The USA Men and Women have arrived in Guadalajara for the Pan American Games. I spoke briefly last night with USA Women’s head coach, Chris Cappelmann and he indicated that they’ve been please so far with the welcome and accommodations. Part of that welcome was an offer to have a friendly scrimmage with the Mexican Women’s team yesterday. The result was a 21-21 tie, which is a far cry from the results the last time the two teams played back in 2008 at the Pan American Team Handball Federations (PATHF) Div I Championship. At that event the USA women lost twice to Mexico by scores of 31-23 and 33-14. There are few holdovers from the USA roster from those defeats, however, and I have no clue as to what changes may have taken place in the Mexican roster as well.
The Women’s Tournament gets underway this Saturday with the USA Women taking on tournament favorite, Brazil in Group play. Coach Cappelmann indicated that there were some plusses and minuses to playing the tournament favorite. On the minus side it will be tough to meet the Brazilians in their first fully competitive match. On the plus side, though, this scheduling will allow them to observe their other group rivals, the Dominican Republic and Uruguay prior to playing them. The Men won’t have that luxury, though, as straight out of the gate on Sunday, they will have a key match vs the Dominican Republic. With both sides knowing little about each other, how fast the teams can respond tactically could prove pivotal in that first match
Over the next two weeks, we plan to have several interviews with the Men’s and Women’s team coaches and players. In particular, we’ll shoot to have audio podcasts of the interviews posted as soon after the match as possible. For those that can’t wait to get their handball fix, be sure to check out the USA Federation and the Mundo Handball website, which has several articles on all the teams participating in the tournament.
Mundo Handball: http://www.mundohandball.com/
PANAM Games Schedule: http://usateamhandball.org/news/2011/09/12/pan-american-games-schedule/44549?ngb_id=42