USA Men’s National Team Picks Up Steam in Come From Behind Win.
After a tough opening game with Cuba, the men needed to bounce back in today’s game against the Dominican Republic to keep their qualification hopes alive. The Dominican team jumped out to an early lead, but Team USA kept it neck and neck though, always staying within striking distance.
Midway through the first half, the men looked to be falling into a similar scoring drought as yesterday, but kept their patience on offense, working the ball circulation until they broke out of the slump after only a few minutes. From here, they began to pick up momentum, until finally Sam Hodderson scored a breakthrough goal from the right back to tie the game 10-10 at 24:25.
Less than a minute later, Sean Zimber scored a long range jump shot to take the lead, which Team USA would never relinquish.
The Dominican Republic team picked up a costly 2 minute penalty with less than a minute to go in the first half. Team USA took advantage of the numeric superiority as Sean scored another jumpshot and the defense forced a turnover that transformed into a fastbreak goal for Chris Morgan just at the buzzer, to give Team USA a two goal advantage going into the locker room, 15 - 13.
The men picked up the second half right where they’d left off, with a quick opening goal from Sean Zimber. The Dominican team kept fighting to keep the game close, and the teams stayed within 2 goals until an Alden Mezick save at 14:10 lead to a counterattack goal from Sam Hodderson to captain Jordan Fithian to push the lead to 3 points.
The Dominican team gambled and switched to a 4-2 aggressive defense. Team USA used their speed to take advantage of the extra space, to find their pivots open on the line, and kept opening up their lead, finishing the game with a 32 - 26 win.
With this win, the men are still in the mix to qualify to the Pan American Championships this summer in Greenland as one of the top three teams. Team USA returns to court tomorrow against the home team, Mexico, in an important game before their rest day.