August 14, 2015
USA Wheelchair Rugby Wins Parapan Am Silver
Doug Coil August 14, 2015
Tonight’s medal round was an historic event, as the wheelchair rugby was included in the Parapan Am Games for the first time.
In the Bronze Medal game, Colombia upset Brazil 50-48. This is the first time Colombia has beaten Brazil in international competition, as well as their first medal. A dominant performance by Colombia’s Orosco with 33 goals, fueled the win.
In the Gold Medal game, the victory went to the Canada 57-54 over the United States. With the win Canada qualified for the Paralympics in Rio in September, 2016.
The United States still has the opportunity to qualify for the Paralympics, but must do so through the International Wheelchair Rugby Federation Qualification Tournament sometime prior to May, 2016. This process was described in my article earlier today in //djcoilrugby.com/2015/08/14/u-s-wheelchair-team-going-for-gold/
Take the jump to read more.
Gold Medal Recap
The Gold Medal match featured IWRF #2 ranked Canada against #3 USA. In Pool play the undefeated USA won 60-59 in double overtime.
In front of a near sell out crowd the USA started out strong jumping to a 5-1 lead. Canada then settled down after 4 early turnovers and closed the gap. Canada employed a risk/reward strategy of long lobs by Zac Madell. Many went for easy goals, but a few resulted in turnovers. The USA utilized speed, passing and guile to end the half with a 30-26 lead over Canada. They led since the beginning of the game.
Leading scorers during the first half for the USA were Josh Wheeler with 11 goals and Chuck Aoki with 7. Canada’s Zac Madell played the entire half and scored 13 goals and was clearly a dominant player.
The second half began with 3 quick turnovers by the USA and Canada scored 4 quick goals to tie the game. After that, the teams traded goals before the third quarter ended in a 40-40 tie. The 4th quarter saw Canada strike first and did not give up the lead for a 57-54 win.
Canada’s Zac Madell dominated the game and ended with 34 goals. He also contributed with passes. Hirschfield had a fine 4th quarter. Key performers for the USA were Josh Wheeler and Chuck Aoki, each with 15 goals, Eric Newby added 8.
Turnovers for the USA during the second half, proved to be the difference in an otherwise very close game. The USA will take the Silver.
Congratulations Canada on qualifying for the Paralympics. The USA must now be the two highest ranked teams in the IWRF Qualification Tournament to be held sometime in 2016 prior to May.