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Karen McConney and Priscilla Shumate battled for the women's title Karen McConney and Priscilla Shumate battle for the women's title

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Karen McConney and Pricella Shumate battled for the Women's Title Finalists in Women's Doubles, with new addition

Pricella Shumate
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Priscilla Shumate retained her crown as Women's Singles Champion

Women Show Tremendous Heart in Nationals Championships

Priscilla Shumate Repeats as Women's Champ

Last year Priscilla Shumate was unknown to the One-Wall Handball scene. People in the sport had heard that the four-wall champion was coming to play, but they were skeptical that she would be able to adapt her game to the one-wall setting. Priscilla quickly demonstrated that she was a force to be reckoned with, handily winning the 1999 the tournament. This year she came to reclaim her title.

It was not easy going. In the first round, Adrianne Floyd took Priscilla into a tie breaker before succombing. Dori Ten played two strong games, but was not able to control the volley enough to prevail. However, Karen McConney, USHA Nationals winner in '96 and '98 demonstrated the true grit that has made her perhaps the top women's player for the past few years. Playing with a hairline fracture on her right middle finger Karen took Priscilla to the wall finally succumbing in a tie-breaker (19), 13, 4.

"She gave me an awesome game," said Priscilla. "I didn't think I'd come out of it. Every time she had position, whe was able to stand her ground and hit some great overhand killers. It was a great match."

Priscilla's success is even more amazing considering how little she gets to play a one-wall game. Throughout the year it's all four-wall play and she has little opportunity to train or adapt to the single wall game. However, just setlling down in Albuquerque NM, she has discovered a wall close by that with a bit of maintenance could be an excellent court. Should Priscella find a competitive partner out there, the women's field might find the champ unstoppable.

Adrian Floyd and Karen McConney take Women's Doubles

For the past five years Adrian Floyd and Karen McConney have played Barbara Canton-Jackson and Dori Ten in the Women's Doubles Championship. Coming into today, the teams were even at 2 a piece. With this week's win, Adrian and Karen have set truely distinguished themselves, winning the last 3 Nationals.

This was a hard fought match. Dori and Barbara took the first game, but the defending champs came back to take the second game by the same score (16). The tie breaker went down to the wire before Karen and Adrian emerged with an 11-9 victory.

What was truly impressive was how each of the contestants were able to play. Adrian's was suffering from tendinitis in the right arm, Karen was playing against Doctor's recommendations with a cast on her right middle finger. Dori who had recently been in a car accident, has only recently stopped wearing a neck brace for support and Barbara gave birth less than 4 months ago to a beautiful little boy. As Dwight Worley, president of the St. Albans Handball Association said "These women could just as easily have been meeting at a Doctor's office as on a handball court." But on the court they were, playing an intense match that went down to the wire and once again demonstrated the heart and soul of these champions.

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