The U.S. Women’s Goalball needed to do one thing this morning to advance to the gold medal game against Brazil – break through Canada’s wall of defense. The game was back and forth but U.S. Women led at the half, 4-3. Their normal strategy of ‘defense first’ was tested early in the game when 2 goals were scored on them by Canada’s Ashlie Andrews.
After the half, U.S. Women took a comfortable lead with two goals. The Canadian women answered with 2 goals of their own to tie the game to 5-5, with 7 minutes left to play. Dennis brought her team into the lead again before Canada answered with a sixth goal to tie the game in the last 2 minutes.
Dennis scored to win the game for the U.S. Women with 12 seconds left in the second half. Her goal brought the final score to 7-6 and advanced the team to the gold medal game.
“We’ve had ups and downs throughout this tournament, but it was all about keeping it solid for the last few shots,” said Dennis. “It was a back and forth game but, it’s really more exciting when you win a close game.”
The U.S. Women will take on Brazil at 7:30 p.m. EST tonight for the gold medal in Toronto.
“We faced Brazil in the round robin and they are a very tough team,” said Lisa Czechowski (Tucson, Ariz.) “We learned from them that we need to work on our defense”
“Defense is always first and then offense will come,” added Dennis about their strategy for tonight’s game. “We have things to work on between now and then. We need to tighten it up and execute properly for the next game.”
The Parapan American Games serve as a qualification opportunity for goalball teams to secure a spot in Rio 2016’s Paralympic program. Though both U.S. and Brazil’s Women’s teams have already qualified for Rio 2016, the winner of the bronze medal match tonight at 6:00 p.m. EST between Canada and Guatemala will determine which team will punch their ticket to Rio tonight.