Brazil, USA off to 2-0 start in Pan America Paralympic qualifier

After winning their opening day matches, the Brazilian men’s team and the United States women’s team followed up with yet another victory over Argentina and Canada, respectively, in the 2023 ParaVolley Pan America Zonal Championships at Saville Community Sports Centre on Wednesday.

In the first match in the men’s tournament, Brazil’s potent offence was key to its 3-0 (25-15, 25-11, 25-11) victory over Argentina. Argentina could only hold off Brazil’s offence in the first set, as the 2022 World Championship bronze medallists entered an offensive groove in the next two frames to secure their second match victory.

The United States men’s team Canada beat 3-1 (28-26, 25-22, 23-25, 25-23) to close Wednesday’s action. Team USA fended off a 24-21 deficit to stage a comeback win in the opening set before taking the momentum off Canada’s side to gain a 2-0 edge. They fought closely with the home team in the next two frames, losing the third and gaining momentum back in the fourth set to record their first win in the tournament.

Canada coach Jeff Smith was proud of the way his team fought against their North American rivals and looks forward for the next possible encounter.

“I am very impressed. Our team is showing that when we stick to a game plan, we own it. We had a few bad errors, but we’re looking forward to playing them (USA) again when it really counts,” Smith said.

Meanwhile, reigning Paralympic champions USA rallied from a set down to win 3-1 (18-25, 25-16, 25-20, 25-11) against Canada in the women’s tournament, moving them to within one win away from Paris 2024 qualification.

The hosts are far from conceding the series, treating each match like a final, the way Canada captain Danielle Ellis hopes to bounce back against their opponents.

“So far we are definitely building. Yesterday we had a really great match that went to five sets. Today we just had a couple of things that we need to clean up, so hopefully we can work on those and come back stronger tomorrow. We have never done a best of five tournament before so we’re learning as we go. Every day is a gold medal match to us, so we’re just trying and pushing – everything matters so it’s really exciting,” Ellis stated.

Thursday’s action will start with two men’s matches, featuring USA and Argentina in the opener at 14:00 local time, followed by the encounter between Canada and Brazil at 16:30. The third and key women’s battle at 19:00 could determine the series outcome – Will USA end it or will Canada extend it?

Photo source: ParaVolley Pan America