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.
Day 4 was an early morning for me and my teammates. We woke up and went to breakfast to make sure everyone was fueled for our morning practice. After spending the night editing video footage of our previous game against Guadalupe for the girls to watch in our 2 o'clock video session, I needed the quick pick-me-up by the team’s hysterical antics.
With little free time in-between breakfast and morning practice in the Olympic training center's handball gym, many of the players spent their time taking care of little aches and pains acquired from the previous games. As practice time rolled around, we all made our way to the gym together, and admired the beautiful views of the mountainous Puerto Rican landscape along the way.
During practice, our coach Christian Latulippe, helped the team fine-tune some of the plays to counteract the adjustments Guadeloupe made during the first match. The team looked comfortable with the new strategies given to us and we applied them well during our 6-on-6 drill.
We had a little bit of down time to rest and stretch after our video session, and I could notice a change in attitude within the team. Our players seemed more confident after our coach saying: "Guadeloupe is going to have to find the resources to match our physical capabilities."
As game time rolled around, team USA looked excited to get another chance to play against the strong team from Guadeloupe. In the beginning of the game, Guadeloupe started off dominant. We struggled with finishing shots and communicating on defense, but managed to stay in the game with Sarah Gascon’s scoring, particularly from 7-meters. Team USA finished off the first half trailing 7 to 12.
The second half was a very different story. Team USA came out strong scoring from all positions, closing in on the goal differential. Ashley Van Ryn, our left back, fired away on the goalie, showcasing her capabilities to be a big threat from the back court.
Both teams fought hard and kept up with the natural speed of the game. Unfortunately for Team USA, we couldn't quite jump ahead. With only a few seconds left in the game, Guadeloupe had the lead 21-20. We switched to man-to-man defense but couldn't get a steal in time. The final score was 22-20 in favor of Guadalupe--another close game between two teams comparable in talent.