TOKYO, Japan (WANE) – Defending gold medalist Turkey proved to be too much to handle for the short-handed U.S. women’s goalball team in Friday’s final of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games. The team walked away with the silver medal, which marks the 12th Paralympic medal in USA Goalball history and the seventh won by the women’s team.
The tournament’s leading goal scorer, Turkey’s Sevda Altunoluk, scored six of her nine goals in the first eight minutes as Turkey built an insurmountable lead and never looked back in the 9-2 victory, said Turnstone, one of 11 Paralympic training sites in the United States.
The U.S. handed Turkey its only loss of the tournament five days ago during pool play but played the gold medal match without the services of leading scorer Amanda Dennis (Peachtree City, Ga.).
“Clearly, everybody saw that we did not have our full squad available,” said U.S. coach Jake Czechowski. “That was my decision. We had a pre-game injury and I’m always going to err on the side of caution for my athletes. We want to play and compete and beat everybody in the world, but never at the expense of health.”
The Americans scored the last goal of the first half when Eliana Mason (Beaverton, Ore.) found the back of the net and closed out the scoring in the second half on a goal by Asya Miller (Portland, Ore.), Turnstone said.
“The goal was to win gold but we’re still really proud of that silver medal,” Mason said. “I always think of the semis as a silver-medal match. We won that silver last night and that was such a great win…a game I’ll always remember. It’s important to be really proud of that. We didn’t stop fighting at all, we just kept pushing and pushing, and all you can ever ask is to do your best.”
Japan defeated Brazil in the women’s bronze medal match, 6-1.
In the men’s bronze medal match held right before the women’s gold medal contest, the U.S. men’s team lost by a 10-7 count to reigning Paralympic champion Lithuania.
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) – Won 10-0
- Aug. 28 USA v Japan 1:15 PM (JST) 12:15 AM (EST) 9:15 PM (PST) (Aug 27th) – Lost 2-3
- Aug. 30 USA v Turkey 7:30 PM (JST) 6:30 AM (PST) 3:30 AM (PST) – Won 4-3
- Sept. 1 quarterfinals vs Russian Paralympic Committee 7:30 PM (JST) 6:30 AM (EDT) 3:30 AM (PDT) – Won 5-3
- Sept. 2 semifinals vs. Brazil 7:30 PM (JST) 6:30 AM (EDT) 3:30 AM (PDT) – Won 5-4 (extra throws)
- Sept. 3 gold medal match vs. Turkey 5:45 PM (JST) 4:45 AM (EDT) 1:45 AM (PDT) – Lost 9-2
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) – Lost 11-1
- Aug. 29 USA v Algeria 5:30 PM (JST) 4:30 AM (EST) 1:30 AM (PST) – Won 13-5
- Aug. 30 USA v Lithuania 1:15 PM (JST) 12:15 AM (EST) 9:15 PM (PST) (Aug 29th) – Lost 3-13
- Aug. 31 quarterfinals vs Ukraine 3:00 PM (JST) 2:00 AM (EDT) 11:00 PM (PDT) (Aug. 30) – Won 5-4 (OT)
- Sept. 2 semifinals vs China 1:15 PM (JST) 12:15 AM (EDT) 9:15 PM (PDT) (Sept. 1) – Lost 8-1
- Sept. 3 bronze medal match vs Lithuania 3:00 PM (JST) 2:00AM (EDT) 11:00 PM (PDT) (Sept. 2) – Lost 10-7