Women's National Team Report From Guadeloupe

Sept. 07, 2014, 12 a.m. (ET)
By: Christian Latulippe
USA Team Handball Women's National Team Coach

GAME 1: USA 26 - Zayen LA 28

USA Women was back in a game situation for a first time since the Brazil preparation tour in June.

USA Women started off strong with a 5-0 lead against Zayen LA, one of the top club teams of the French West Indies. Zayen LA's boosts by their young, talented players tied the score at 8-8 after 15 minutes. Both teams exchanged goals to 11-11 after 25 minutes. A few costly turnovers at the end of the first half helped Zayen LA to take a lead of 4 goals (11-15).

Starting off the second half with an aggressive 6-0 defense proved to work well for USA. The team kept the score within few goals for the whole half. USA's execution of the offense was much better as they committed only 3 turnovers in the second half, compared to 12 in the first half. Despite the improvement in the second half, Zayen LA was able to finish ahead 28-26 in a very rough game.

Goals: Gascon (8), Van Ryn (5), Graham (4), Darling (4), Pierce (2), Andersen (2), Taylor (1)
Saves: Fasold (9), Kahriman (8)

GAME 2: USA 28 - L'Etoile 17

USA Women had another strong start in their second game against L'Etoile (3rd in the Island last year), and they took a lead of 7-1 after 10 minutes. Katiann Scherer had her first start representing USA and made several keys saves early on. A few mistakes in attacking the aggressive 3-3 defense of L'Etoile didn't allow USA to take a bigger lead, but the defense was excellent. The score at halftime showed a 4 lead difference 15-11 for USA.

In the second half, Team USA, inspired by Catherine Graham, kept the momentum going by capitalizing on numerous fast break opportunities. Team USA's fast-paced tempo proved to be too much for l'Etoile to keep up and USA won the game by a score of 28-17.

Goals: Gascon (7), Darling (7), Andersen (4), Van Ryn (3), Graham (2), Taylor (2), Pierce (2), Dunn (1).
Saves: Scherer (7), Fasold (7), Kahriman (4).

GAME 3: USA 23 - Zayen LA 25

The USA women faced Zayen LA in a rematch of their first game in Guadeloupe. Before the game, Team USA lost a soldier. During the warm-up, the scheduled starting goalkeeper Dina Kahriman injured her knee.

The first half was tightly contested. Similar to the first match-up, going into halftime the Team USA women faced a deficit of 12-9, but also lost Team Captain after 13 minutes in the first half with a hip injury.

In the second half, the women increased their intensity on defense. They switched defenses from a 6-0 to an aggressive 3-3 defense. As a result, USA was able to cut the deficit to 1 point. With 20 seconds left in the game, Ashley Van Ryn stole the ball from the center back, and tried to score on the goalkeeper but the ball hit the post. Zayen LA was able to hold off Team USA.

Goals: Darling (7), Andersen (4), Taylor (3), Graham (3), Van Ryn (3) Gascon (1), Farrar (1), Dunn (1)
Saves: Scherer (5), Fasold (6).

GAME 4: USA 30 - L'Etoile 18

On Friday, August 29th, the women's USA Team Handball team stepped out on the court to face team L'Etoile for the second time. The ladies adjusted to their competitor's strengths and weaknesses from the first match.

Starting off in a 6-0 defense the ladies were able to maintain the L'Etoile offense in the first half with a score of 17-8. Throughout the game there were steady rotations of USA players to keep everyone fresh on the court for controlling fast transitions.

In the second half, L'Etoile came out with some more aggressive movements on and off the ball, but this change of pace did not stop Team USA. They were able to adapt quickly and successfully, all while controlling the ball and the game. The final score of 30-18 showed how well USA worked together as a team to hold off the L'Etoile offense and to keep raising their score at the same time.

Goals: Van Ryn (7), Taylor (6), Gascon (4), Graham (3), Farrar (3), Andersen (2), Darling (2), Nguyen (1), Dunn (1), Wright (1).
Saves: Scherer (11), Fasold (10)

GAME 5: USA 30 - L'Intrepide 22

On Saturday, August 30th, Team USA played the last game of the tournament against L'Intrepide. This was a reference match for Team USA as they played L'Intrepide twice in April in Puerto Rico, and lost both games by a margin of 2 goals. L'Intrépide is the reigning Champion of Guadeloupe since 2001 (13 years).

Team USA got off a slow start and were behind by 3 goals, 6-9, after 10 minutes. After a few saves by goalkeeper Sophie Fasold, Team USA was able to launch their fast breaks. They scored 14 goals on fast break in the first half only (8 of those by Julia Taylor) to take a 19-14 lead at half time. The fast game was a key point of our game plan, as we wanted to impose our tempo.

In the second half, Team USA continued to impose their rhythm and pulled away with the game, leading 23-15 after 40 minutes. In the end, Tean USA was able to secure a nice win, 30-22, and showed a clear sign of improvement, compared to the performance in April. Sophie Fasold was stellar in the goal with 20 saves.

Goals : Taylor (8), Gascon (6), Darling (4), Van Ryn (4), Nguyen (2), Graham (2), Farrar (2), Pierce (1), Andersen (1)
Saves : Fasold (20)

GAME 6: USA 25 - L'Intrepide 11

Game 6 of the tour was a rematch of the last game of the tournament. Nguyen (Quad) and Kahriman (Knee) were out due to injury. Like 2 days before, Team USA imposed their defense and took a fantastic lead of 12-5 at half time. They continued to impose their game in the second half and won easily 25-11.

The defensive scheme was well in place, even though sometimes I wished we could reward ourselves more often on the fast break. This was a good performance considering this was our 6th game in 8 days.

Goals: Darling (4), Andersen (4), Van Ryn (4), Gascon (3), Graham (3), Wright (2), Taylor (2), Farrar (1) Pierce (1), Dunn (1)
Saves: Fasold (14), Scherer (5)

GAME 7 : USA 24 - ASUP 13

The last game of this Guadeloupe tour was against ASUP (4th in the Guadeloupe league last season). Team USA played without Nguyen (quad), Kahriman (knee) and Andersen (shoulder). Similar to the day before, Team USA was solid in defense, but couldn't transform all their opportunities on fast break due to a solid performance of ASUP Goalkeeper, a future French star.

Team USA was in control for the entire game and won 24-13.

Goals : Darling (5), Van Ryn (5), Gascon (3), Pierce (3), Dunn (2), Taylor (2), Graham (2), Wright (1), Farrar (1)
Saves: Scherer (9), Fasold (10)


Team USA finished this tour with a record of 5 wins and 2 losses. We finished the tournament in 2nd place, as Zayen LA won all their games. Julia Taylor was named the MVP of the tournament.

I was pleased with the performance of our team. True, we have some regrets against Zayen LA, but our performance against L'intrepide was a nice reference for us. It was nice have some competition, after being out of action since July 7th.

Now Team USA will get ready to host Puerto Rico in Auburn, Ala. from October 17-19, our first home games since the beginning of our Residency Program in November 2013.