If the Stuyvesant Dragons, the boys’ handball team, expected to lose to anybody this season, it would have been against Brooklyn Technical High School, the top-seeded team in the postseason.
Instead, the Dragons, who have not lost a game in the regular season since April 15, 2005, lost to the Wolverines of Bronx High School of Science in the second round of the playoffs on Monday, May 21, 2007. After finishing two straight seasons with a 12-0 record, the Dragons had asserted their dominance within their relatively weak division and were seeded third in this year’s playoffs, six seeds higher than last season when they were ranked ninth.
However, the higher seeding did not help the Dragons as they fell by a score of 4-1 to the Wolverines. Junior, captain and first singles player Michael Wu won a meaningless fifth game, 21-14.
Coach Robert Sandler said, “You know, it was a close loss. Will didn’t have his stuff today and Bronx is a good team. They deserved more than a fourteenth seed. But Mike did what he had to do and both of the doubles matches were close.” Juniors and first doubles players Jonathan Eng and Nelson Chiu lost their match by a mere point, 21-20. Senior William Huang, in his final match of his high school career, and junior Alex Tam, lost their doubles match to the Wolverines by a score of 21-17. “Had we won those two games, it would be a completely different story,” said Sandler.
After losing in the second round to the Engineers of Brooklyn Technical High School last season, the Dragons lost five of their seven starters. Wu said that the lack of big game experience led to the loss to the Wolverines. “Everyone else was confident we would beat Bronx [Science]. But I had a feeling that we might lose to them. I was confident about winning my match, but I wasn’t sure about the others,” said Wu. “We only had two starters left over from last year’s team, and one of them was a little bit rusty. So the rest of the team didn’t have that much experience playing in the playoffs.”
The Dragons were able to play in the second round when they won their playoff opener on May 17 in which they defeated the Sharks of Sheepshead Bay High School in Central Park by a score of 4-1.
Wu dominated his opponent, senior and Shark Eugeny Rozanov, by a score of 21-0, serving up ten aces along the way. With 91 aces this season, Wu is sixth in the city in total aces and is second in aces per game with 13. The Dragons only lost two sets during this regular season.