USA Wheelchair Rugby Wins the Silver Medal at the BT World Wheelchair Rugby Challenge

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October 16, 2015

USA Wheelchair Rugby Wins the Silver Medal at the BT World Wheelchair Rugby Challenge

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Photos: BT World Wheelchair Rugby Challenge USA & Canada

Doug Coil

BT World Wheelchair Rugby Challenge

Gold Medal Match

The USA matches against Canada have been evenly matched. The first Pool match of the tournament was won by Canada. The USA is ranked 3rd in the World, while Canada is 2nd. In Pool play Canada had a 3-0 record to USA’s 2-1. One point separated the teams.

The teams then advanced to the crossovers win Canada beating 4th ranked Japan 60-50 and the USA beating first ranked Australia 57-54. The USA would lead Australia from the beginning and stretched the lead to 6 before Australia narrowed the final score slightly. That was a huge win for the USA and set up the Gold Medal match between USA and Canada.

During the first period the scores see-sawed as usual with the USA taking a narrow 15-14 lead over Canada after period one.

During period 2, Canada’s Zak Madell would begin a goal fest which brought his total to 12. That accounted for almost half of Canada’s points. The USA leaders were Chuck Aoki and Josh Wheeler. At halftime the score was USA 26 and Canada 28.

Period 3 saw a few turnovers by both teams. Canada relied on the long ball and brute strength and quickness by Zak Wheeler. The USA combined good passing and quickness along with good defense to narrow the gap. The wheelchairs have been overturning with some massive hits and Josh Wheeler has hit the court at least 3 times during the game. The period ended with the USA 37-38 Canada.

The final period will require the USA to capitalize on a few Canada turnovers to win. The USA continues to apply pressure defense, but Canada is able to penetrate with long ball from Hirschfield to Mazell. In the end, the USA had to take numerous chances in their pressure defense and Canada was able to stretch the lead for a 54-50 win over the USA.

Zak Mazell scored 35 times to 24 for USA’s Chuck Aoki. Josh Wheeler was the second leading scorer for the USA.

The USA ends the BT Wheelchair Rugby Challenge with the Silver Medal and the number 2 seed entering the Rio Paralympics in September. Canada earns the Gold and Australia the bronze, with 1 and 3 seeds respectively.

The 2016 Rio Paralympics will be held September 7-18, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Congratulations teams!

Pool A: USA (World 3rd), Canada (2nd), New Zealand (8th), South Africa (17th)

Pool B: Australia (World 1st), Japan (4th), Great Britain (5th), France (10th)

Oct 12th

United States 57-58 Canada

Great Britain 55-45 France

Oct 13th

New Zealand 64-32 South Africa

Australia 65-62 Japan

USA 54-45 New Zealand

Great Britain 55-57 Australia

USA 62-23 South Africa

Oct 14th

Australia 66-56 France

Canada 59-13 South Africa

Japan 57-52 France

Canada 55-34 New Zealand

Great Britain 48-55 Japan

Oct 15th Crossovers

Great Britain 71-22 South Africa (B3/A4)

New Zealand 47-50 France (A3/B4)

USA  57-54 Australia (A2/B1)

Canada 60-50 Japan (A1/B2)

Oct 16th

7/8th South Africa 29-76 New Zealand

5/6th Great Britain 53-49 France

Bronze Medal Australia 60-55 Japan

Gold Medal USA 50-54 Canada

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