wootton Patriots by one goal in the Championship game, so it felt especially good to win this year, and they hope to repeat their victory next season, Sutherland said.

“It would be nice to win back-to-back,” Sutherland said. “We are losing some valuable seniors, though, with some very solid leadership.”