U.S. Men’s Goalball teams finished on top of the podium at the Nova Scotia Open hosted by Blind Sports Nova Scotia at Citadel High School November 20-22.
Top teams from across North America were invited to participate. Alberta, Ontario, and Quebec sent teams to compete. U.S. Men’s Goalball sent two teams of six elite male goalball players to the tournament in Halifax. Abel Del Toro, Matt Simpson, and Nathan Purcell made up USA White while Daryl Walker, Joe Hamilton and John Kusku played for USA Red.
“Our main focus going in was to play well against Nova Scotia,” said Matthew Boyle, Resident Coach. “They are the Canadian National Champions and have won nearly every tournament they have played US teams in over the last few years.”
USA White emerged from 5 games of round robin play undefeated and set to play Alberta in the semi-finals on Sunday. USA Red’s only loss in round robin play was to USA White where the final score was 17-10. In the semi-finals, home team, Nova Scotia fell to USA Red 4-1, which meant both USA teams would play each other in the final game for gold.
The first goal in the final game was scored by John Kusku on USA Red. After two intense halves, USA White rose to the occasion to win 10-7. USA White would bring home GOLD and USA Red would bring home SILVER.
This was the first tournament the men have competed in since 5 of the six players who attended moved to Fort Wayne, Indiana to participate in the newly established goalball resident program at Turnstone Center.
“It was a great tournament for us overall,” Boyle said. “Obviously it was a great success for our program, bringing two teams and taking the top two spots. We were able to implement things we had been working on over the last two months of training.”
This was another success for the U.S. Men’s Goalball Team on their Road to Rio.
“I was very proud of how everyone played,” said Boyle. “We still have a lot to work on, but this was a nice start to this final year of training leading into the Paralympics.”
The U.S. Men will participate in a training camp December 11-13 in Fort Wayne, Indiana where they will continue to work on stronger throwing techniques and winning combinations in preparation for Rio in September.
GOLD – USA White (Abel Del Toro, Matt Simpson, Nathan Purcell)
SILVER – USA Red (Daryl Walker, Joe Hamilton, John Kusku)
BRONZE – Alberta Saiyans
4th – Nova Scotia
5th – Ontario All Black
6th – Quebec