Teams advance to gold matches Sunday

May 23, 2010

Teams head to the finals of the 2010 USA National Championships in Las Vegas Sunday.

New England dethroned defending champion New York City I 27-26 in the closing seconds of the Men’s Elite Division semi final Saturday night, securing a position in Sunday’s gold match. Marco Betsch of New England made the winning free throw, sending the ball flying over a wall of New York City athletes and into the net. Cheering spectators created a roar of excitement in South Point’s Exhibition Hall during the match that went into overtime.

The Freeze fights Los Angeles Blue for the championship title Sunday. Los Angeles overcame the Houston FIrehawks 23-17, avenging its sudden 2009 semi finals loss to the same team.

“(Los Angeles’) earlier game today was very strong. We were very physical and focused. This game was sloppy,” said coach Patrick Trunimger of the semi final against Houston. “We didn’t move the ball well, we tried to create shots too soon; we were up by five at halftime and we could have been up a little more. Considering we didn’t play well and were up by five, that’s what we were building on.”

New England and Los Angeles meet in the Men’s Elite Division Final at 3 p.m. PST. The match will be webstreamed live at http://usteamhandball.org/live.

The Women’s Elite Division Final sees two-time defending champion Chicago Inter take on the Houston Firehawks, which placed third in 2009. Inter edged past New England Freeze 20-18 in the semi final, squeezing in a few more good shots than its competition to reserve its placement in the gold match.

The quick and spirited Houston Firehawks defeated new team Denver in the semi final 39-19. Houston’s Elizabeth Saavedra made nine goals throughout the match; Yesselley Garcia secured eight.

Houston and Inter take the court for the Women’s Elite Division Final at 1 p.m. PST and can be viewed live online at http://usateamhandball.org/live.

Fans watching Men’s Open Division semi final matched the ferocity of those watching New York and the Freeze as Miami A and Denver battled in a shootout for placement in the final; Miami triumphed 26-24 and will face Minnesota, which overtook Seattle 22-15, in the Men’s Open Division Final 11 a.m. Sunday.

SCORING LEADERS
The following athletes are the top three scorers of their divisions as of the beginning of competition Sunday:

Elite Men
Jokin Eransus, Houston Firehawks: 27
Alsaeed Ahmad, Chicago Inter: 25
Marco Betsch, NE Freeze: 24

Open Men
Luis Palencia, LA Black: 25
Pascal Arndt, Seattle: 24
Brian Walsh, Knight Air: 24

Elite Women
Melanie Schlueter, Denver: 35
Elizabeth Saavedra, Houston: 29
Yesselly Garcia, Houston: 28