USA Youth Team Starts Panamerican Championships with Key Match Vs Hosts, Chile

Rene Ingram, the top goalie at the Panamerican Jrs Championships will be back in the goal tonight for Team USA at the Youth Championships.

Rene Ingram, the top goalie at the Panamerican Jrs Championships, will be back in the goal tonight for Team USA at the Panamerican Youth Championships.

The USA Youth (U19) Team opens play today with what is likely to be a pivotal match vs hosts Chile.  Pivotal, because Chile and the U.S., on paper, appear to be the 2 teams in Group B with the best chance to finish in 2nd place behind regional power, Brazil.  And a 2nd place finish in group play will result in a spot in the tournament semifinals and qualification for the World Junior Championships later this summer in Georgia.

The U.S. roster is a mix of dual citizens who learned to play the sport in Europe and U.S. based players.  The dual citizen contingent features 5 Germans, 1 Swede, 1 Dane and 1 Bosnian while the U.S. contingent consists of 5 athletes from Craig Rot’s Chicago area program, 1 athlete from San Francisco and 1 athlete from Texas A&M.  Sure to play a big role our 3 holdovers from the recent Junior (U21) Championship.  Rene Ingram will be back in goal and back on the will be Amar Amitovic and Paul Skorupa.  All 3 will surely be keen on avenging the bronze medal loss to Chile.

Tonight’s game is at 2030 (Local) and 1930 (EDST).  A live stream should be available for viewing here:  Link

Competition website: Link

Dainis Kristopans, the Tallest Elite Player in the History of the Game?

 Dainis Kristopans currently plays for Meskov Brest, but the Latvian giant will play for Veszprem next season.


Dainis Kristopans currently plays for Meskov Brest, but the Latvian giant will play for RK Vardar next season.

I’ve been catching up on the videos for the Champions League round of 16 and the Final Four and one player that literally stands out is Meshkov Brest’s Dainis Kristopans.  He didn’t have the best performance in the SEHA Final Four, but he was a force to reckon with in the Champions League, and finished the season as the 7th leading scorer with 76 goals.

At 7’1” and 298 lbs it is certainly hard to miss him.  I’m not sure if someone is keeping height stats of professional handball players, but he’s got to be one of the tallest to have ever played the game.  And, in my opinion, he is the tallest elite handball player to ever play the game.  I’m sure there have been taller players, but it’s less doubtful that they could be considered elite.  All too often as players approach 7 feet tall their effectiveness as handball players diminishes.

This seems counterintuitive, but the physical nature and pace of the game starts to negate the height advantage.  In particular, the prototypical back court play of either breaking through the defense or shooting over it can be harder to execute for the taller player.  Sure, the taller player can shoot over, but without the credible threat of beating the defense for a breakthrough, a good defensive player can rough up the player and make that 9-10 meter shot ineffective.  There’s a reason why the typical back court player is in that 6’3” to 6’8” height range and it’s not just because everybody taller decided to take up basketball.  A combination of height, quickness, jumping ability, toughness and throwing ability is needed.  Not to mention smart passing skills.  There’s just not a whole lot of 7 footers out there with that combination.

And, what makes Kristopans interesting is that he doesn’t have that full complement of skills, but has developed a playing style to maximize his height/weight advantage.  He’s never going to out quick his opposition for a breakthrough at 6 meters, but he knows how to position himself for a quality shot at 8 meters. At nearly 300 lbs the defense has to be directly in front of him to stop him.  Finally, he’s also not blessed with great jumping ability, but it doesn’t matter.  He smartly uses his height advantage to wind up and get his shot off over the opposition.

Oh, and I didn’t even mention the fact that he’s left handed.  At age 26, RK Vardar was wise to sign him up.  Paired with a quality center back that can set him up on attack, he could inflict some real damage.

