Earlier this morning, the United States women’s national goalball team defeated 3-0 in Espoo, Finland to claim gold at the 2014 IBSA Goalball World Championships. Russia finished with a silver medal, and Turkey, who played earlier in the day against Japan, grabbed the bronze medal. By finishing in the top three, all have qualified for the 2016 Summer Paralympics.
The United States led 2-0 at the end of the first half. Amanda Dennis led the team in scoring with 2 goals, while Asya Miller had 1. Both players came into the game as leading scorers in the competition, with 11 total goals each, ranking them eighth amongst all competitors.
Portland based Miller is quoted by the event organizers on Facebook as saying, “Goalball is as much mental as it’s physical. It’s all about who wants it more.” Miller has represented the United States in goalball at every Paralympic Games since 2000. In the 2000 Summer Paralympics, she was a two sport athlete finishing sixth in goalball and winning a bronze medal in the discus.
The United States’s victory comes as somewhat of a surprise because the team was the last team in their pool to qualify. They had two wins and three losses. One of their losses was to Russia in their opening game; they lost 3-0. The other losses included an 8-2 loss to Turkey, and a 4-3 loss to Japan. Their wins in pool play included a 7-2 win over sixth ranked Finland. It also included a 4-3 win against Germany, where they blew a 3-0 lead at the half.
Coming into the competition, the United States was ranked fifth, while Russia was ranked fourth.