SANTIAGO, Chile (November 24, 2023) – As they did four years ago in Lima, Peru, the USA Goalball teams came away with silver medals following the finals of the 2023 Parapan American Games in Santiago, Chile. The U.S. men’s team lost 12-2 to defending world and Paralympic champion Brazil in the men’s final, while the U.S. women dropped a 4-3 decision to Canada in their final qualification opportunity for next summer’s Paris 2024 Paralympic Games.
In the women’s final, the U.S. battled back from an early 2-0 deficit to even the score at the half behind goals from Eliana Mason (Beaverton, Ore.) and Lisa Czechowski (Boonton, N.J.). In the second half, Canada converted two penalty throws in the span of 24 seconds to forge in front 4-2. Czechowski would find the back of the net once again with 5:31 left to play, but the Americans could not come up with the equalizer. With the victory, Canada earned a berth in the Paris 2024 Paralympics.
The U.S. men’s team played Brazil tight in the first half, trailing by just a 2-0 margin at the halftime break. After falling behind 5-0 early in the second half, Zach Buhler (Huntington, Ind.) came off the bench to provide an offensive spark with two goals within a minute of each other to make the score 5-2. However, Brazil would string together the final seven goals of the match, the final one coming in the waning seconds to secure the 12-2 victory.
“We had good energy and good cohesion on our side, Brazil is just hyper-accurate on their shots,” said U.S. Men’s Head Coach Keith Young. “We know six out of the eight teams going to Paris so during this break we can formalize some assessments of the teams we’re facing and make the necessary adjustments.”
“We see where we stand right now going into Paris, so we’ll focus on honing our craft for these next nine months,” Buhler added. “Medaling here is awesome, but we want to medal in Paris.”
Canada claimed the bronze medal on the men’s side with a victory over Argentina, while Brazil defeated Argentina in the women’s bronze medal match.