WPWL 2010 (Women): World No1 USA and No2 Canada to battle for Super Finals semifinal berth

World League

credit: Russell McKinnonThe top two teams from the Rome FINA World Championships will play in the quarter-finals of the women’s water polo FINA World League Super Finals at La Jolla, California, tomorrow. The world champion United States of America will play Canada, meaning one team won’t be in the medal hunt. Following three penalty-shootout matches the day before, it was all straight forward at the La Jolla Senior High School pool. The only upset was Hungary’s 11-7 demolition of Group A winner China. Olympic champion Netherlands downed world championship silver medallist Canada 12-9 for third spot in the Group A In Group B, Australia took its time to beat Greece 7-5 for seven points but had to wait until the last preliminary-round match to see whether world champion USA would claim the group. This it did by defeating Russia 12-9. The other quarter-finals also see some interesting match-ups with the Netherlands taking on World Cup champion Australia, China facing Russia and Hungary fronting up to Greece.

Match 9. 14:30. NETHERLANDS 12 CANADA 9
Quarters: 3-0, 3-2, 4-2, 2-5
NETHERLANDS: Ilsa VAN DER MEIJDEN, Yasemin SMIT, Mieke CABOUT (3), Biurakin HAKHVERDIAN, Sabrina VAN DER SLOOT (2), Nomi STOMPHORST (1), Iefke VAN BELKUM (1), Noeki KLEIN, Jantien CABOUT (2), Nienke VERMEER (3), Lieke KLAASSEN, Marloes NIJHUIS. Head Coach: Mauro MAUGERI.
CANADA:  Rachel RIDDELL, Krystina ALOGBO (1), Katrina MONTON, Emily CSIKOS (2), Joelle BEKHAZI (2), Hanna VELIZAROVA, Rosanna TOMIUK, Dominique PERRAULT (1), Monika EGGENS (2), Christine ROBINSON (1), Tara CAMPBELL, Marina RADU, Marissa JANSSENS. Head Coach: Pat OATEN.

The Netherlands raced to its first victory and moved off the bottom rung with a well constructed game. Canadian head coach Pat OATEN said he was disappointed that his players did not follow the game plan. “I don’t know why but they didn’t.” With the group not yet decided OATEN said that it probably means a clash with the USA in the quarter-finals — “Our best possible opponent”. “The more we can play them the better as they are the best.” It took 12 minutes for Canada to get on the board and by then the Dutch, looking better than the previous two days, was 5-0 ahead. The third period was all a CABOUT affair with four goals with younger sister Jantien scoring the first two and older sister Mieke scoring the last two for the Dutch. With the game at 10-4, it was all over for Canada but the resurgence came and with three minutes left it was suddenly 11-7. Mieke CABOUT scored her third for 12-7 at 1:59 to make sure of the win.. Canadian captain Krystina ALOGBO was sent for violence in the dying moments. Ilsa VAN DER MEIJDEN made 15 saves for the Dutch and Marissa JANSSENS made 10 for Canada.

credit: Russell McKinnon

Match 10. 16:00. GREECE 5 AUSTRALIA 7 
Quarters: 2-1, 1-3, 1-1, 1-2
GREECE:  Maria TSOURI, Christina TSOUKALA, Konstantina KOUTELI, Ilektra PSOUNI, Kyriaki LIOSI, Alkisti AVRAMIDOU, Alexandra ASIMAKI (1), Antigoni ROUMPESI (1), Angeliki GEROLYMOU (1), Triantafyllia MANOLIOUDAKI (1), Stavroula ANTONAKOU (1), Vasileia MAVRELOU, Eleni KOUVDOU. Head Coach: Georgios MORFESIS.
AUSTRALIA: Victoria BROWN, Gemma BEADSWORTH, Sophie SMITH, Alicia BRIGHTWELL, Jane MORAN, Bronwen KNOX (1), Rowena WEBSTER (4), Glencora RALPH (1), Jemma DESSAUVAGIE, Zoe ARANCINI, Melissa RIPPON (1), Nicola ZAGAME, Kelsey WAKEFIELD, Keesja GOFERS.  Head Coach: Greg McFADDEN.