A personal side note for some perspective on  height and size.  Back in 1989 at the U.S. Olympic Festival, while standing in line at the cafeteria I had the opportunity to stand next to a 17 year old basketball phenom that everyone was talking about.  His name was Shaquille O’Neal and to this day it is the only time in my life where I just felt puny.  Not just merely shorter, but puny.  I’m 6’5”, about 215 lbs and I’ve stood next to lean 7 footers and it’s just slightly unnerving for a tall guy not used to looking up. But Shaq had a 100 lbs on me, roughly half my body weight and that was totally unnerving.  (And, back then Shaq wasn’t overweight.)  Kristopans isn’t quite 3 bills plus like Shaq was, but he’s approaching it.  Something that defenders have to contemplate when he’s on attack.

That’s my take on this giant of handball, but I’ve only been following the sport closely for 15 years.  If you know of a taller player that still passes muster for “elite” status chime in on Facebook or Twitter to set me straight.

SEHA and German Cup Final 4:  6 Matches Worth Watching on ehfTV

SEHA, rhymes with Hee-Haw, but this league is no joke. Watch the Final Four on ehfTV this weekend.

SEHA, rhymes with Hee-Haw, but this league is no joke.  In fact, it’s arguably the second best league in Europe.  You can see for yourself. Watch the SEHA Final Four on ehfTV this weekend.

Normally, when one thinks of ehfTV, one thinks of the EHF Champions League.  If you enjoyed the Round of 16 the past two weeks like me you may be a little bummed that it is a 2 week wait to the quarterfinals.  Furthermore, if you are an American are suffering from NCAA Final Four withdrawal, I’ve got some good news for you as ehfTV will be showing not 1, but 2 Final Fours this weekend as both the  Southeast Handball Association (SEHA) League and German Cup Finals will be available on ehfTV.

The SEHA League will be playing their semifinals on Friday with Vardar taking on Zagreb and Final Four hosts, Meskov Brest taking on Veszprem.  The SEHA League has only been around for 6 years, but it is quietly establishing itself as one of the best leagues in Europe.  Featuring teams from the former Yugoslavia, Slovenia, Hungary and Belarus, it can be viewed as a regional champions league.  Not that it’s clubs don’t already play in the Champions League.  In fact, the four finalists all made the Champions League Round of 16 and 2 clubs, Veszprem and Vardar are still in the tournament and could make that Final Four as well.

The German Cup semis will be on Saturday.  Leipzig will play Kiel in the first semi while Rhein Neckar Lowen will play Flensburg in the other semi.  Kiel, RNL and Flensburg are well known sides from Champions League play while Leipzig is a team from the 2nd tier of the HBL.  It will be interesting to see whether they can spring the upset of Kiel.  I for one, though, wouldn’t mind seeing a rematch of the R16 contest between Kiel and RNL in the final

Schedule (All times EDST)

SEHA

Friday, 1130 Vardar vs Zagreb Video
Friday, 1400 Brest vs Veszprem Video
Sunday, 1130 3rd Place Match Video
Sunday, 1400 1st Place Match Video

German Cup

Saturday, 0830 Leipzig vs Kiel Video
Saturday, 1130 RNL vs Flensburg Video
Sunday, 0830 1st Place Match Video (Note: If you don’t want to know who wins cover the picture with a sheet of paper.  THANKS A LOT ehfTV)

Note:  Sometimes the live stream is geo blocked in the U.S., but the on demand video typically shows up a couple of hours after the match.  I will try to provide a direct link to the on demand video for each match on this page when it is available.

If the link isn’t avilable here you can search for the video at ehfTV.  If you’re like me and don’t want to know the final outcome of the match follow these tips

  • Go to the ehfTV website: Link ehftv.com
  • Scroll down until you get to the menu that starts with “Latest Video”
  • Click on “Full Matches”
  • Wait a bit for your screen to load and then scroll down. If the match you want to see is available it should show up on this page  (and hopefully, there isn’t a picture of someone holding a trophy, or A GERMAN TEAM CELEBRATING.  THANKS YET AGAIN, ehfTV!!!! –SARCASM, FULLY INTENDED—)

ESPN: The Body Issue:  Handball Style   

Argentina's Antonela Mena strikes a handball pose

Argentina’s Antonela Mena strikes a handball pose

Team Handball News likes to take and thoughtful and introspective look at all the major issues facing the handball world and keeping with that role here’s a link to ESPN Argentina’s “The Body Issue” featuring Argentinian handball player, Antonela Mena.

