The USA Team Handball Women's National Team is competing in a friendly tournament in Puerto Rico this week. Team USA is competing against teams from Puerto Rico, Guadeloupe, and the Dominican Republic.
You could read a third-person recount of the matches. Or you could read the real report from someone with a front-row seat to the action, Women's National Team player, Lisa Dunn.
On day three of our trip, we traveled to beautiful Guaynabo to play the Puerto Rican Women’s Junior National Team. We showed up at the gym and watched the last 20 minutes of two YMCA youth teams playing handball against each other. The game was very fast-paced and filled with impressive one on one moves, which let USA know that the Junior National Team should not be underestimated. Once the game ended, we stepped on the court and started our warm up, eager to win.
This game was the international debut of a couple Team USA players and we showcased the talents of many of the newer additions to the USA Team Handball program. These players’ performances showed the positive strides and bright future of Team USA, and also the effectiveness of the residency program recently developed at Auburn University. For one player, Deanna McGillivray, this was her first official handball match ever. But you wouldn’t know that after seeing her heavy hit to the right back of Puerto Rico early on, which set the tone for our defense.
New additions to the USA Team Handball Residency Program get their first taste of international competition against the Puerto Rico Junior Women's National Team. Pictured L-R: Catherine Graham, Desiree Nguyen, Deanna McGillivray, Brittany Pierce, and Jennifer Farrar.
Our fresh lineup took a quick lead on the junior team. They responded by increasing the pace, which made the match even more exciting. But with good steals and amazing saves, Team USA handled the pressure very well and we broke away to have a 12-6 lead on Puerto Rico at halftime.
In the start of the second half, we were able to build our lead by keeping the defense tight and holding Puerto Rico scoreless in the first seven minutes! After we took a time-out, we stepped up our attack even more and executed three counter attacks in a row, forcing Puerto Rico to take a time out.
We stayed dominant throughout the game, and kept a strong lead on our opponents. We won with a final score of 23-13!
I want to congratulate all the new players to their first international experience representing the USA: Dee McGillivray, Brittany Pierce, Cat Graham, Desiree Nguyen, and Jennifer Farrar.