TT women copped bronze while the men team finished fourth as the NORCA Beach Handball Championships ended, on Sunday, at the Saith Park, Chaguanas.
TT took on Puerto Rico in their third-place play-off – two very evenly-matched teams with similar performances throughout the tournament.
It was a low-scoring affair as both teams’ defensive units were not letting much shots get past them. The defensive wall of Shanice Allen, Dellice Guada and Amirah John were bothering Puerto Rican shot-takers, and goalkeeper Whitney George protected her goal during pivotal moments of the game.
On offence, there were the usual suspects of Lordiah Matthews (three goals), Tiffany Anthony and Cristine Villafana (two goals each) who netted in the first period. Allen also scored the first goal of the game in the first period, which saw TT prevailing 15-14.
The second period saw the same energy on the defensive ends, with scoring at a premium. Anthony suffered a shoulder injury but she remained in the match, scoring twice while Matthews scored three goals and Allen one, as TT won the second period 14-13 to guarantee third place.
In the men’s third place play-off, TT were looking to replicate the success of their female counterparts and looked like the stronger side in the first period. Derice Biggart had a strong showing with four goals, followed by Sherwin Jackson with three of his own. Goalie Noel Cummings limited the Puerto Rican attack to ten goals and even got on the scoresheet for TT. Hayden Mitchell (two) and Mikhall Walker (one) would cap off a 22-10 first period win for TT.
But Puerto Rico would find a second wind and came back to dominate the second period, with a score of 20-11 to force a shoot-out.
The shoot-out started with both sides making big defensive plays and then the flood gates opened with each side trading goals. Coming down to a one goal play-off, Puerto Rico moved ahead by one point, with TT needing a two-point goal advantage to take third place.
Unfortunately, it was not meant to be as a travelling violation negated the attempt, giving Puerto Rico the bronze medals.
In the men’s and women’s finals, it was all United States, as they emerged victorious in tightly-contested games against Mexico.
The women’s team took home gold after winning 18-14 and 16-14 while their men triumphed 21-20 and 22-20.