ESPN Argentina Magazine Video: Link

Mena, 29, has been with the National Team for several years and is the team captain.  She also plays for club team, CID de Moreno.  In an interview with the El Universo website, she discussed her reservations with posing:

“The truth is that it was a tough decision, because I was embarased … but then I said why not, if important athletes have already done so, it could mean an opportunity for handball.  I had a good time and little by little I was less uncomfortable as they were professional and made me feel comfortable. I recognize that it is difficult, but with the support of my partner, family and companions I was encouraged and I was fine with it.”  (Note: Rough translation via Google)

While some might be put off on this expose as a novelty stunt, promotion like this can really help increase a sport’s awareness quotient.  At least there’s little doubt in my mind that this post is going to get a few more clicks than another commentary on how to better develop handball in the U.S.

Also, a bit of equal time.  Here’s a link to Frederico Pizarro from last year’s issue: Link

 

USA Takes 2nd Place at NORCA after Close Loss to Puerto Rico in Final

NORCA Champions, Puerto Rico (Center), Runners up, USA (Left) and 3rd place, the Dominican Republic (Right)

NORCA Champions, Puerto Rico (Center), Runners up, USA (Left) and 3rd place, the Dominican Republic (Right)

The U.S. came up short in its quest for gold last night losing to Puerto Rico 28-27.  Puerto Rico and the U.S. traded goals to start the game and the score was tied midway through the first half at 7-7.  Puerto Rico then secured a 2 goal lead and would never relinquish the lead the remainder of the game.  At the half they led 16-14 and they further stretched the lead to 26-20 with 10 minutes left in the game.  The U.S. then staged a comeback reminiscent of their first match, outscoring Puerto Rico 8-1, coming up just short in the end.

Team USA was led in scoring by veterans Kathy Darling with 7 and Sarah Gascon with 6.  Nicole Anderson added 4 while Ashley Butler and Jence Rhoads had 3 each.  Rounding out the scoring was Julia Taylor with 2 and Ashley VanRy and Zoe Lombard with 1 a piece.

Overall, it was a pretty successful tournament for the U.S. with 4 solid wins and 1 loss to hosts Puerto Rico in the Final.  This is particularly true, when one considers that without a full complement of athletes training at Auburn, roughly half the team hasn’t been able to scrimmage, let alone play regular competitive matches for the past 2 years.  While the competition in NORCA isn’t very strong this still is a remarkable achievement and a testament to the determination of the athletes who made significant financial and personal sacrifices just to attend the tournament.

The U.S., along with Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic (3rd place winners over Greenland) have also qualified for the Pan American Championships which will take place this June in Argentina.  Brazil, Argentina and Cuba will be strong favorites to finish in the top 3 and secure qualification for the World Championship, but the USA will be among several teams that will be looking to earn the fourth semifinal spot.

On Demand Video: Link

Team USA Qualifies for Panamerican Championships; Plays for NORCA Gold Tonight

Team USA celebrates a hard fought win over Greenland and qualification for the Panamerican Championships.

Team USA celebrates a hard fought win over Greenland and qualification for the Panamerican Championships.

Team USA held off Greenland 20-18 to earn qualification to the Panamerican Championships later this summer in Argentina.  Tonight they will play hosts Puerto Rico, winners over the Dominican Republic, 32-23, in the gold medal match at 1930 EDST.  Greenland will play the Dominican Republic at 1730 for bronze and the last ticket to the Panamerican championships.

The match between the U.S. and Greenland was tightly contested throughout with neither team leading by more than a couple goals throughout.  The U.S. led 10-9 at the half, but Greenland mounting a comeback in the 2nd half to take the lead.  The U.S. fought back with Ashley VanRyn aggressive play on offense to tie the game at 18-18.  At which point the U.S. clamped down on defense to close out the game 20-18.

