After dropping their opening match, the USA Goalball Men’s Team reeled off six consecutive victories to claim the gold medal at the June 9-11 Nations Cup in Berlin, Germany. The American squad outscored its opponents 78-37 and reached double-digits in goals in five of their seven games.
An 11-7 opening-match loss to the Germany Black squad was followed up with two pool-play wins on the opening day of competition…a 13-3 triumph over Montenegro and a 12-2 win over Spain. On day two, the U.S. ended pool play with a 15-7 victory over Finland and a quarterfinal win against the Germany White team, 10-6.
Rematches were in order on the final day of the event as the U.S. gained redemption against the Germany Black team in the semifinals, 9-4, before defeating Finland for a second time in the gold medal final, 12-4.
“The 2023 Berlin Cup was a great opportunity for our USA Goalball Men’s National Team to prepare in a competitive environment for the upcoming 2023 IBSA World Games,” said USA Head Coach Keith Young. “We had Calahan Young and Zachary Buhler returning from injuries and they are approaching top form. All six athletes contributed to the tournament victory.”
The American scoring attack was led by Tokyo 2020 Paralympic teammates Calahan Young (Pittsburgh, Pa.), Zach Buhler (Huntington, Ind.), Matt Simpson (Smyrna, Ga.) and Tyler Merren (Greenville, Mich.). Young tallied 29 goals over the seven games, followed by Buhler (15), Simpson (13) and Merren (12). Paralympic hopefuls Christian King (Virginia Beach, Va.) and Tre’Shaun Faison (Orange Park, Fla.) chipped in six goals and three goals, respectively.
The USA Goalball Men’s and Women’s teams now shift their focus to qualifying for the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games. The first opportunity comes at the 2023 IBSA World Games in Birmingham, England, August 18-27.