Australia, after a slow start, came through to beat a team it considers a “bogey” side. Rowena WEBSTER came through for the Aussie Stingers scoring every Australian goal in the last 17 minutes of action. Australia struggled with the extra-man plays, sometimes not even getting a shot away while Greece worked hard to upset. Australian head coach Greg McFADDEN said that he was pleased with the extra-man defence but rued lost opportunities up front. Australia took 41 shots but Maria TSOURI made a magnificent 24 saves. Victoria BROWN, on the other hand, made 13 of Greece’s total of 24 attempts. The Australian rhythm was off and the frustration for McFADDEN came at the top of the fourth when he gained a yellow card.

credit: Russell McKinnon

Match 11. 17:30. CHINA 7 HUNGARY 11
Quarters: 2-2, 2-5, 0-3, 3-1
CHINA: YANG Jun, TENG Fei, LIU Ping, SUN Yujun (1), HE Jin, SUN Yating, ZHANG Lei, GAO Ao (3), WANG Yi (2), MA Huanhuan (1), SONG Donglun, CHEN Yuan, ZHANG Cong. Head Coach: Juan JANE.
HUNGARY: Orsolya KASO, Hanna KISTELEKI, Rita POSZKOLI, Dora KISTELEKI (2), Gabriella SZUCS (3), Orsolya TAKACS, Rita DRAVUCZ (2), Rita KESZTHELYI (3), Ildiko TOTH, Barbara BUJKA (1), Agnes VALKAI, Patricia JANCSO, Aniko GYONGYOSSY. Head Coach: Matyas PETROVICS.

An 8-2 middle half of the game said it all with Hungary showing total domination over China. Hungary shot out to 2-0 in its opening two attacks but China settled and eliminated the deficit. By three-quarter time Hungary had sealed the game and a late Chinese charge was never a threat. China had no trouble getting assistance from the referees but struggled on extra-man attack, scoring just five from 13 chances compared to Hungary’s meagre one from four. Both teams shot 30 times while Hungarian goalkeeper Aniko GYONGYOSSY made 14 saves compared to YANG Jun’s 11. Hungary startled China and the crowd with exceptional outside shooting at the start with the first three beyond the six-metre mark and a further three from the same distances with another two from five metres. Head coach Matyas PETROVICS was pleased with his team’s defence and said that China used two players to shoot too often and his team covered hose positions. He said he told his team that they played “very well”.

credit: Russell McKinnon

Quarters: 1-2, 5-3, 3-1, 3-3
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Elizabeth ARMSTRONG, Heather PETRI, Erika FIGGE, Brenda VILLA (3), Lauren WENGER (1), Tanya GANDY (2), Margaret STEFFENS (1), Lauren SILVER, Elsie WINDES, Kelly RULON (2), Annika DRIES (2), Kameryn CRAIG, Melissa SEIDEMANN (1), Courtney MATHEWSON, Emily FEHER. Head Coach: Adam KRIKORIAN.
RUSSIA: Maria KOVTUNOVSKAYA, Anna TIMOFEEVA (1), Ekaterina PROKOFYEVA (2), Sofya KONUKH, Alexandra ANTONOVA, Natalia RYZHOVA-ALENICHEVA (1), Ekaterina TANKEEVA, Evgenia SOBOLEVA (1), Olexandra KARPOVICH (1), Olga BELYAEVA (1), Evgeniya IVANOVA, Yulia GAUFLER (1), Anna USTYUKHINA, Evgeniya PUSTYINNIKOVA (1). Head Coach: Alexandr KABANOV.

Russia may have won the opening quarter but it was the home team who performed the best in front of a packed house. A three-goal haul at the start of the second quarter gave the USA a 4-2 advantage. The fourth came from veteran Brenda Villa, a triple Olympic medallist, who drilled a shot from seven metres. Turning a goal ahead at halftime, the USA had to fend off Russia who equalised through Natalia RYZHOVA-ALENICHEVA on extra at the top of the third period. Kelly RULON, Lauren WENGER and VILLA, with another outside blast, had the USA a comfortable 9-6 ahead at the final break. Goals were traded in the final period with Russia a tough nut to swat away. Ekaterina PROKOFYEVA took Russia to within two in the final two minutes but a Tanya GANDY penalty goal inside the last 100 seconds made it too hard for Russia to come back.

credit: Russell McKinnon