Birthday Girl Eliana Mason Leads USA Women’s Goalball Into Semifinals of Tokyo Paralympics
TOKYO, Japan (September 1, 2021) – The never-say-die USA Goalball Teams continued their streak of come-from-behind wins on Wednesday at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games. This time it was the U.S. women’s team rallying from a 3-2 halftime deficit to defeat the Russian Paralympic Committee, 5-3, in a quarterfinal match at Makuhari Messe Hall C.
The victory puts the U.S. into tomorrow’s seminal against Brazil and comes a day after the USA Men’s Goalball Team advanced to the semifinals after overcoming a 4-1 second-half deficit to best Ukraine in overtime, 5-4. On Monday, the U.S. women fell behind defending gold medalist Turkey 2-0 in the final game of the preliminary round but pulled out a 4-3 victory.
“I’m speechless,” said Eliana Mason (Beaverton, Ore.) who led the way with three goals on her 26th birthday. “I’m just so, so proud of everybody at this moment. This is what we’ve been training for.”
Mason scored both the U.S. goals in the first half and then put the Americans on top to stay by converting a penalty throw to break a 3-3 tie with 5:46 remaining.
“You just have to have confidence and faith and trust. We were down 3-2 at halftime and we weren’t panicking,” added Mason.
Another key to the U.S. victory was a second-half defense led by Marybai Huking (Salt Lake City, Utah) who was inserted into the center position and completely neutralized RPC and their top scorer Irina Arestova,
“One thing that we’ve worked on this entire season, this entire extra year, has truly been the depth of our team,” Huking said. “It’s about other people being able to step up, us being able to carry one another.”
Five of the six team members, including Huking, were part of the bronze-medal winning squad at the 2016 Games in Rio, and that veteran experience showed through on Wednesday.
“That gives us belief in those experiences when we’ve had to come back from being down, of when we’ve played incredibly close games and being able to keep that focus lasting the entire time,” said Huking. “That’s what experience gives you.”
That team experience will be put to the test again on Thursday as the USA Women’s Goalball team faces Brazil in the semifinal at 7:30 p.m. local time (6:30 a.m. EDT). The game will be a rematch of the bronze-medal contest from the Rio 2016 Paralympics and also a rematch of the opening contest of these Tokyo Games, both games won by the U.S. by narrow margins…3-2 in Rio and 6-4 in Tokyo.
Before the women’s team takes the court on Thursday, the U.S. men’s team will play in their semifinal game against China starting at 1:15 p.m. local time (12:15 a.m. EDT). All games are live-streamed at https://www.nbcolympics.com/schedule/sport/goalball/paralympics.
USA Women’s Goalball:
August 25th USA v Brazil 8:30 PM (JST) 7:30 AM (EDT) 4:30 AM (PDT) – Won 6-4
August 27th USA v Egypt 7:00 PM (JST) 6:00 AM (EDT) 3:00 AM (PDT) – Won 10-0
August 28th USA v Japan 1:15 PM (JST) 12:15 AM (EDT) 9:15 PM (PDT) (Aug 27th) – Lost 3-2
August 30th USA v Turkey 7:30 PM (JST) 6:30 AM (EDT) 3:30 AM (PDT) – Won 4-3
September 1st quarterfinals vs Russian Paralympic Committee 7:30 PM (JST) 6:30 AM (EDT) 3:30 AM (PDT) – Won 5-3
September 2nd semifinals vs. Brazil 7:30 PM (JST) 6:30 AM (EDT) 3:30 AM (PDT)
September 3rd medal matches
USA Men’s Goalball
August 26th USA v Brazil 1:15 PM (JST) 12:15 AM (EDT) 9:15 PM (PDT) (Aug 25th) – Won 8-6
August 27th USA V Japan 1:15 PM (JST) 12:15 AM (EDT) 9:15 PM (PdT) (Aug 26th) – Lost 11-1
August 29th USA v Algeria 5:30 PM (JST) 4:30 AM (EDT) 1:30 AM (PdT) – Won 13-5
August 30th USA v Lithuania 1:15 PM (JST) 12:15 AM (EDT) 9:15 PM (PDT) (Aug 29th) – b
August 31st quarterfinals vs Ukraine 3:00 PM (JST) 2:00 AM (EDT) 11:00 PM (PDT) (Aug. 30) – Won 5-4 (OT)
September 2nd semifinals vs China 1:15 PM (JST) 12:15 AM (EDT) 9:15 PM (PDT) (Sept. 1)
September 3rd medal matches
Goalball Schedule: https://olympics.com/…/schedule/para-goalball-schedule…
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