(Team USA's Marko Babic vs Paraguay)
Team USA took on Paraguay earlier today for its final Group Play match at the IHF Trophy Jr Intercontinental Championship . With both Paraguay and the U.S. defeating Australia both teams were assured of making the semifinals, but the match would still determine seeding with the winner likely avoiding hosts Kosovo in the semifinals
Thanks to some fast break goals, the U.S. jumped out to an early lead and midway through the first half was leading 8-5 when Sebastian Wheeler fouled a Paraguay player breaking through at 6 meters. The player fell awkwardly dislocating his elbow and Wheeler received a red card for the foul. A pivotal point of the match and Coach Sainz was pleased that team kept their composure at this point and extended their lead to 16-9 at the break.
In the second half Paraguay kept pace with the U.S. and was never able to cut the lead down to less than 4 goals, the last time being 20-16 with 12 minutes left in the game. At which point the U.S. took control for the eventual 28-19 final score.
Amar Amitovic led the team with 7 goals and Asaf Bengozi added 6. Coach Sainz singled out both goalies for doing an outstanding job. Rene Ingram blocked 15 of 34 shots for a 44% save ratio and Michael Zahour ably filled in when the team used a 7v6 offense in the 2nd half.
Amar Amitovic, 7
Asaf Bengozi, 6
Elyes Batagi, 4
William Kennedy, 3
Sebastian Wheeler, 2
Giona Dobrani, 2
Nikolas Zarikos, 1
Austin Koury, 1
Jonas Stromberg, 1
Marko Babic, 1
The U.S. will play tomorrow (Saturday) in the semifinals.
Semifinals, Saturday, 13 April
USA vs Chinese Taipei 3:00 PM Local / 9:00 AM US ET
Kosovo vs Paraguay 7:00 PM Local / 1:00 PM US ET
Finals, Sunday, 14 April
Bronze 2:00 PM Local / 8:00 AM US ET
Gold 6:00 PM Local / 12:00 PM US ET
USA - Paraguay Official Match Report: Link
USA - Paraguay Match Video: Link (Note: the controversial red card occurred at 16:16 in the first half)
USA - Paraguay Photo Album: Link
Official Tournament Website: Link