Two days after a loss to Brazil, U.S. Women took the court against reigning Paralympic champions, Japan. With a strong start, Paralympic veterans Jen Armbruster, Asya Miller and Amanda Dennis led Team USA to a 5-3 victory against Japan today in Rio de Janeiro.
Armbruster, a six-time Paralympian, put the U.S. ahead immediately with two goals in the first two minutes. Five-time Paralympian, Miller followed suit delivering another goal for Team USA before Japan scored their first goal of the game, making the score 3-1 in the first 9 minutes.
Japan slid the ball past Miller and Dennis to bring the score to 3-2. But, before the end of the first half, Miller scored again, the ball bouncing over Japan’s left wing. At the half, the score was USA 4, Japan 2.
In the second half, momentum slowed as the temperature in the arena seemed to affect the endurance of both teams. Japan scored on the Team USA by bouncing over Miller but with 6 minutes left in the game, Dennis scored her only goal of the game (and second Paralympic goal). Unable to break past U.S. defense again, Japan left two points unanswered at the final buzzer.
“This is a big win for us,” said Assistant Coach Jake Czechowski. “It puts us back on track after having a day off, and then having a forfeiture kind of stopped our initial momentum. So, getting this quality win after all of that helps refocus us mentally and puts us back on track with where we needed and where we wanted to be going forward into the rest of the tournament.”
The U.S. Women lost their first game in preliminary play against Brazil and won their game against Algeria when the team forfeited on Friday. “Getting back out on the court was huge,” said Armbruster. The U.S. Women are ranked first in their group with a 2-1 record and 6 points. The top four teams from each group will advance to quarter finals on Wednesday, September 14.
“Our philosophy has always been ‘play defense and our offense will show up’ – and we did that today,” said Armbruster. “We had a couple mistakes but we didn’t panic, we stayed in control and we kept our composure. And that’s all we have to do again on Tuesday – keep our composure, play defense, and just be patient.”
With a win against reigning Paralympic champions and a strong showing against Brazil, the women will play their final game in preliminary play against Israel on Tuesday at 9:00am BRT. Follow @USAWGoalball on Twitter for updates from Rio.