Men’s and Women’s goalball teams produced wins in round robin preliminary play this afternoon at the 2015 Parapan American Games at Mississauga Sports Complex.
The Women’s team remained undefeated with another quick 10-0 victory in their game against Nicaragua. The game ended with 4:30 left in the first half.
“I think it went well,” said team member Asya Miller (Portland, Ore.). “We were accomplishing what we were doing, working on our accuracy, doing our defense, and making sure everyone was good and comfortable with the court.”
The U.S. Men followed suit with a win against Venezuela in the afternoon. The U.S. Men’s team mercied their opponents with less than 9:00 left in the second half. The final score was 13-3.
“We did everything we wanted to do, played strong, great defense and scored on the penalty shots. Those were the keys to our success and that was the big difference in our game today,” said Joseph Hamilton (Sacramento, Calif.), U.S. Men’s team member.
In addition to penalty shots and great defense, much of the U.S. Men’s success can be attributed to fluid communication on the court.
“[Communication] is the most important thing on the goalball court. You need to know where everybody is and what everybody’s doing or else you’re not going to work as a unit and you’re not going to be as effective as a unit,” said team member, Matthew Simpson (Smyrna, Ga.).
The focus now, for both teams, is Brazil. With two games behind them, the teams are warmed-up and ready to face the Brazilians.
“Tomorrow is going to be a good game. Brazil continues to improve,” said U.S. Women’s Assistant Head Coach, Jake Czechowski (Tucson, Ariz.). “With Rio hosting the Games next year, Brazil is going to want to show everyone they are ready. It’s going to come down to whoever can execute plays.”
For the U.S. Men, Simpson says the team will continue to focus on “good defense and being penalty-free”.
Round Robin competition will continue as both U.S. teams take on Brazil, Men at 9:00 a.m. EST and Women at 12:45 p.m. tomorrow, August 10. 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 Toronto 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.