Team USA celebrates after defeating the Russian Paralympic Committee during the Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020 on Sept. 1, 2021 in Tokyo.
How did you celebrate your most recent birthday? Whatever you did, it probably couldn’t hold a candle to how Eliana Mason observed hers on Wednesday.
On the day that she turned 26 years old, Mason scored three goals to help the U.S. women’s goalball team defeat the reigning world champion Russian Paralympic Committee in a must-win match.
“I’m speechless,” Mason said. “I’m just so proud of everybody in this moment. This is what we’ve been training for.”
Scoring three unanswered goals in the second half, the U.S. stormed back from three deficits to beat the RPC 5-3 in the quarterfinal round at Makuhari Messe Hall.
Amanda Dennis added a pair of goals for the Americans, who will face Brazil in Thursday’s semifinal round match. Defending Paralympic champion Turkey will take on host Japan in the other semifinal.
“We were down 3-2 at halftime, and we weren’t panicking,” Mason said. “We were just like, we’re going to keep playing, we’re going to keep pushing, we’re going to keep going. And that’s what we did.
“I think you just have to play, to have confidence and faith and trust.”