USA Women fall to Uruguay in Beach Handball opener
As expected, the USA Women's National Team was no match for host country Uruguay in the opening round of the Pan Am Beach Handball Championships in Montevideo, Uruguay.
The Americans were overwhelmed early and often by the highly regarded Uruguayans. Team USA showed their inexperience as they were repeatedly beaten by fastbreaks and empty net goals as they struggled with the nuances of substitutions on the fly.
It is worth noting the special rules of beach handball.
The goalkeeper is allowed to exit the sand allowing for a special attacker whose goals count for two points. However, once the offense scores, is stopped, or a shot is missed, that special player must exit as rapidly as possible to allow for the goal keeper to return to the net. In the matchup with the Uruguayans, the Americans were frequently a couple of steps late, resulting in goals worth two points when taken by the rival goalkeeper, or when the offensive player turns a 360 and fires a shot into the net.
Beach handball is played in two separate halves. In this case, the Americans were pounded in the first half, 29-4, and also came up short 13-5 in the second half.
Head Coach Dede Piankova was not defeated, commenting, "I like this team very much. They have great potential. You can see them improving immediately. You watch as we play more games, they will keep getting better and better!"
Team USA has a very short night, as they return to the beach for an early Friday morning battle with Paraguay (7 AM ET, watch live). After lunch and a break, they return in the evening to play an outstanding team from Argentina (3:15 PM ET, watch live).
Piankova has indicated she will try a few different combinations as the teams learns the game under the pressure of international competition.