North Carolina Takes Blue Cup Tourney Title

North Carolina: Carolina Blue Cup Champions

North Carolina hosted 11 teams this past weekend at their annual Carolina Blue Cup Tournament and they ended up taking the title. Here’s a summary of the results with a focus on the 4 collegiate clubs (North Carolina, Army, Virginia and James Madison) that participated.

Pool Play

The 11 clubs were split up into 3 pools of 3 teams and 1 pool of 2 teams. Each pool played a full round robin and here are the results.

North Carolina 29 – James Madison 18
James Madison was no match for the #2 Tar Heels. North Carolina was led in scoring by Leandro Pappalettera with 7 goals while James Madison’s Nick Federovitch and Kevin Plunket had 5 goals a piece.

Quarterfinals and (9th-11th) Pool Play

Both Army and North Carolina won their quarterfinal matches. North Carolina beat the UVA Alumni team 31-23. Jordan Mason led Carolina scoring with 7 goals and Nick Vorobiov added 6. Army beat Swim & Sports Club 30-21. Nathan Chilian led Army with 7 goals while Ryan Thistlewood added 5.

Virginia 31 – James Madison 24
In 9th-11th place consolation play Virginia got revenge for a loss to JMU two weeks ago in Northeast Team Handball League (NTHL). JMU actually led 12-11 at the half, meaning that Virginia totally dominated the 2nd half for the eventual 31-24 victory. Virginia was led in scoring by Lincoln Ambrose and Ben Kilpatrick with 10 goals each. James Madison’s Nick Federovitch, Tom Fonti and Kevin Plunkett scored 4 each. Both teams also knocked off Philly in consolation play.

Semifinals and Placement Games

In one of the biggest upsets in U.S. club history, Army shocked perennial U.S Open Championships contender NYAC for a 35-34 victory. For some context on the upset: NYAC’s roster featured at least 9 former national team players and 2 Olympians while Army’s roster had no players with more than 3 years club experience. Army was led in scoring by Ryan Thistlewood with 10 goals. Nathan Chilian and William Considine added 9 and 7 goals respectively. In the other semifinal North Carolina easily beat Saskatchewan 34-24. Leandro Pappalettera led Carolina with 8 goals and Aaron Hamm added 7.

North Carolina 31 – Army (2nd Team) 29 (Gold Medal Match)

It was all collegiate affair for the tourney title and North Carolina came out on top 31-29. North Carolina was led in scoring by Leandro Pappalettera with 11 goals. Alex Laws scored 6 and Aaron Hamm added 5. Army was led in scoring by William Considine with 9 goals with Nathan Chilian adding 6.

– I’ve been told by several tourney attendees that the Army team participating, West Point Gold (Army’s 2nd Team) was supplemented with some players that have played for West Point Black (Army’s 1st Team). And, that it was an all underclassmen team (no seniors). So perhaps this “combined team” might be considered as better than Army’s 2nd Team, but not quite as good as Army’s 1st Team.
– North Carolina’s Leandro Pappalettera is an exchange Grad student from Argentina, and as you might have guessed from his goals scored he’s an experienced player. However, unfortunately, for North Carolina they will be losing that extra scoring punch soon, since he is headed back to Argentina and will not be attending College Nationals.