September 17, 2016
USA Wheelchair Rugby beat Canada & Play For Gold
Photo: Team USA/USA Wheelchair Rugby
Team USA and Canada renewed their rivalry in the first Wheelchair Rugby semi-final at the Paralympic Games. The USA entered the match undefeated in winning Pool B and ranked first in the world. Canada suffered an overtime loss to Australia in the final pool A game and enter the match ranked fourth in the world.
Chuck Aoki scored the first goal of the game and had 33 more, as the USA Wheelchair Rugby team beat Canada 60-55 in the first semi-final of the day. With the win, the USA will continue to earn a medal in each of the Paralympic games.
Team USA will play the winning of the second semi-final between Australia and Japan in the Gold Medal match tomorrow. Canada will play in the Bronze Medal match against the loser of this semi-final.
The USA took a narrow 14-13 lead after period one and built the lead at halftime to 29-26. They excelled defensively in forcing five Canadian turnovers, while giving up two. They also had three steals, while giving up one. Both teams were aggressive and had two defensive fouls and two penalties.At halftime, the score was 29-26 to the USA.
It was a good feeling that the USA was controlling the match, as it put pressure on Canada to press to come back. This created more turnovers and the USA add a 43-39 lead after the third period.
In the final period, Canada still could not find an answer for containing a quicker Chuck Aoki, who scored 34 goals in the game. Canada relied on Zac Madell to score, which he did in finishing with 31 goals. The USA distributed the ball well and this resulted in several players scoring. Other also contributed through their excellent team defense. Josh Wheeler added 11 goals and Kody Puderbaugh added 9. Canada’s second and third scorers, Cody Caldwell and Mike Whitehead finished with 7 and 6 goals, respectively.
Team USA has had a great deal of success at Paralympic competition. It has 27-2 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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Team USA: 2 Chuck Melton (2.0), 3 Adam Scaturro (1.5), 5 Chuck Aoki (3.0), 6 Jeff Butler (0.5), 7 Jason Regier (0.5), 9 Eric Newby 2.0), 10 Josh Wheeler 2.5), 11 Seth McBride (2.0), 12 Chad Cohn (1.0), 15 Lee Fredette (1.0), 20 Josh Brewer (3.5), 22 Kory Puderbaugh (3.0), Coach James Gumbert
It should be noted that while wheelchair rugby is a co-ed sport, that Canada’s Miranda Biletski is the only female that has been selected to compete at the Paralympics in Wheelchair Rugby.
Canada: Miranda Biletski (1.0), Cody Caldwell (2.0), Ian Chan 2.5), Patrice Dagenais (1.0), Byron Green (0.5), Trevor Hirschfield (1.0), Fabien Lavoie (3.0) Zak Madell (3.5), Travis Murao (2.0), Patrice Simand (1.5), Mike Whitehead (3.0), David Willsie (2.0)
Team USA Game Schedule
- Sep 14 USA 51-42 France
- Sep 15- USA 54-44 Sweden
- Sep 16- USA 57-56 Japan-Extra time
- Sep 17- 1st Semi-final USA 60-55 Canada 12:45pm local (11:45am ET)
- Sep 17- 2nd Semi-final Australia 63-57 Japan 4pm local (3pm ET)
- Sep 18- Bronze medal- 9am local (8am ET)
- Sep 18 -Gold medal- 12:30pm local (11:30am ET)
In the match that preceded this semi-final, France beat Brazil 59-54 and ended in seventh place. In the fifth place match, Great Britain beat Sweden 56-42.
The other semi-final, Australia beat Japan 63-57 and will face the USA in the Gold Medal match tomorrow at 11:30AM ET, with the Japan competing for the Bronze against Canada on Sunday at 8am ET.
Australia: Batt Ryley (3.5), Chris Bond (3.5), Cameron Carr (2.0), Andrew Edmondson (2.0), Nazim Erdem (0.5), Ben Fawcett (0.5), Andrew Harrison (2.0) Joshua Hose (3.0), Jason Lees (1.0), Matt Lewis (3.5), Ryan Scott (0.5), Jayden Warn (3.0)
Japan: Masayuki Haga (2.0), Ike Yukinobu (3.0), Daisuke Ikezaki (3.0), Tomaki Imai (1.0), Kazuhiko Kanno (2.0), Kotaro Kishi (0.5), Shin Nakazoto (2.5) Seiya Norimatsu (1.5), Shinichi Shimakawa (3.0), Takeshi Shoji (2.0), Hidefumi Wakayama (1.0), Takahisu Yamaguchi (1.0)
Wheelchair Rugby Basics by the U.S. Paralympics have made it easier to understand viewing wheelchair rugby at the Paralympics in Rio.
“The objectives of wheelchair rugby is for a player to carry a ball across the opponent’s goal line in order to score a point. A volleyball is used and must be bounced or passed between teammates at least once every 10 seconds during play. The sport is played in four eight-minute stop-time quarters indoors on a basketball court. All players are classified based on their abilities from 0.5 to 3.5 points. Four players from each team are allowed on the court at a time and the classification value between them can not exceed eight points.”
“Paralympic wheelchair rugby competition is open to male and female athletes with physical disabilities, such as amputation/limb loss, spinal cord injury/wheel-chair users and cerebral palsy/brain injury/stroke.”
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