Team USA Suffers Loss to Cuba on Day Two of Nor.Ca Qualifier

April 01, 2015, 4:30 a.m. (ET)
By: Dave Gascon
USA Team Handball Director of High Performance

SALINAS, Puerto Rico – 
The Cuban National Team easily handled Team USA in the second day of round-robin competition in the Women’s Nor.Ca Qualifier in Salinas, Puerto Rico, 35-15. The U.S. Women were clearly capable of competing against the tournament favorites early in the contest, holding a lead, but only for a few minutes. Goals by Ashley Van Ryn and Sarah Gascon set the early tempo for the game, which quickly turned on the brilliant goalkeeping by Cuba.

Time and again the U.S. Women were rebuffed as their offensive scheme showed promise, yet they failed to finish. Goals by Kathy Darling, Van Ryn, and Gascon moved the Americans to within striking distance, however Cuba pulled away to a comfortable lead by halftime, 18-7.

The second half proved similar in that the powerful Cuban Women’s Team demonstrated excellent individual skills and finished attack after attack, while the Americans were stopped, many times at point blank range. Cuba’s pressure forced several mistakes and they converted on nearly every opportunity. Gascon proved very difficult for the Cubans to handle inside, and the trio of Darling, Van Ryn, and Julia Taylor found the mark on multiple occasions.

Although the outcome was expected, he Americans fared better against Cuba than did host Puerto Rico the previous night, as they suffered a larger loss, 52-15. Team USA looks to improve their goal differential (-20) against Mexico tonight. Game time is scheduled for 6:00 PM (EST).

Final Score: CUB – 35, USA – 15

Goals: USA – Gascon (6), Darling (3), Van Ryn (3), Taylor (2), Lombard (1)
Goals: CUB – Miranda (12), Gómez (8), Duany (6), Rodriguez (3), Milán (3), Zamora (2), González (1)

- Ashley Van Ryn (USA) is currently in the Top 10 in scoring (6th) after two matches of the Nor.Ca Qualifier
- Team USA is currently placed 5th in the tournament. At the conclusion of the Qualifier, Cuba and the top three teams will advance to the 2015 Women's Pan American Championship (May 22-29, 2015). Cuba advances to the Championship tournament regardless of their finish in the Qualifier since they will be the Championship tournament host.
- USA Team Handball would like to thank Women's National Team player, Elizabeth Hartnett for coordinating the a broadcast of the match via using her phone and cellular connection. It does not appear that the Puerto Rico Handball Federation will be broadcasting the Nor.Ca matches since there is no wireless internet in the competition venue.