The USA Goalball women’s and men’s teams wrapped up play at the 2023 IBSA World Games in Birmingham, England, on Aug. 27, with the U.S. women’s team placing fifth and the U.S. men’s team finishing eighth.
The women’s team went 6-2 overall, including 4-1 in the group stage to advance to the quarterfinals. Facing eventual silver medalist Japan in the quarterfinal round, the two teams went toe-to-toe in an epic battle that saw the score tied 0-0 through two overtime periods. After the first round of shootouts, the teams remained locked in a 2-2 tie before Japan prevailed in the second round of shootouts, 4-3. The women’s team rebounded with a 10-0 win over Germany and a 5-1 defeat of Israel to secure fifth place. For the tournament, the U.S. outscored its opponents 46-12. Amanda Dennis (Peachtree City, Ga.) led the team with 18 goals, followed by Eliana Mason (Beaverton, Ore.) with 14, Lisa Czechowski (Boonton, N.J.) with eight, and Asya Miller (Portland, Ore.) with six.
China won the women’s gold medal; Japan took the silver medal and Brazil captured the bronze.
After dropping its first two matches of the tournament, the U.S. men’s team regrouped with three straight victories over Australia, Iran and Turkey, and a tie with eventual bronze medalist Ukraine to reach the quarterfinal round. A 5-1 loss to Japan would eliminate the U.S. from medal contention as Japan would go on to claim the gold medal with a 7-3 win over South Korea. Calahan Young (Pittsburgh, Pa.) led the U.S. attack with 19 goals. Christian King (Virginia Beach, Va.) scored seven, Tyler Merren (Greenville, Mich.) netted six, Matt Simpson (Smyrna, Ga.) tallied five and Zach Buhler (Huntington, Ind.) added three.
The USA Goalball teams now shift their focus to the upcoming Parapan American Games in Santiago, Chile, Nov. 12-26, the final qualifying opportunity for the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games. A first-place finish is needed at that event to earn Paralympic qualification.
USA Goalball Women’s Results (w/ goal scorers)
Defeated Germany, 10-0 (Mason 6, Dennis 3, Czechowski)
Defeated Ukraine, 8-0 (Dennis 6, Mason, Czechowski)
Lost to Canada, 6-1 (Czechowski)
Defeated Brazil, 1-0 (Dennis)
Defeated Finland, 8-1 (Dennis 3, Mason 3, Czechowski, Miller)
Lost to Japan, 4-3 in shootout
Defeated Germany, 10-0 (Miller 4, Mason 3, Czechowski 2, Dennis)
Defeated Israel, 5-1 (Dennis 3, Miller, Czechowski)
USA Goalball Men’s Results (w/ goal scorers)
Lost to Greece, 8-5 (Simpson 2, Merren 2, Young)
Lost to Argentina, 9-4 (Young 3, Simpson)
Defeated Australia, 5-3 (King 4, Young)
Defeated Iran, 9-4 (Young 5, Merren 3, Simpson)
Defeated Turkey, 5-2 (Young 4, Merren)
Tied Ukraine, 2-2 (Young, King)
Lost to Japan, 5-1 (Young)
Lost to Turkey, 7-3 (Young 2, King)
Lost to Iran, 7-6 (Buhler 3, King, Young, Simpson)