The USA Team Handball Women’s National Team (WNT) opened their training camp in Italy, first by traveling with a police escort to the City of Civitavecchia, and then beating host Flavioni, 18-13.
The USA opened quickly with a three-goal burst of goals by Julia Sayer, a 7-meter throw by Kathy Darling, and a goal by Jence Rhoads. The Americans put on a defensive show during the first half as Flavioni was never able to put a run on them. When they scored, Rhoads immediately came right back and scored for the USA. In fact, Rhodes put up another and the USA showed they were going to be difficult to play against. The USA moved the ball around well, although inaccurate shots kept them from widening the lead.
Rhoads, Sayer, and Rhoads all scored again to maintain the lead and Darling sealed the first half 8-5 score with another 7-meter shot. The American defense was outstanding and Goal Keeper Bryana Newbern was exceptional. Newbern blacked 7 quality shots in the half and played completely like she was in total control.
The second half was essentially more of the same. The Americans played well from in front and were never in jeopardy of being caught. Sayer scored four times and Darling three. They were joined by Rhoads who scored a couple and Julia Taylor one.
The American defense was stellar throughout the contest. The middle of the defense was anchored by Jennifer Fithian, Rhoads, and Sarah Gascon on one side, with Sayer and Anja Borg on the other. There were very few clean lanes for the Flavioni players to drive and many times they were stopped cold or blocked by the quick and strong Americans. Freja Dobreff was in goal the second half and played well. Dobreff stopped four shots.
After the game, our hosts put on a spread at a local pizza restaurant. The hungry Americans were joined by their vanquished foes and a stunning variety of Italian food flooded the tables. The hosts and players from both teams had a great time, with dinner being topped off by Nutella Pizza!
The American and Flavioni teams play again Tuesday in Rome with Flavioni looking to avenge todays defeat.