US Men’s Goalball Team opens 2021 Paralympic Games with win over Brazil

Japan 2020

TOKYO, Japan (WANE) – The USA Men’s Goalball Team opened the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games with an 8-6 victory over defending world champion Brazil on Thursday at Makuhari Messe Hall C. The win came a day after Brazil defeated defending Paralympic champion Lithuania, 11-2.

The game also marked the Paralympic Games debut for U.S. Head Coach Keith Young since taking over the program in 2019, said Turnstone, one of 11 Paralympic training sites in the United States.

“It validates what I’ve asked for when asked to serve as the coach,” Keith Young said of Thursday’s win. “I’ve asked for a lot of resources from the USOPC (United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee) and the USABA (United States Association of Blind Athletes), and I thank them for giving those resources…from wearable technology to sports nutrition and sports psychology and much more.”

The tight back-and-forth affair saw Brazil take a 5-4 second-half lead on a penalty throw after the U.S. was flagged for a long ball, Turnstone said. Shortly after Daryl Walker from Jacksonville, Florida entered the game for the first time, Calahan Young from Irwin, Pennsylvania brought the American team even with his second goal of the contest with 6:20 left in regulation. That’s when Walker was thrust into the spotlight during the game’s crucial turning point.

Walker scored with five minutes remaining to give the Americans their first lead of the second half, and then was called for a long ball penalty. The three-time Paralympian displayed poise under pressure by blocking the resulting penalty throw to preserve the U.S. lead.

“I just felt nothing but confidence in that entire situation,” Walker said. “I wasn’t rattled. I just basically took a deep breath, felt my feelings, and just pressed through.”

That pivotal sequence seemed to deflate the Brazilian squad while spurring on the Americans as Calahan Young notched back-to-back goals to put the game out of reach.

Despite leading the way with four goals in his Paralympic debut, the 6’5” Young admitted to a case of nerves stepping on the court.

“I couldn’t express to you the anxiety,” Young said with a laugh. “The day off yesterday I was thinking to myself ‘wow, I really wished we played today so I could finally get that notch in the belt.’ I’m thrilled to finally be here and compete. Such an honor.”

Other U.S. goals were scored by Tyler Merren from Coral Springs, Florida and Matt Simpson from Smyrna, Georgia while Brazil contributed an own goal to the final tally.

The U.S. men’s team returns to action Friday with a preliminary round match against host Japan at 1:15 p.m. local time (12:15 a.m. EST), while the U.S. women’s team faces Egypt in their second game at 7 p.m. local time (6 a.m. EST). All games are livestreamed here.

GAME SCHEDULE:

USA Women’s Goalball:

  • Aug. 25 USA v Brazil 8:30 PM (JST) 7:30 AM (EST) 4:30 AM (PST) – Won 6-4
  • Aug. 27 USA v Egypt 7:00 PM (JST) 6:00 AM (EST) 3:00 AM (PST)
  • Aug. 28 USA v Japan 1:15 PM (JST) 12:15 AM (EST) 9:15 PM (PST) (Aug 27th)
  • Aug. 30 USA v Turkey 7:30 PM (JST) 6:30 AM (PST) 3:30 AM (PST)
  • Sept. 1 quarterfinals
  • Sept. 2 semifinals
  • Sept. 3 medal matches

USA Men’s Goalball

  • Aug. 26 USA v Brazil 1:15 PM (JST) 12:15 AM (EST) 9:15 PM (PST) (Aug 25th) – Won 8-6
  • Aug. 27 USA V Japan 1:15 PM (JST) 12:15 AM (EST) 9:15 PM (PST) (Aug 26th)
  • Aug. 29 USA v Algeria 5:30 PM (JST) 4:30 AM (EST) 1:30 AM (PST)
  • Aug. 30 USA v Lithuania 1:15 PM (JST) 12:15 AM (EST) 9:15 PM (PST) (Aug 29th)
  • Aug. 31 quarterfinals
  • Sept. 2 semifinals
  • Sept. 3 medal matches

Goalball Schedule: https://olympics.com/…/schedule/para-goalball-schedule…

Livestream: https://www.nbcolympics.com/schedule/sport/goalball/paralympics

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