The USA Women recently participated in the 3rd annual Busan International Friendly Tournament in South Korea. They played 5 matches and finished in 4th place with a 2-3-0 record. All of the matches are available for viewing and the streaming quality/production is pretty good:
Videos for all matches: Link
30 May 2018 USA 22×28 Mie Violet Iris (Japan): Link
31 May 2018 USA 24×25 Senegal: Link
2 June 2018 USA 28×14 Australia: Link
3 June 2018 USA 23×17 Hong Kong: Link
4 June 2018 USA 24×34 Bisco (S Korea): Link
(Coach Latulippe is also interviewed at the very end of the video)
USA Women in Dance Competition: Link
The tournament field with the absence of pro clubs from Europe was a bit weaker than last year’s tourney, but still provided ample competition for the U.S. The U.S. easily beat Australia and Hong Kong and almost beat Senegal a team that would have qualified for the 2017 World Championships if not for their disqualification for an ineligible athlete at the African Championships. They also played the club sides from South Korea and Japan close until their short handed roster ran out of steam. Short handed in that they were missing Sarah Gascon, Ashley Van Ryn and Sophie Fasold for the whole tournament and then lost a couple more players for their last match against host Bisco. The U.S.’s best player was again Jence Rhoads and her performance was recognized with her selection to the all tourney team at center back.
You’ve got to hand it to Coach Latulippe and the U.S. Women for somehow finding the means for travel to France, Italy, South Korea and now China for meaningful competition all in just the past 7 months. As far as I know USA Team Handball has virtually no budget resources to support travel so they’ve been able to make do on a combination of donations, sponsorship and their own pockets to fund these trips.
On 2 and 5 September they will play Canada in a home and away, 2 game series for qualification to the 2019 PANAM Games in Lima, Peru. Locations are TBD, but will likely be Auburn and Quebec. Canada will be no push over, but with this steady stream of match experience I would assess that the U.S. women are solid favorites to win that head to head match up.
And, on a side note both Canada and the U.S. also now know their likely toughest 2nd Chance Tournament opponent should they lose the upcoming North American Qualification. The Chile women took 3rd place at the South American Games and await the loser of the September showdown, and the 4th and 5th place teams from Central America and the Caribbean Games. This is a mild surprise in that Chile took 7th place at last summer’s Pan American Championship, but was able to knock off Paraguay for bronze. As expected Brazil and Argentina took 1st and 2nd respectively and have already qualified for the PANAM Games.