In the fourth session of Spain’s women’s first division goalball league that got underway earlier today in Madrid Madrid took on Aragon. Both teams were reasonably vocal about setting up. Aragon number 4 tried a power shot by bouncing the ball. She occupied a lot of space, getting in front of both number 3 and number 1 for her side. There was some ball distribution, with 4 looking like she was taking most of Aragon’s shots but giving the ball to number 1 and number 3 on alternating turns. Both teams were very evenly matched early on.
There were a couple of breaks in play and momentum as the other courts got a bit loud and people needed to be quieter. The game finally got over its scoring drought, with Aragon taking a commanding 5 -1 lead over Madrid. The Aragon side tried to really use speed to catch the Madrid side off guard. The half finished 5 – 1.
Number 1 for Madrid kept trying to take shots straight down and into the corner but could not keep the ball in play. She then changed shooting in the center. Madrid was called for a high ball, and Aragon got a penalty shot. Number 3 took the shot for Aragon, and number 2 made an amazing cross court lunge to block out the ball. Following this, there was a break and Madrid number 2 had a goggle check. Number 4 for Aragon tried a bounce shot, but the angle was slightly off. Madrid players were really good sometimes at blocking in the center to prevent any shot aimed in that direction. Aragon’s number 3 was sometimes good at getting balls down the line.
Aragon’s number 4 took a power shot and managed to score past number 1 for Madrid in the corner to go 6 – 1. She then did another shot which bounced off a Madrid player and into the goal in the opposite direction to bring Aragon ahead 7 – 1. Madrid 1 got a penalty for their goggles as the player moved them. The penalty was then renounced after the referees conferred. Following a series of volleys, Aragon made a sub with number 1 going out and number 5 coming in.
There were then a series of shots that just went straight out by both sides, before they reoriented themselves and both teams volleyed the ball back and forth without scoring. Madrid then took a timeout with 90 seconds left to go. 20 seconds left and Aragon number 5 took the last shot for her team. Number 3 got in a shot for her Madrid team. 5 for Aragon shot the ball. Then 2 for Madrid shot following an out. 5 again shot for Aragon for a block out ball and the game ended 7 – 1.
The competition is an important one as it gave additional high level domestic experience to Spain’s women national team players. The team currently has ten players, all of whom were competing today. The national squad is still looking to qualify for the 2016 Summer Paralympics, and those ten will eventually be cut down to five ahead of the 2015 IBSA World Games in Seoul. The team plans to use as their qualifying path as going through the European Championships is much more difficult as there is much greater depth in Europe than there is in the Americas where there are only really three teams, and Africa which is still looking for a women’s team to be created.