Vejle, Denmark – USA Wheelchair Rugby advanced to the gold medal final of the 2022 WWR World Championship after their 57-52 win in today’s semifinal over Japan. Top scorers for today were Chuck Aoki (Minneapolis, MN) with 32 trys and Josh Wheeler (Tucson, AZ) with 8. Aoki was also named the Player of the Match.
Today’s game was another showcase of the energizing offense and methodical defense that has helped the U.S. stand out at this tournament. 13-10 after the first quarter, the U.S. would stretch the lead to six, up 29-23 at the half. While Japan returned from halftime with renewed energy and diverse lineups, they were no match for the key defense and quick ball handling of the American squad. “We are getting better game by game,” said Coach Delagrave. We’ve come out on fire a few games and a few games not, just like we did against Canada yesterday when we didn’t have a good start. We knew we had to come out stronger today. They are a really good team, great high pointers, great low pointers, great midpointers, great coach, we knew we had to come out and set the tone.”
The United States will now face Australia in tomorrow’s final. Australia advanced after their 56-55 win over host country Denmark in today’s other semi-final. “We have to treat tomorrow like just another game, “ said Delagrave. But, at the same time you respect what you are doing. It’s a gold medal game, you understand the emotions everyone has and we have to continue to preach the same things. I can’t change as a leader, our captains can’t change as leaders. We will prepare the same way we have each day here.”
Catch the livestream of the gold medal match at 9 a.m. CT Sunday and all the action from Vejle at https://worldwheelchair.rugby/2022/10/09/watch-the-2022-wheelchair-rugby-world-championships/ and check in for all the stats and highlights at usawr.org.