Team USA Overwhelms Guatemala, Wins Back-to-Back Matches

May 28, 2015, 4 p.m. (ET)

Goalkeeper Staci Self and the Team USA defense only allowed 16 goals on Wednesday.

By: Dave Gascon
USA Team Handball Director of High Performance

HAVANA, Cuba – The U.S. Women’s National Team dominated an undermanned team from Guatemala on Wednesday, recording their second consecutive victory and setting up a match against Chile for ninth place in the 2015 Women’s Pan American Championships.

The USA was expected to dominate the game and they did after some spirited sparring early. Jennifer Farrar scored first for the U.S., followed by Captain Sarah Gascon, who moved to right back, as high scoring Karoline Borg returned to Norway for her final exams. Left winger Julia Taylor scored the USA’s third goal, but Guatemala came back to tie the score. Taylor scored again, followed by back-to-back goals by Gascon and the USA was on their way to building a modest lead which it never surrendered.

At approximately the 10-minute mark of the first half, Team USA began stretching the lead. The U.S. Women used a balanced attack featuring outstanding passing to spring right wing Zoe Lombard for a score, as well as Taylor, and Lombard again to extend the U.S. lead. Farrar and Kathy Darling then combined for seven of the next nine goals as the U.S. Women built a large lead. With goals by Lombard and Desiree Ngyuen, the United States led at halftime 18-9.

The second half began as the first half had ended with a determined U.S. team relentless on offense. Farrar opened the half with a goal, followed in short order by Lombard, Rhoads, and Gascon. When Rhoads and Gascon quickly scored again, the rout was on.

Team USA displayed their best offensive effort of the tournament with Rhoads, Gascon, and Darling each scoring three times in the second half. Ngyuen, Ashley Van Ryn and Lombard each threw in two goals, and Taylor, Liz Hartnett, Farrar, and Jennifer Fithian also contributed a goal each. 

As anticipated, the U.S. team was far too much for Guatemala. They played a much improved and balanced offense, even though the high-scoring Borg was no longer available. On defense, the WNT was very difficult for Guatemala to attack. Team USA picked off numerous Guatemala passes, tipped and disrupted dozens of attempts to split the defense, and pressured many shots to be off target. The U.S. also demonstrated their outstanding fast break as they did in the Monday game against Venezuela.

The WNT game against Chile promises to be a “barn-burner” as Chile has been a thorn in the side of the WNT over the recent decade. The game will close out the 2015 Pan Am Championships for the Americans.

Final Score: USA – 37, GUA – 16

Goals: USA – Darling (7), Gascon (6), Lombard (5), Farrar (5), Taylor (4), Ngyuen (3), Rhoads (3), Van Ryn (2), Fithian (1), Hartnett (1)
Goals: GUA – Lavarreda (5), Barillas (3), Rodriguez (3), Pineda (3), Herrera (1), Valdez (1)

Visit 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