A Golden Ending for the Men's Junior National Team at the IHF Trophy Continental Phase

Nov. 21, 2018, 8 a.m. (ET)


Two nights prior, USA and Mexico ended their 60 minutes match with a draw. The rematch of USA v. Mexico for the Gold Medal at the IHF Trophy Challenge Continental Phase had to end with a victor.

USA Men’s Junior National Team head coach Pierre Binderis had spent many hours preparing and developing the game tactics for their battle with Mexico for the title. Throughout the tournament, USA had developed into a stronger team each game they played.

USA had adjusted to Mexico’s aggressive defense, and were more patient on the shots they took in Tuesday’s rematch. Co-Captain Rene Ingram added, “we were more consistent on our shots and we looked to find the best opportunity to score goals.” On the defensive side, USA tightened up their already solid defense to force Mexico to make turnovers and errors. Coach Binderis said “the team did their part following the game tactics we had set out for the entire game.” This execution by the team ended with a result of 28-23 in favor of Team USA.

Eleyes Baltagi who was scoreless in the previous group play match against Mexico was USA’s secret weapon on Tuesday night. He was unstoppable in the last fifteen minutes of the game, making the difference for USA between the two matches against Mexico, adding 4 goals for Team USA.

Between the pipes stood veteran goal keeper and co-captain Rene Ingram who commanded the defense and had an outstanding performance. Rene also started for the Senior National Team this past September where the Men defeated Canada for a spot at the Pan American Games. Coach Binderis added, “Rene had a fantastic tournament and the team wouldn’t have come this far without him.”

Co-Captain Giona Dobrani was the leading scorer for USA with seven goals and was a high scorer for USA throughout the tournament with 24 goals after the 4 games. He was selected to the All-Star team as Center Back. Also contributing in every game for team USA, Amar Amitovic added two goals against Mexico and finished the tournament with 23 goals for USA after the 4 games. Amitovic was selected to the All-Star team as Left Back.

The Gold Medal victory was truly a team effort, Coach Binderis said, “All players on the team did their part perfectly and I can't say anything else besides that we all did this together.” Ingram added, “everybody had the same goal in their mind, to beat the other teams and progress to the next stage.” The victory over Mexico will advance USA to the next stage in the IHF Trophy Challenge: Intercontinental Phase, where a place at the 2019 Men’s Junior World Championships will be decided.