Ashley Van Ryn (24) led Team USA with five goals against Greenland.
By: Dave Gascon
USA Team Handball Director of High Performance
HAVANA, Cuba – The Greenland Women´s National Team exacted revenge for the stunning loss to the United States in the Pan American Championships North American-Caribben Qualifier by outscoring the USA in the second half of what looked like a game that could go down to the wire.
The USA opened nicely as Captain Sarah Gascon (pictured, right) aggressively attacked and the U.S. Women were off and running. The team offense then displayed a mix of attacking and goals by Jence Rhoads and Ashley Van Ryn. Things looked good until Greenland began to answer.
Suddenly, the defense employed so successfully against Greenland in Puerto Rico recently, which was designed to stop their outstanding center back, could not stop the balance of the Greenland offense. Quickly, the USA found themselves playing catch-up.
A flurry of goals by Gascon, Rhoads, and Karoline Borg closed the gap, but the offensive pressure continued. The U.S. team again fell behind, and again Gascon, Rhoads, Zoe Lombard, and Borg closed the gap. Team USA fought hard and by halftime had caught the impressive team from Greenland at 14-14.
The second half opened with Greenland clearly looking like the better team. They regained the lead and never surrendered it. Goals by Borg, Van Ryn, Kathy Darling, and Julia Taylor helped, but only to keep the USA in the game. Though Team USA received quick goals by Gascon, Borg, Jennifer Farrar, and Van Ryn, the team from Greenland never blinked.
Greenland played a variety of offensive sets and had been well prepared to counter any American attention to neutralize the center back or their impressive right back. Although the American usually play a tough defense, they were out maneuvered by versatile and hard-working Greenland WNT.
Disappointed and frustrated, Team USA will once again attempt to break into the win column Monday against Venezuela. When the tournament opened, Venezuela looked to be one of those teams the U.S. Women could count on as a likely victory. However, the Americans will now have to overcome the loss of confidence, the heat and humidity of the stifling “Kid Chocolate Arena,” and the knowledge that they have lost their opportunity to qualify for the 2015 World Championships. From here on out, it will be all about pride.
Final Score: GRL – 28, USA – 22
Goals: GRL – Rasmussen (11), Gronvold (6), An. Heilmann (4), Lyberth (4), Tremel (1), Mikkelsen (1), Steenholdt (1)
Goals: USA – Borg (5), Van Ryn (5), Gascon (4), Rhoads (3), Farrar (2), Lombard (1), Darling (1), Taylor (1)
Official Score Sheet (PDF)