This weekend the nationally recognized Pacific University handball team will head to nationals at Missouri State University in Spring field, Mo. The tournament will take place from Feb 21 through the 25.
Head coach David Steinberg will be leading the charge in Spring field, but has confidence in four players to help prepare the newcomers on the team.
“Ray Byerly, Macie Akai, Julie Huestis and Corey Hedger spend the most time assisting me,” Steinberg said. “But all the veterans assist, plus the men and women mix it up and work together too.”
According to Steinberg, this team of 22 athletes is the largest Pacific handball team in its 44-year history.
The roster is made up of 12 women and 10 men with eight total newcomers on the team. The men returned eight athletes from last season and the women returned six.
When asked how he felt about the team, Steinberg said this is the most ready team he has seen since he has become the head coach.
“They have trained and practiced consistently since September and played in a number of tournaments already leading up to the championships,” Steinberg said.
The team itself holds practices as a class period on Tuesdays and Thursdays, but has outside practice times as well. Most of the students in the class are already on the team, giving them the ability to earn a credit while playing for the team.
The tournament is formatted in a way for every player to play three games at a minimum. The first two matches are used to qualify the player or team, as there are doubles and the third match begins the points.
As long as a player or doubles team wins, they will advance and earn points for their team. The women and men have combined scores of all their athletes, solo wins and can even combine both men and women scores to earn an outright national championship.
Pacific will look to get back to its National Championship ways as it last did in 2016.