Video (2nd half): Link (Courtesy of Greenland supporter, Boad Moller)

USA Post Game Celebration (USATH Facebook Page): Link

Tonight’s game will be broadcast live on 360 Deportes starting at 1930 EDST:  Link

Team USA Finishes Group Play with Resounding Win over the Dominican Republic

Julia Taylor on attack vs the Dominican Republic

Julia Taylor on attack vs the Dominican Republic

The U.S. closed out group play with an easy 26-13 victory over the previously unbeaten Dominican Republic.  Unlike its first two matches, Team USA, left no doubt as to who was the better team as it dominated the match from start to finish. Particularly encouraging was a stifling defense that limited the Dominicans to just 13 goals in 60 minutes.

Team USA was led in scoring by newcomer, Ashley Butler, with 7 goals. Kathy Darling had 4 goals, while Ashley VanRyn, Elizabeth Hartnett and Jence Rhoads had 3 a piece.  Rounding out the scoring were Jennifer Fithian with 2 and Nicole Andersen, Julia Taylor and Shani Levinkind with 1 each.

Note:  Nicole Andersen injured her knee in the first half and her status for tonight’s game is unknown.  Zoe Lombard has been cleared to play.

The U.S. will now play Greenland in the first semifinal tonight at 1730 EDST.  According to the U.S. Federation website a livestream of the match will be provided by Greenland supporter Boas Moller at his Facebook page: Link

The second semifinal will be between Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic at 1930 EDST.

Analysis

Ashley Butler, left handed and just 19, has been a welcome addition to the U.S. providing a much needed scoring threat from the right hand side of the court.   She has dual German-American citizenship and has been playing since age 10.  She currently plays for HSG Hude Falkenberg in the Nordsee Oberliga (Germany’s 4th Division).  At 5’4”, she might be a bit undersized at back court, but against NORCA level competition she more than compensates that shortcoming with quickness and good court sense.  Against stiffer competition she may struggle to score at 9 meters and so could be a better fit at right wing.  As a lefty with good quickness she could progress through the club ranks at the right wing position and could be a mainstay with the U.S. national team for many years to come.

Regarding the upcoming semifinal, the U.S. can take comfort in making it through group play undefeated and finishing group play with a resounding, dominating win.  But, hopefully, it’s a reserved confidence as Greenland showed that it could compete with the U.S.  Key to the U.S., as usual, will be controlling the pace of play and avoiding turnovers.  In a helter skelter match anything can happen, but in a methodical game where the U.S. can set up their half court defense, they can dominate and control the match.

Team USA Stays Undefeated in NORCA Championships with a Win over Greenland

Ashley Butler leaps high as she scores 1 of her 4 goals for Team USA

Ashley Butler leaps high as she scores 1 of her 4 goals for Team USA

Team USA stayed unbeaten in North American & Caribbean Championships (NORCA) play with a hard fought 25-23 win over Greenland yesterday.  The match was a see-saw battle.  The U.S. dominated the first half and led 14-10 at the break.  In the 2nd half Greenland dominated the first 10 minutes of play with a 9-2 run to take a 19-16 lead.  The U.S., however, clamped down on defense at times marking Greenland’s Anja Salso.  The stepped up defense worked and the U.S. closed out the game with a 9-4 run for the 25-23 victory.

Kathy Darling again led the U.S. with 7 goals and currently is the overall tourney scoring leader with 14.  Ashley Butler and Sarah Gascon added 4, while Ashley Van Ryn and Jence Rhoads scored 3 each.  Rounding out the scoring was Julia Taylor with 2 and Elizabeth Hartnett and Shani Levinkind with 1 each.   Zoe Lombard and Nicole Andersen did not play as a precaution to concussion that each had previously received, but thet will hopefully return to the lineup tonight.

