Heartbreak in Havana: Team USA Loses Close Match to Paraguay

May 23, 2015, 12:30 p.m. (ET)

Karoline Borg led Team USA with 10 goals against Paraguay on Friday.

By: Dave Gascon
USA Team Handball Director of High Performance

HAVANA, Cuba – The USA Women’s National Team knew what was at stake as they took the court for Friday’s critical contest against Paraguay. Although they were clearly underdogs to one of the better South American teams, Team USA was eager to prove to everyone they had arrived at a point where they should be respected.

Fortunately, Team USA began the match on par with Paraguay, unlike their previous match against Brazil where they fell behind early 6-0. Karoline Borg, still on fire from the match against Brazil, scored to tie the game at one, which ignited the back and forth scoring between the U.S. and Paraguay. Balanced scoring from the U.S. in the first half confirmed that they had enough to contend with Paraguay.

The first half consisted of multiple lead changes, and Team USA challenged Paraguay offensively and defensively. Borg fired a 7-meter rocket at the end of the first half to give the U.S. Women a 12-11 advantage at halftime. While happy with the lead, U.S. Head Coach Christian Latulippe was troubled by the number of turnovers by Team USA, many being unforced.

Early in the second half, the U.S. Women surrendered the lead and continued to commit turnovers. Borg’s offensive output kept Team USA from falling far behind, and teammates Jence Rhoads, Jennifer Fithian, Liz Hartnett (pictured, above), and Julia Taylor all added second-half goals. However, the lead swelled to four goals as time wound down.

With less than five minutes left in the match, Team USA put on a remarkable comeback. Kathy Darling, Sarah Gascon, Ashley Van Ryn, and Borg all scored and the U.S. Women tied the score. Paraguay scored again to regain the lead and Team USA turned the ball over twice. A final goal by Borg tied the game once more, but Paraguay answered with a goal of their own Team USA committed another turnover and missed a breakaway opportunity. 

The match ended in a 25-24 loss for the U.S., and they fell to 0-0-2 in Group play.

Final Score: PAR – 25, USA – 24

Goals: PAR – Martinez (7), Canata (5), Servin (5), Romero (3), Brusquetti (2), Sandoval (2), Beggan (1)
Goals: USA – Borg (10), Taylor (5), Darling (3), Hartnett (2), Gascon (1), Fithian (1), Rhoads (1), Van Ryn (1)

Official Score Sheet (PDF)

– Team USA faces Puerto Rico today (Saturday, May 23, 2015) at 1:00 pm EST. Puerto Rico is currently 0-1-1 after losing to Brazil yesterday, 35-15.
Visit PanAmHandball.org for more information about the 2015 Senior Women's Pan American Championship.

USA Team Handball would like to thank Santiago Russo of Play Handball for his photography services during the event. For more photos by Play Handball, please visit Facebook.com/PlayHandball.

Last updated: May 22, 2015