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European Handball Championship
Another semester, another championship for Hold My Dynasty after beating Kenny Powers in the finals.

With the top 4 teams getting a bye, the first round had a lot of intense games. The first game of playoffs saw the 10th seeded Kin N Tonics; led by Steve Bowes, upset the 7th seeded Element Financial Friends to move on to the next round. The next game was another upset, as the 9 seed Inbetweeners, led by Top Female award winner Keanna McKenzie, beat the 8 seed Free Agents, who saw most of their scoring from Top Rookie award winner James Moorcroft. The next twogames were more one-sided, as The Link (5) handled Bricker Penthouse (12) and Panacea (6) beat Ball in Hands (11) to move on to the second round.

The first game of the second round saw the undefeated Kenny Powers (2), led by MVP and Top Scorer award winner Matt Belanger, easily handle the passionate Kin N Tonics team. The next game had first place Hold My Dynasty (1), who were missing Top Goalie award winner Trent Barwick for this game, play against the Inbetweeners, who were fresh off of a big win. But with Daniel Murphy filling in for Barwick, and a healthy WESLEY VAN LUVEN back from injury, they were able to win a big playoff game. The third quarter-final game had All Finnish No Swedish (3), led by MVP nominee Darcy Eveleigh, run over Panacea to move on, and Victorious Secret (4), led by the scoring duo of Marcus La Penta and Charanjot Bindra, handle The Link to move on as well.

Semifinal game one almost saw the biggest upset of the year, as Victorious Secret almost beat Hold My Dynasty. First half was all Victorious Secret, due to poor transition defense by Hold My Dynasty, and great passing by Victorious Secret. However, coming out of half tied, Van Luven took over the game and made sure that his team played the style of game that helped them go undefeated throughout the year, and ended up winning by 3 goals to move onto the finals. Semfinal game number two was another thriller, as All Finnish No Swedish really wanted another shot at Hold My Dynasty, but fell just short to Kenny Powers. Andrew Hubbard of All Finnish went on a rampage of scoring, but it wasn't enough to give Kenny Powers their first loss.

The final game: two undefeated teams; one looking to win their first title, and one looking to extend their streak of championships. Hold My Dynasty got off to a quick start as Sebastian Clarke buried a couple quick goals, trying to prove that he should have had MVP considerations, and the defence stepping up to help out Barwick in net. But, the scoring trio of MVP Belanger, Rob Massel and Andrew Neustaedter were not giving up, as they narrowed the lead to single digits going into half. Coming out of the break, Hold My Dynasty started to increase their lead, seeing goals from Melissa Jeffreys and Chad Keohane, and strong defense from Dustin Lai and Daniel Murphy. Belanger scored some last minute goals, but it was too little, too late as Hold My Dynasty went on to win their fourth straight championship, and fifth in the last six semesters. Trent Barwick was quoted after the game saying, "this season was by far the toughest one yet. We dealt with injuries and tough timing conflicts, but I think most of all we saw the quality of play in this league at its strongest. We had to battle every game this year, and that says a ton about the other teams in this league. It was great to see us come together and rally in the playoffs, we had to be at our absolute best."

AWARD WINNERS
Most Valuable Player: Matt Belanger, Kenny Powers

Belanger led his team to a perfect 7-0 regular season through his ability to score at will, and feed his teammates for easy goals. Winning the scoring race by 11 goals made Belanger the obvious choice for this award. He's not just a scorer though, he understands the game, plays strong defence and is one of the best all-around players in the league.

Honorable Mention: WESLEY VAN LUVEN, Hold My Dynasty

Injuries hurt Van Luven this year, and put him out of contention to win this award. After the first five games, he was on pace to score over 120 goals this season, but after suffering an injury playing a different intramural sport, he was sidelined for two games, hurting his chances. Van Luven was quoted as saying, "this season has an asterisk beside it; I'm still the top player in this league." We can only assume Van Luven will be back next semester trying to regain his title as MVP, but we can be sure Belanger will not be willing to give it up that easy.

Top Scorer: Matt Belanger, Kenny Powers

Belanger scored 107 goals in 7 games, which is an unheard of 15.3 goals per game. Scoring is nothing new to him, which is why he was award the MVP award as well as top scorer.

Honorable Mention: Troy Barwick, Hold My Dynasty

Barwick scored 96 goals, which is 13.7 goals per game, and good enough to finish second in the scoring race. Going into the final game of the season, which Kenny Powers played in, Barwick was up 14 goals on Belanger, but after a season-high 25 goals by Belanger, he passed him and captured the title.

Top Rookie: James Moorcroft, Free Agent

Since the first game of the season, Moorcroft has found away to score goals, leading all newcomers with 89 goals, fifth out of everyone in the league. I almost found it hard to believe that he had never played the game before, due to his natural ability to score goals.

Honorable Mention: Matt Russel, Element Financial Friends

Russel started playing halfway through the season for Element Financial Friends, and was a game-changer. His ability to throw hard, and use his height to throw overpeople made it very difficult to defend him. His basketball mindset made it easy for him to pick up the game, as they have similar game flow. If Russel had been playing since day one, he would have given Moorcroft a run for his title.

Top Goalie: Trent Barwick, Hold My Dynasty

Barwick was a wall in net, and also helped lead the charge on offence. I'ts hard not to give credit to the goalie of the first place team, but he was more than just that. During the final stretch ofthe season, Barwick used his great court vision to find players in transition, and coach the team and help the game flow, calling out substitutions when needed. He also led all goaltenders in scoring, and outscored multiple players on his team, while playing every game in net.

Honorable Mention: Andrew Wilby, Victorious Secret

Wilby put his body in front of everything, including multiple shots to the face from Van Luven in the playoffs, but that did not phase him, as he continued to stop the ball by any means necessary. Victorious Secrets' one weakness was defence, but Wilby made up for it and kept them in every game.

Most Sportsmanlike: Tyler Ackerman, The Link

Rarely will you see Ackerman without a smile during thegame. Even in the most heated games, he's the first guy to pick up his teammates regardless of the outcome, which was a huge part of their success. His style of play is needed by more players in this league.

Honorable Mention: David Townshend, Free Agent

Townshend is one of the more aggressive players in the league, but he's always there to lend a hand and make friends with opponents. Whether he's fighting for the ball or congratulating one of his opponents after a nice play, he's always a good sport.

Top Female Player: Keanna McKenzie, Inbetweeners

Although it was her first time playing, McKenzie was a natural this semester, and always found herself getting open shots, or creating shots for her teammates, and helped her team out in many close games this season.

Honorable Mention: Alyssa Becque, Victorious Secret

Becque may not have been the go-to scorer on a team with many weapons, but on a team with poor defence, she stepped up and made some clutch stops on defence, including guarding Van Luven for a few possessions during their games against Hold My Dynasty.

Thanks for everyone who played this semester, and I hope to see you all back next semester!

Article written by: Troy Barwick, Referee-in-Chief
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Over 6,000 students at Laurier participate in 30 intramural sports and 40 recreational programs annually.

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