In last night’s other matchup Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic played to a 23 – 23 Draw. The current standings are

  • USA 2-0-0 4 pts +4 GD
  • Dominican Republic 1-0-1 3 pts +3 GD
  • Puerto Rico 0-1-1 1 Pt -2 GD
  • Greenland 0-2-0 0 pts -5 GD

The U.S. concludes Group play today with a match against the Dominican Republic.  The Dominican Republic beat Greenland on day 1 and drew with Puerto Rico yesterday, so they are right behind the U.S. in the standings.  If the U.S. wins or draws vs the Dominican Republic it will finish Group Play in first place and will play the fourth place team in the semifinals which will be the loser of tonight’s Greenland-Puerto Rico matchup.  Should the U.S. lose tonight they will finish in second place and accordingly will play the winner of the Greenland – Puerto Rico match.

Video of the match is available via Greenland supporter Boas Muller’s Facebook Page:

1st Half Video: Link

2nd Half Video: Link

The U.S. – Dominican Republic match starts at 1730 EDST.  If there is a live video feed I will post it to the Team Handball News Facebook page.

Team USA Starts NORCA Tourney with Epic Comeback

 

Jennifer Fithian wraps up a Puerto Rican attacker.  Also in the picture, Nicole Andersen (99) and Shani Levinkind (23)

Jennifer Fithian wraps up a Puerto Rican attacker. Also in the picture, Nicole Andersen (99) and Shani Levinkind (23)

Team USA opened the North American & Caribbean (NORCA) Championships yesterday with a big come from behind 28-26 victory over hosts Puerto Rico.  The match did not start out well for the U.S. with Puerto Rico taking advantage of several U.S. miscues on offense to surge to a 17-11 lead at the half.

The second half, however, was an entirely different story as the U.S. started the half with 2 quick scores from backcourt player Nicole Andersen.  This triggered a 9-2 scoring blitz and a 20-19 lead for the U.S.  The U.S. then extended their lead to 24-21.  Puerto Rico fought back to tie the score 24-24, but the comeback was squashed when veteran Sarah Gascon stopped a fast break with a timely charging call and followed it up immediately on offense with a forced 7 meter penalty shot.

Kathy Darling led the U.S. scoring attack with 7 goals and Nicole Andersen added 6.  Zoe Lombard, Jence Rhoads and Amy Butler had 3 a piece.  Rounding out the scoring was Julia Taylor, Sarah Gascon and Shani Levinkind with 2 each.  Nathalys Ceballo led Puerto Rico with 7 goals.

The U.S. continues with Group play matches tonight against Greenland and Saturday vs the Dominican Republic.  There are 4 teams in the tournament and all 4 teams will advance to the semifinals on Sunday with the 1st place team playing the 4th place team and the 2nd place team playing the 3rd place team.  On Monday the semifinal winners will play for gold while the semifinal loser will play for bronze.  More importantly the 3rd place match will also be a qualification match for the Pan American Championships later this summer with the winner advancing and the loser staying home.

On Demand Video of Match: Link

Note:  Except for the finals (gold and bronze medal matches) only matches with hosts, Puerto Rico will be streamed.  This means that the U.S. matches between Greenland and the Dominican Republic will not be available for viewing and that the U.S. semifinal match on Sunday will be streamed only if the U.S. plays Puerto Rico.  The Final match on Monday should be available regardless of who the U.S. plays.

Analysis:  The U.S. and Puerto Rico have significantly contrasting styles.  Puerto Rico is a smaller, quicker team that excels when the pace of the game is fast with lots of transition fast breaks.  The USA is taller and has consistently shown that they can play solid defense in a half court setting.  Where the U.S. has often struggled, however, is with inconsistent backcourt play on offense leading to limited offensive output and too many turnovers.

In the first half the pace of play definitely favored Puerto Rico.  With too many turnovers by the U.S. leading to fast break opportunities.  In the second half, however, the backcourt tandem of Kathy Darling and Nicole Andersen started to click more effectively resulting in more consistent scoring and fewer turnovers.  With fewer fast break opportunities Puerto Rico was forced to score in a set offense where they were stifled by the U.S. defense which was further backed up by strong play by goalie Bryana Newbern.

