Junior Men lose top spot after losing twice and Cadets suffer two blowouts, but Team USA still showing resolve after tough Day Two.
GOTHENBURG, Sweden -- The Junior Men's National Team finished Day Two of the Partille Cup with one loss and two victories, and fell from first to fifth place in the B21 division. The Cadets lost handily to two older, more experienced teams.
"Well, the USATH juniors learned tough lessons today, going 1-2 for the day," announced Coach Craig Rot on his Facebook profile. "[We] finished strong with a fierce victory in the [days'] last game and will need to win out and hope for some help from the gods to advance to the final 3."
The Team USA Junior Men lost to HK Eskil (SWE), 13:10, and Redbergslids IK (SWE), 21:14, before ending the day with a win against Krutholmens HK (SWE), 11:9. To advance to the A-Playoff (winners' playoff bracket featuring the top three teams), the Team USA Juniors will need to "win out" against Önnereds HK (SWE) and La Salle HC (Malta) on Thursday, the final day of qualification play. Önnereds is currently third in the division with five points (2-1-2), and La Salle is last (0-0-5).
Kevin Kienzle and Ross Miner have the challenging task of coaching an undersized, less-experienced Cadet team against older teams in the B14 Group. All of the other teams' players have played handball longer, and they have played as teams for longer (the two Team USA teams only began full practices together at the Partille Cup Solidarity Camp a few days prior to the tournament).
In their first match of the day, the Cadets lost to a much more experienced club team, Åhus Handboll (SWE), 22:3.
Coach Miner said of his team after the loss, "they played hard until the final whistle and I couldn't have asked for a better fight out of them. That team is the number 1 team in our group so we look to get back on track in our next game against a Norwegian team who is also 0-3."
The Norwegian team, Fjellhammer IL 1, went on to collect their first win of the tournament against Team USA, 20:3.
Team USA did not let the rough outing on Day Two dampen their experience in the city of Gothenburg. Following the first match, the Cadets enjoyed a game of footgolf, and enjoyed an evening pick-up handball game with young players from Iraq.
"Just played pickup handball with my team until 1130pm when it finally got too dark out," Miner recounted on Facebook. Halfway through, the guys invited some players from Iraq to play with us. These kids make me so proud and I couldn't ask for a better group of kids to coach for my first coaching experience."
Qualification play ends for the Cadets on Thursday with a match against Hellerup IK (DEN) who are currently third in the group with four points (2-0-2).