The USA Jr Men's National Team picked up a relatively easy 31-20 over Australia in their opening match at the IHF Trophy Intercontinental Championships. The match started out back and forth and it was tied at 7-7 in the 19th minute. At that point the U.S. pulled away for a 14-9 lead at the break. The U.S. continued to apply pressure in the second half and further extended its lead to the eventual 31-20 final score.
Head Coach Julio Sainz attributed the somewhat sloppy play at the start of the match to first game nerves and felt the team did a great job taking control of the game. He singled out several players including newcomer Asaf Bengozi's 9 goals. Amar Amitovic, also with 9 goals, did a good job adjusting to playing pivot when the team switched to a two pivot offensive set. Coach Sainz was also pleased with the team effectively countering the Australian 7v6 offensive strategy with Austin Koury stepping up the defense while playing point for the 5-1 defense.
In terms of roster changes, Coach Sainz lamented the absence of Paul Skorupa due to a thumb injury, but was pleased to note that Giona Dobrani would be joining the team on Friday.
Asaf Bengozi, 9
Amar Amitovic, 9
Elyes Batogi, 3
Nikolas Zarikos, 3
Austin Koury, 2
Sebastian Wheeler, 2
Aaron Hamm, 1
Jonas Stromberg, 1
Marko Babic, 1
The U.S. is off today and will play Paraguay on Friday, 12 April at 3:00 PM Local / 9:00 AM US ET. At the time of this article posted, Paraguay had a sizable lead on Australia so the USA - Paraguay match will likely determine 1st/2nd for the Group with the winner likely facing an easier semifinal opponent on Saturday.
USA - Australia Official Match Report: Link
USA - Australia Match Video: Link
USA - Australia Photo Album: Link
Official Tournament Website: Link
IHF YouTube Home Page: Link