This was a promising win for the U.S. which now has two more group play matches to further integrate newcomers based in Europe into a core group of veterans that has played together longer.

Team USA Loses to Chile in Rematch for 3rd Place

The pivotal moment of the game: USA's leading scorer, Sam Hoddersen is red carded for this defensive play.

The pivotal moment of the game: USA’s leading scorer, Sam Hoddersen is red carded for this defensive play

In a 3rd place match that would also determine qualification to the Jr World Championships the USA came up short 23-18 vs Chile. Chile led throughout the match, and the USA mounted several comebacks in the 2nd half cutting the lead to 1 on a couple of occasions, but could never get over the hump. With 8 minutes left and the score 17-16, Chile closed out the game with a 6-2 run for the eventual 23-18 victory.

Abou Fofana led the U.S. in scoring with 7 goals. Antoine Baup, Alexander Binderis and Sebastian Wheeler had 3 each and Sam Hoddersen had 2 goals. Chile was led by Aaron Codina with 8. Fofana had several nice jump shots at 9 meters and Antoine Baup’s circle play was outstanding causing several penalty shot opportunities and 2 minute penalties.

The key play of the match without a doubt was Sam Hoddersen’s defensive foul on Chile’s right wing Enzo Toro with 6:05 remaining in the first half. The play resulted in a red card and Hodderesen’s exclusion from play for the rest of the match. As is often the case with defense against the wing it was a bang-bang play that in real time looked pretty innocuous. As Toro writhed in pain on the court Hoddersen pleaded his case to no avail.

Video: Link (foul occurs at 29:07 on Youtube clock)

Further compounding my suspicion was a red card exclusion of Chile’s Ignacio Porta just a few minutes earlier. Porta had fouled USA Circle Runner, Antoine Baup, and had received his 2nd two minute suspension of the game. Porta then apparently mouthed off to the ref, receiving yet another two minute penalty and as it was his 3rd of the game he was then red carded. Could the red card on Hoddersen been a way of evening the scores? I speculated on this and other aspects of the decision in my live audio commentary.

After the match, however, I consulted 2 experienced officials and both concluded independently that the red card decision was justified. The video of the foul is not the best angle, but multiple reviews as well as screen shots confirm that Hoddersen bent his knees inward and cut off the player’s jump. The still shot while grainy clearly shows Toro’s takeoff as behind Hoddersen’s legs. Did Toro dramatize the foul a bit and the extent of his injury? That’s quite possible, but in the end it doesn’t matter. The foul was for contact while a defenseless player is jumping and such a foul is grounds for a red card.

The impact of the Hoddersen red card was dramatic. Indeed, Hoddersen had scored 17 goals against Chile in the first match which the U.S. won 31-24. More importantly, Hoddersen had been Team USA’s most consistent player on offense and without his involvement on attack, the U.S. was more prone to turnovers. Repeatedly, I saw instances where his steady hand might very well have resulted in an eventual goal instead of a turnover.

While disappointing this Jr Team will have an opportunity for redemption next month when they take part in the IHF Continental Cup against Colombia, Guatemala and Martinique. Additionally, 5 of the athletes, Paul Skorupa, Sebastian Wheeler, Amar Amitovic, Nik Zarikos and Rene Ingram are young enough to participate in the Youth (U19) Championships which will take place in Chile also this April.

Video (1st half): Link

Video (2nd half): Link

Note:  Brazil won the gold medal match with a 31-23 victory over Argentina.  For more information on the tournament check the PHF website: Link

Live Video and Audio Links: USA vs Chile 3rd Place Match

Team USA celebrating their Group Play win over Chile.  The 2 teams meet again tonight to determine which nation will go to the World Championships.

Team USA celebrating their Group Play win over Chile. The 2 teams meet again tonight to determine which nation will go to the World Championships.

