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U.S. Women Knocked Out Of Medal Contention In Women’s Handball

July 28, 1996

ATLANTA (AP) _ The U.S. women’s handball team would settle for two victories. There won’t be a first Olympic medal.

Hungary beat the Americans 30-24 Sunday to eliminate them from medal contention.

After trailing 19-8 at halftime, the Americans got within 25-21 after scoring five straight goals. Then came a momentum-breaking mistake.

With about six minutes left in the game, Carol Peterka earned another two-minute suspension for returning to the court too soon after her previous penalty.

``We had the momentum and were only four down,″ U.S. coach Claes Hellgren said. ``But we needed to play like that the whole game. You can’t give a country like that a big lead.″

In other women’s games Sunday, South Korea led the entire game in a 25-19 victory over Angola, Denmark beat China 33-21 and Germany beat Norway 28-23.

Even with one preliminary game left, the medal round teams have been determined. All four winners Sunday are 2-0, while are four losers are 0-2 and have no chances for medals.

The U.S. team plays China in its final Pool A preliminary game Tuesday. That will determine if the Americans play for fifth or seventh place in the consolation round.

``We want to win them and finish fifth,″ said U.S. goalkeeper Tami Jameson. ``We have some veteran players who have never done that. We want to show the world what we can really do.″

The United States finished sixth in 1992 and seventh in 1988. Its best showing was fourth in 1984, before any of the current team members were playing.

Sharon Cain and Chryssandra Hires each scored two goals as the Americans pulled within 25-21. But the U.S. never got closer after Peterka’s mistake.

``We beat them by five goals in the second half. That is a pretty good effort for our team,″ Hellgren said. ``We showed we can play a different way in handball. We showed them the American way.″

That included a pressing, zone-like defense for much of the second half.

Eszter Matefi, who scored nine first-half goals for Hungary, was shut out in the second half. Helga Nemeth finished with six goals for the Hungarians.

Cain and Hires both scored five of their goals after halftime. Hires paced the United States with eight goals, while Cain had seven.

Kjersti Grini scored 10 goals for Norway, which built a 15-11 halftime lead and never trailed Germany after that. Mirolsava Ritskiavitchius led the Germans with eight points.

Lim O-kyeong, Oh Seong-ok and Hong Jeong-ho Hong each scored five goals for South Korea. After Lim’s fastbreak goal 10 minutes into the game made it 7-2, Angola never got within five points. Elisa Webba had seven goals for Angola.

Gitte Madsen made seven of her eight shots for Denmark, which never trailed in its game. The Danish team built a 19-9 halftime lead by outscoring South Korea 12-3 in the final 13:28 of the first half.

Chao Zhai had five goals for South Korea, which watch the margin gradually increase after halftime.

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