September 14, 2016
USA Wheelchair Rugby Opens With Win Over France at Paralympic Games
The Wheelchair Rugby competition at the 2016 Paralympic Games began today, Wednesday, at Rio De Janerio, Brazil. Team USA was in Pool B along with France, Sweden and Japan. In their first pool match, the U.S. won 51-42.
Chuck Aoki scored the first four goals of the match and finished as the USA leading scorer with 16 goals. Both Josh Brewer and Kory Puderbaugh entered the game in the second period and scored 9 and 8 goals respectively.
France top three scorers included Jonathan Hivernat with 16 goals, Christophe Salegui with 10 and Riad Sallem with 9.
At the end of the first period, the U.S. had a five point lead, 14-9. This was largely the result of an aggressive defense that caused five turnovers by France. In the second period, the U.S. continued to be strong defensively, and forcing eight turnovers in the half. After two periods, the USA increased their lead to 26-17.
During the their period France cut away at the USA lead, as they scored 14 goals to the USA’s 12 during the period. The USA still had a comfortable lead at 38-31.
During the final period the U.S. once again lead the period in scoring and finished with a 51-42 win.
In reviewing the match stats against France, the USA forced 16 turnovers while giving up 6. They had 8 steals to France’s 3. Their aggressiveness was indicated with 9 defensive fouls to 6 for France, who also had an offensive foul. The USA was able to overcome these fouls and the 9 penalties they had to France’s 6.
The USA will play Sweden tomorrow, September 15 and Japan on Friday, September 16, before ending Pool play. Semi finals will be on Saturday the 17th and lead to the medal matches on Sunday the 18th, the last of competition.
Team USA Game Schedule
- Sep 14 USA 51-42 France
- Sep 15- USAvSweden – 10:30am local, 9:30am ET
- Sep 16- USAvJapan- 4:00pm local, 3pm ET
- Sep 17- 1st Semi-final- 12:45pm local (11:45am ET), 2nd Semi-final- 4pm local (3pm ET)
- Sep 18- Bronze medal- 9am local (8am ET) and Gold medal- 12:30pm local (11:30am ET)
In other Pool B action today, Japan beat Sweden 50-42.
In Pool A, Australia nipped Great Britain 53-51, while Canada won 62-48 over Brazil in the final match of the day.
Team USA: 2 Chuck Melton, 3 Adam Scaturro, 5 Chuck Aoki, 6 Jeff Butler, 7 Jason Regier, 9 Eric Newby, 10 Josh Wheeler, 11 Seth McBride, 12 Chad Cohn, 15 Lee Fredette, 20 Josh Brewer, 22 Kory Puderbaugh, Coach James Gumbert
France: 1 Sebastien L Huissier, 3 Cedric Nankin, 4 Adrien Chalmin, 5 Rodolphe Jarlan, 6 Corentin Le Guen, 7 Pablo Neuman, 8 Christophe Corompt, 9 Riad Sallem, 10 Alexandre Bento Anastacio, 11 Jonathan Hivernat, 12 Nicolas Rioux, 13 Christophe Salegui, Coach Olivier Cusin
Jen Remick, in a recap article for USA Wheelchair Rugby, talked about some of the USA athletes. “Of the twelve men on the U.S. squad only five have previous Paralympic experience – two, Chad Cohn (Tucson, AZ) and Jason Reiger (Centennial, CO) are in their third Games; Chuck Aoki, Adam Scaturro, (Lakewood, CO) and Seth McBride (Portland, OR) are returning from their London bronze medal finish.
Coach James Gumbert played his entire team in the match and felt that the new players, had solid performances. He said “For an opening game with just the enormity of the Paralympics, to be on a stage where so many people are going to see you play is sometimes the biggest thing to overcome. Several of our players have never seen anything like this and I think they all answered, they all responded and said ‘ we got this’, to face an opponent and to face the unknown of being at the Paralympics, I was very pleased with today.”
Team USA has had a great deal of success at Paralympic competition. It has 24-2 record earning Gold Medals in Sydney in 200 and in Bejing in 2008. They also earned Bronze Medals in Athens in 2004 and in London in 2012. Currently the USA is ranked number one in the world by the International Wheelchair Rugby Federation rankings after they won the Canada Cup.
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