Women's National Team Updates From Brazil
GAME #1: USA vs BRA
The USA WNT started off with great intensity and excitement. Jennifer Fithian started off the game with a goal. USA stunted the Brazilian attack by limiting their fast breaks and interrupting their transition plays. Player of the Game, Staci Self, had a solid performance in goal with 10 saves for the Americans, holding Brazil to only 25 goals. Ashley Van Ryn lead the WNT with a six goal performance.
"I feel the more consistent training at Auburn has help me feel more comfortable and confident on the court. It's a privilege to have an opportunity to gain experience competing against a World Championship caliber organization." -Ashley Van Ryn
Despite the final score of 25 to 11 (12-8 at half time) the WNT felt optimistic about their performance having met the three specific performance goals outlined by Coach Latulippe prior to the game. The USA women's national team is hoping to build on their solid performance in their rematch against Brazil tomorrow.
"Compared to the last time I was with this group in August the progress has greatly improved. There were things we couldn't do during our training camp in France, but now we are able to execute more consistently." -Kathy Darling.
Considering that two last time we played Brazil, USA lost by 40 goals (2011 Pan American Games) and by 34 goals (2013 Pan American Championship), but losing today by 14 goals, it is a step in the right direction, mentioned Coach Latulippe.
For USA: Goals: Van Ryn (6), K. Borg (2), Darling (1), Abou-Zeida (1), Fithian (1), Saves: Self (10).
GAME #2: USA vs BRA
USA women's national team competed in their second match of their tour. It started with a hectic travel environment due to the heavy rains that have been falling for two days. The game started with USA scoring the first goal. It came from a 7m penalty shot scored by Karoline Borg. From that point on goals were exchanged between both teams.
"We started off strong in the first twenty minutes (7-9). We were able to capitalize on executing our plays that we had worked on during our morning session. The goal for our next competition will be to continue on that level. If we do that we should be able to accomplish our tour objectives." -Tabby Hardison
The first half ended Brazil 15 and USA 8.
Once again the USA WNT received a solid performance from Staci Self in goal (8 saves) and the first international match for Dina Kahriman (4 saves). Unfortunately we struggled with finishing our shots but continued to take chances. Brazil took advantage of great saves from their goalies and costly turnovers from the Americans. The final result was Brazil 31 and USA 11.
"Moving forward we hope to build from our improved defense and use it to fuel our transition game and our offense."
For USA: Goals: K. Borg (5), Taylor (3), Darling (1), Fithian (1), Van Ryn (1), Saves: Self (8), Kahriman (4)
GAME #3: USA vs Club Blumenau
Team USA received a warm welcome today from Club Blumenau. They are currently ranked second in Brazil's professional league. Unfortunately, Team USA began the match with a slow offensive start. Once again Staci Self came out on fire successfully stopping multiple fast breaks.
"I felt confident and strong. I was trying to do the best I could for my team." -Staci Self
In the second half, Karoline Borg came alive offensively. She seemed unstoppable taking advantage of openings and connecting with her sister Anja Borg at the pivot position.
"I stepped out of my comfort zone and I did things I don't usually do. We played the ball with more speed and I felt that helped to open up the court more." -Karoline Borg
USA WNT continued to chip away, but unfortunately couldn't come away with a victory, losing 16-25, On a positive note Team USA was able to win the second half 13-12 despite a ten goal deficit in the first half (3-13)
USA will play Brazil again on Tuesday June 10th and finish up with Tunisia on Wednesday June 11th.
USA: Goals: K. Borg (7), Van Ryn (5), A. Borg (2), Hardison (1), Taylor (1); Saves: Self (9), Kahriman (3)
Game #4: USA vs. Brazil’s Junior Team
First half: It was a rough start for the women’s national team. The Brazilian juniors came out ready to attack with speed and surprised the USA with an aggressive 3-3 defense. USA struggled to get their ball in the back of the Brazilian’s net while Brazil continued on with their mission. The half ended with a score of 19-4.
Second half: A much better USA showed up for the second half. A stand out performance from Tabitha Hardison, with 8 goals in a row in, helped USA gain some confidence offensively and defensively bringing their score up from 4 to 19. Sadly, it was not enough to compensate for the first half’s performance and the game ended with a win for the Brazilians, 29-19.
USA vs. Tunisia
First half: A phenomenal start to the game. USA was on point on both offense and defense, holding the African champions at a 1 goal difference throughout the entire half. It was an impressive performance from the American ladies; surprising the Tunisian defense with all kinds of shots from 9 meters, moving the ball swiftly to set up teammates to score from all positions, and making the Tunisians work hard to get through their defense and score on their goalie. First half ended with Tunisia leading 8 to 7 for USA.
Second half: The African champs came out ready to battle. Once they were 3 goals in, they gained momentum and the USA had to play catch up. A more aggressive offense and defense from the Tunisians and few fast break misses for USA gave Tunisia a bigger lead, a few 2 minute penalties on the USA’s side and unsuccessful attacks on offense helped their cause. The game ended with Tunisia winning 24 to 14. Kathy Darling was the best US goal scorer with 7 goals.
Overall comment from Coach Christian Latulippe
The story of this trip is that physically and defensively USA can compete with Brazil and Tunisia, at least for a certain period of time. However, we lack technical skills in offense and the ability to make better decision against aggressive defense, which create a lack of consistency in our offensive performance. This was certainly a valuable experience for the Women´s National Team.