Team USA will take on Chile today for bronze and more importantly qualification for the Jr World Championships this summer in Algeria.  These two teams met in Group Play with the USA coming away with a 31-24 victory.  Both teams later qualified for the semifinals with the USA scoring a 25-23 victory over Uruguay while Chile dispatched tournament hosts Paraguay 36-24.  And, in the semifinals both teams lost by lopsided margins.  The USA lost to Argentina 31-22 while Chile was crushed by gold medal favorite Brazil, 30-11.

But, of course, all those results mean very little now.  It all comes down to this match for the USA and Chile.  The winner punches a ticket for the World Championships.  The loser starts preparing for 2019.

The Panamerican Handball Federation has been providing a video stream of all the action from Paraguay and tonight I am planning to provide some live audio commentary via the Mixlr website.  Feel free to listen in and provide your own comments/questions via the Mixlr chatroom or via twitter.

Live Video Feed: Link

Live Audio Commentary: Link

Podcast: USA Men’s Jr Team Coach discusses the PHF JR Championships

USA Men's Jr Team Coach Mark Ortega

USA Men’s Jr Team Coach Mark Ortega

Mark Ortega discusses the Men’s Jr Team’s performance so far at the Panamerican Jr Championships in Paraguay.  USA has completed group play with a loss to Brazil and a victory over Chile.  They will likely face Uruguay in a quarterfinal match on Thursday at 2130 Local/2030 EDST.

Live Video Feed: Link

Note:  At 141 feet above sea level there’s no altitude issue with Asuncion, Paraguay.  I “obviously” was thinking of its fellow landlocked neighbor, Bolivia where the capital La Paz tops out at 11,913 ft.  God forbid there’s ever a championship there.

If you would like to advertise on the Team Handball News Podcast contact John Ryan at john.ryan@teamhandballnews.com

Subscribe to the Team Handball News Podcast in iTunes: Link

Or use this RSS Feed to sign up for the podcast in your favorite podcast aggregator: Link

PHF Men’s Jr Championships:  Hoddersen’s 17 Goals Powers Team USA Past Chile

Team USA on defense vs Chile

Team USA on defense vs Chile

Team USA secured a 2nd place finish in Group B with a convincing 34-21 victory over Chile.  The match started out evenly and was tied at 8-8 midway through the first half.  The U.S. then pulled away for a 14-9 halftime lead.  In the 2nd half, Argentina cut the lead to 15-18 at one point, but the U.S. ran off 4 unanswered goals and never looked back closing out the game with 34-21 win.

Leading the U.S. in scoring  Sam Hoddersen, with 17 goals.  Chile had no answer for Hoddersen, who plays for German 3rd Division side, HSG Rodgau Neider-Roden, as he scored on fast breaks and multiple positions on the court.

Video of USA-CHI: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3

The U.S. is now finished with Group play and has a rest day prior to a quarterfinal matchup on Thursday  Barring a Chile win over heavily favored Brazil, the U.S. will finish 2nd in Group B.

In Group A action, Argentina beat hosts Paraguay, 33-23 while Uruguay held off the Dominican Republic, 41-38.  Argentina is likely to finish first in the Group while Paraguay is likely to finish 2nd.  Uruguay would then finish 3rd unless the Dominican Republic beats Paraguay in today’s final match.

After last night’s action, the group standings are

Group A
Argentina 2-0-0 4 points  +35 GD
Paraguay 1-1-0 2 points -2 GD
Uruguay 1-1-0 0 2 points -5 GD
Dominican Republic 0-2-0 0 points -28 GD

Group B
Brazil 1-0-0 2 points +28 GD
USA 1-1-0 2 points -21 GD
Chile 0-1-0 0 points -7 GD
Probable Schedule for Team USA

After a rest day on Wednesday, the U.S. will likely play Uruguay on Thursday in the quarterfinal.  With a win over Uruguay, the U.S. would then play Argentina in the Semifinals on Friday.  A win against Argentina would setup a likely rematch vs Brazil in the championship, while a loss would likely have the U.S. play the winner of the Paraguay-Chile quarterfinal match for 3rd place and the final ticket to the Jr World Championships.