Their hard work has paid off: the Higher Education Administration program’s intramural handball team won the William & Mary Campus Recreation Co-Rec B division on February 15th. Team HE$A & Friendz beat Jocks for Rocks 5-2 in the final game, the endcap to a stunning comeback that saw them lose their first three regular season games before winning four games in a row en route to the title.
Handball is a combination of soccer and basketball, played indoors with a ball roughly the size of a volleyball. Five players on a side can run three steps, dribble three times, and run three more steps before being forced to either shoot on the goalie or pass to a teammate. The goalie plays inside a crease that other players can’t step inside without incurring a penalty, which forces many athletic jumps and shots across it.
“We initially went into the season with no expectations,” said team captain Ryan Zapolski, M.Ed. ’18. “We hadn’t ever played handball together before, and we struggled to find a rhythm in the first few games.” The team came together once they established the offensive core of Luke Landis, M.Ed. ’19 and Joshua Chung, M.Ed. ’17, assisted in the midfield by Callie Lazja, M.Ed. ’18 and Mary Kate Dodge, M.Ed. ’19 and anchored at defense and goalie by Zapolski and Will Hailey, M.Ed. ’19. Direct passes from Hailey to Landis were especially lethal, accounting for the majority of the team’s goals during the championship game.
The team was also assisted by the efforts of Rachel Schotz and Amanda Cirillo, M.Ed. ’18, John Griffin and Hannah Leich, M.Ed. ’19, and Office of Student Leadership Development staff member Brad Ward. “Winning this championship took the whole team. We all played specific roles and had a lot of fun while we were at it,” said Griffin.
The team celebrated their victory with mandarin oranges, Capri Sun drinks and posing for pictures with their intramural champions t-shirts. “This was the first win for the Higher Ed program in the two years I’ve been here, and it feels good to graduate a champion,” Zapolski said. Cirillo jokingly added, “I’m putting this on my resume and LinkedIn!”