Both Men’s and Women’s goalball teams lost preliminary round robin games to next year’s Paralympic Games host, Brazil.
The U.S. Men played first this morning, against the defending World Champions. The team started off strong with a goal from Matthew Simpson (Smyrna, Ga.) and a penalty shot from Joseph Hamilton (Sacramento, Calif.). The score was tied 2-2 at 5:30 in the first half. Shortly after Simpson’s goal, Brazil’s Leomon Moreno da Silva came back with two quick pitches back-to-back. Moreno de Silva continued to score throughout the remainder of the first half and into the second half. The final score was 9-2.
“We went up to the early lead and they came back and got a couple really good goals on us,” said John Kusku (Commerce Township, Mich.) of the U.S. Men’s Team. “Then, they kept scoring and we weren’t able to get it past them.”
The score could have been higher had it not been for excellent defense on penalty shots against the U.S. Hamilton, Donte’ Mickens (Delray Beach, Fla.) and Daryl Walker (Jacksonville, Fla.) blocked all three penalty shots thrown against them in the game. But it was Brazil’s sly offense that won the game.
“The Brazilian players were moving where they were throwing from. Them throwing from unexpected positions caused some mistakes on our defense,” explained Kusku.
The defending world champions, U.S. women’s team, also experienced defeat against Brazil today with a final score of 3-1. This was their first loss in round robin preliminary play.
“It was good for us to be out there for 24 minutes,” said Jen Armbruster (Portland, Ore.) of the U.S. Women’s Team.
Armbruster scored the U.S. goal during the second half.
“Going into this, we knew that Brazil is one of those top teams. We were looking forward to them and Canada first and that’s what we came up here for. So, it was a great competition. Brazil played great.”
This was the first time the U.S. Women had played against Victoria Amorim do Nascimento, who scored all three of Brazil’s goals.
“To consistently have a thrower out here for 24 minutes was a little bit different,” said Armbruster. “We’ve seen them now, so that’s good.”
The women will play Guatemala tomorrow and Canada on Wednesday.
“We’ve got to go focus on Guatemala tomorrow and have a good game on Wednesday against Canada and then, it’s a new tournament come Friday,” said Armbruster. “We’re in the semis, which is all this is about right now.”
Preliminary competition continues tomorrow at 9:00 a.m. EST when U.S. Women take on Guatemala. The U.S. Men play immediately after the women at 10:15 a.m. EST. Games continue throughout the week with semi-final and medal games being held on Friday, August 14 and Saturday, August 15. For the full 2015 Parapan American Games Goalball schedule, visit the Link will open in a new windowToronto 2015 website.
While the Parapan American Games serves as another opportunity for countries to qualify to compete in the 2016 Rio Paralympic Games, both U.S. Men’s and Women’s teams secured their spots in Finland late last year at World Championships. The United States was the first country to qualify both teams for Rio. Brazil also qualified both teams as host country.