The 4th Annual CUNY Wall Ball Championship Series began with Wall Ball at the College of Staten Island. The single elimination tournament featured 16 men’s teams and two on the women’s side. Teams spanned across 14 CUNY institutions with the College of Staten Island having the most participants at 10. In the end, former champions took home the crown once again on the men’s side while new ladies came to the game and took home the title.

Even with 16 teams competing, all eyes were on a pair who had previously won the title separately but were taking on the bracket together this season. Hunter’s Robert Lee and Queens Borough’s Johnny Velez have been a part of the championship team in each of the last two seasons with Tony Ferruggia as their teammate but with Ferruggia moving on, the two decided to team up.

They were clear favorites but in just the first round, they were nearly knocked off. Watson Chen and Kyle Yan from Baruch College really gave the top dogs a challenge as they battled back and forth but fell by the narrowest of margins 21-20. In table tennis, matches are to 21 with no “win by two” rule. Chen and Yan had the opportunity to take down the former champions but were unable to capitalize. After that, Velez and Lee rolled their way to the final with 21-9 and 21-1 victories along the way.

On the other side of the bracket, Josh Milian from Kingsborough and Kenneth Marin of LaGuardia were able to outplay opponents 21-17, 21-10, and 21-18 on their way to the championship match.

In the title game, Velez and Lee went up 10-0 quickly and were seemingly going to roll right through but Milian and Marin began coming back and brought the game to 10-5. The teams came to 12-7 before another run by the former champions brought the matchup to 20-9. The underdogs scored another couple of points but in the end, the match ended 21-12.

“Handball is amazing,” said Velez. “I have been playing since I was nine years old. You can play with any emotion and it keeps you active.” Lee continued “it is so cheap to play since all you need is a wall, the ball, and your hand. Just a dollar to get in the game.”

Women’s action saw a best of three series between John Jay’s Kayla Paredes with York’s Joanne Ly and Terssa Tran with Jennifer Ling from CSI. In the first matchup between the teams, Paredes and Ly were victorious to go up one game to none. They followed that up with a 21-7 victory in the final to take home the crown.

In their own words:

Kaee –

I had an amazing experience at the CUNY 2014 handball championships! I was able to interact with college students from all over New York who share a love for handball as much as I do. It was great to see this tournament really come alive and see how much support there is within the community. I believe this event gave students a chance to represent their school and strut their skills on the court at the same time. Coming into this event I was a little nervous, but the way I see it is that were all winners, we came to have fun and play and that’s exactly what we’re going to do. Hopefully next year we can inspire more females to really come out and support handball. Come on ladies lets show the guys we can do it better! So happy I can represent John Jay College by bringing it home.

Bobby Lee –

Both Johnny and I enjoyed playing in the tournament and how well the tournament was organized. It feels great to be a champion again being that I won in 2012 and came up short in 2013, having the title back feels great. My partner Johnny is ecstatic that he could repeat. I think the hardest team we played was the first round. We might’ve gone a little too easy the first round and that team was good enough to snag us. We were down 15-7 and had to come back and win. The finals was also hard because josh and chicken are both very good players, so to beat them feels just as great. Thank you!

For additional pictures please visit our Facebook page by clicking HERE

Special THANK YOU to our staff, volunteers and officials:

Jasmine Ray (Wall Ball President)

Sal Caruso (CSI Director of Intramural Sports)

Michelle Melendez

Henry Santiago

Jasmina Dukanovic

Mousey  Quiles

Christian Guzman

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