by Tracy Davis
The NYAC Handball Team added four USHA One-Wall national titles in August as Tracy Davis defended the women’s open singles title for her third consecutive year, and Tyree Bastidas defended the men’s open singles title.
Both Athletes were featured in the doubles finals of their divisions but those titles went to fellow NYAC member Danielle Daskalakis and partner Sandy Ng and Michael Schneider and partner William Polanco.
Women’s Open Singles
Tracy Davis cruised to the finals with a dominating performance against Shirley Chen in the semi-final. Danielle Daskalakis squared off against Annie Huang in the other semifinal. Huang was able to score 16 points before Daskalakis forged a comeback to win the first game 21-16. Fired up with confidence from the first game, Daskalakis’s serve and volley prowess were on display and she handily defeated Huang 21-7 in game two.
In the finals, Davis served first in game one and, after a shaky start, managed to build a solid lead, 10-4. Davis was within reach of a game one victory when Daskalakisclosed the scoring gap with an excellent display of serves. The score narrowed to 15 all, but despite several opportunities to serve and score, Davis was able to hold Daskalakis’s score and won 21-15.
In game two Daskalakis built a 9-5 lead, but Davis kept the pressure on. Both women had difficulty scoring and it seemed as if a tiebreaker was imminent: but Davis turned up the intensity and, at match point, served to Daskalakis’s right hand. Daskalakis over hit her shot and sent the ball sailing outside the right sideline and Davis captured her 10th singles title.
Steve Sandler (left) follows the ball as Albert Apuzzi takes a shot. Photo by Bill Fand
Steve Sandler, a Brooklyn lion of a bygone era who once dominated the 1-wall handball circuit, died in New York.
As the leader and dominant player of the 1-wall courts in the 1960s and ‘70’s, Mr. Sandler was known to have steered the 1-wall handball game beyond the sleepy handball world of that time.
Among players he constantly played and defeated in his era were the Obert brothers and Howie Eisenberg, who went on to become USHA Hall of Fame players.
“The era of the 60’s and 70's was a different world” said Dan Flickstein, a long time handball writer for the Association.
“In those years the tiebreakers would go to 21 points and the singles matches were played during the weekends for several weekends”
Fans always remember Steve Sandler as a pure 1-wall player with amazing skills at retrieving shots others wouldn’t attempt to try.
Mr. Sandler was probably the most skillful 1-wall player of his time. He tried to play 3-and 4-wall handball versions, but was quick to admit he couldn’t succeed in those handball codes because he just didn’t have the shots required for those handball versions.
Steve Sandler ended his handball career as the player to have won the most USHA 1-wall singles titles after all-time record holder Joe Durso.
The fourth round of the men’s open singles division at the 3-wall nationals held in Ohio, featured the youngest players to have been crowned as the best of the previous Grand National Series in 2013.
It takes special skills and talent to end up as the top players of the USHA Grand National Series. That’s why Nick Nahorniack and Tyree Bastidas ended up facing each other once again in the final stages of this prestigious tournament. It’s just a proof of their versatility and athletic abilities to adjust to any ball and any wall.
Both players left a great match on the court where everyone was happy to watch and appreciate their skills displayed during the entire match.
In the end Tyree walked away with the victory that left both players exhausted after a ton of rallies and ceiling shots. “I thought I got you more tired than I was” Nick told Tyree after the match.
The match added more points to their names at the Grand National Series standings.
Photos by Bill Fand
Once again, the handball tournament that pays the most money for a day’s work, took off right after the USHA 1-wall national that was held also at Coney Island.
You read it correctly, the only handball tournament on American soil that takes place in one day is also the only handball tournament in any handball version that pays the most money to all winners in every category.
The RedBull 1-wall handball tournament also attracts the best players of the game during the long day competition.
This tournament is played by invitation only as it selects the top current players in each division. No, it’s not open to handball enthusiasts or amateurs.
It’s always good news when a new company pops up to sell handball gear and apparel. It’s a sign of good economic times and a sign of companies willing to invest in the handball sport. We can’t recall when various brands of handball gloves were competing at the same time for a market share in the handball world.
With Owen Gloves and the Association “USHA” selling the most handball gloves in the U.S. and abroad, the EDTL handball store has been popping up during handball tournaments to offer new products that many players have been buying, either out of curiosity or because of the good quality of its products. Whatever reason they have to buy, we like to see new companies with new products, satisfy handball players ‘appetite for handball related items.
Will all these new items keep more handball players in the game?
The answer is yes, as long as the product lives up to its name with a reasonable price.
Tyree Bastidas is the only 1-wall world champion among both: the small or big ball singles competition to return to the worlds as defending world champion after capturing all national singles titles at home.
2012 World championship (Ireland) - 1-wall singles (small ball).
2013 - National championships (U.S.) - 1-wall singles (small ball)
2014 - National championships (U.S.) - 1-wall singles (small ball)
2015 World championship (Canada) - defending world champion.