The U.S. men’s beach handball team finished 12th in the world championships that concluded Sunday in Kazan, Russia, while the women’s team finished 14th. Both teams train in Hermosa Beach.
The men lost to Argentina, 2-1, in the 11th-place game, while the women lost to Taiwan, 2-0, in the 13th-place game.
The final score is based on 10-minute halves. If a team wins both halves, it is considered to have won 2-0.
If each team wins one half, the game is decided by a shootout, where five players for each team take throws on an alternating basis.
The U.S. men outscored Argentina, 24-16, in the first half, but were outscored, 22-18, in the second, with Argentina scoring the final three points. The U.S. was outscored in the shootout, 7-4, with Argentina scoring the final five points.
Alex Browne of Palo Alto scored a game-high 30 points for the U.S. Jacobo Javier Garcia of Downey, one of six players on the 10-man U.S. team from Los Angeles County, added six.
U.S. goalkeeper Taylor Lapin, a Long Beach resident, made three saves on 27 shots.
The U.S. women were outscored by Taiwan 20-16 in the first half and 24-12 in the second. Ashley Van Ryn of Atlanta scored a game-high 12 points for the U.S. while Elizabeth Hartnett of Fullerton added eight.
Hartnett, who played basketball at Chapman University, was among three players on the women’s team from Los Angeles or Orange counties.
The men’s team was 0-3 in the group round and 3-0 in the consolation round. It defeated Vietnam, 2-0, in a ninth-place quarterfinal Saturday, then lost to Qatar, 2-0, in a ninth-place semifinal later Saturday.
The women’s team was 0-3 in both the group round and consolation round. It lost to Vietnam, 2-0, in a ninth-place quarterfinal Saturday, then defeated Thailand, 2-0, in an 13th-place semifinal later Saturday.
Brazil defeated Croatia, 2-0, to win the men’s championship. Greece defeated Norway, 2-1, to win the women’s championship.
The U.S. men were 11th in the 2016 world championship, the first time they played in a world championship. This was the first time the U.S. women competed in the world championship.
Beach handball was officially recognized in 1994 by the International Handball Federation, which began conducting a biennial world championship in 2004.
There are four players on each team, which includes a specialist, who wears a different colored jersey. The specialist is the only offensive player who can be within six meters of the goal the team is shooting for. The goalkeeper is the defensive specialist.
All goals scored by specialists count for two points, including those scored by goalkeepers.
Substitutions are made on the fly, like hockey. A team customarily replaces its goalkeeper with an offensive specialist.
The game is played on a flat sand court 27 meters long and 12 meters wide.
A “spectacular goal,” as determined by the referee, is also worth two points.
A goal scored on an alley-oop — where the player catches and shoots the ball while in the air — or a 360-shot, where the player’s feet are pointed to the goal, they jump and spin, then shoot before they hit the ground, are also worth two points.
Beach handball is part of the World Games, a quadrennial competition consisting of events not in the Olympics. It will be part of the Summer Youth Olympic Games to be held in Buenos Aires, Argentina in October and next year’s inaugural World Beach Games, organized by the Association of National Olympic Committees, to be held in San Diego.
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