Game 35 (W), 14:00, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 7 RUSSIA 9

Shanghai 2011 - Water Polo Games Reports

Group 1-8 Quarter-final

Quarters: 2-0, 3-2, 1-5, 1-2

Referees: Erhan TULGA (TUR), Torsten BOCK (GER) Extra Man: USA: 03/10. RUS: 1/11

Pen: USA: 0/1

Teams:
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Elizabeth ARMSTRONG, Heather PETRI, Melissa SEIDEMANN, Brenda VILLA, Lauren WENGER, Margaret STEFFENS, Courtney MATHEWSON, Jessica STEFFENS, Elsie WINDES, Kelly RULON, Annika DRIES, Kameryn CRAIG, Tumuaialii ANAE. HEAD COACH: Adam KRIKORIAN.
RUSSIA: Maria KOVTUNOVSKAYA, Nadezhda FEDOTOVA (1) Ekaterina PROKOFYEVA (5), Sofia KONUKH (1), Alexandra ANTONOVA (1), Natalia RYZHOVA-ALENICHEVA (2), Ekaterina LISUNOVA (4), Evgenia SOBOLEVA (1), Ekaterina TANKEEVA (1), Olga BELYAEVA (1), Evgenia IVANOVA (1), Yulia GAUFLER, Anna KANAUKH. Head Coach: Alexander KABANOV.


USA vs RUS - credit: Russell McKinnon
USA vs RUS - credit: Russell McKinnon

Russia scored the biggest upset of the tournament with a magnificent victory over the USA. It was the end of a streak that spans back so far it needs checking. Three golds and a silver in the past four FINA World Championship. We have to look back to Fukuoka in Japan in 2001 when Canada beat the USA for bronze in a year that Italy won gold. No major medal for VILLA  and PETRI, which is a rarity. The first time off the podium since Tianjin in 2006 at the FINA World Cup when Canada was again the destroyer for the bronze medal when Australia won. Is this an omen for the London Olympics where the USA is hooting for a fourth consecutive medal? Or it is just an aberration? The real aberration was Russia's trump card PROKOFYEVA, captain of the successful Russian team at the FINA World Championships two years again and tournament most valuable player. She's fast making a name for herself in senior ranks, scoring five goals in an amazing game of water polo. Amazing, because the USAwas in total command until midway through the second period at 4-0. LISUNOVA and WENGER traded goals and PROKOFYEVA scored her first from the top on extra to close the second quarter at 5-2. WENGER made it 6-2 on extra two minutes into the third and looked good for the USA. THEN! The landslide started. FEDOTOVA on extra; LISUNOVA on the right, PROKOFYEVA on the left, FEDOTOVA with a lob and PROKOFYEVA from eightr metres for the 7-
6 lead —five goasls in less than four minutes! PROKOFYEVA sent one into the top right and Russia had an 8-6 lead. USA took a timeout to no effect and it took until 1:32 to gain a penalty shot. STEFFENS shot left and KANAUKH blocked. MATHEWSON pounced on the ball and shot again, only for KANAUKH to send sideways. Russia called a timeout and PROKOFYEVA scored after an exclusion period with a shot from downtown for 9-6 at 0:47. USA took a timeout and the ploy was simple. RULON to take a foul and score from five metres. Hey Presto! Simple. 9-7. But the goal was the first USA movement on the scoreboard for more than 13 minutes. Too long. The dream was over. Russia, with three bronze medals — the last in Rome in 2009 — was on track for another. It's probably unfair to say it is an upset as Russia looked goon at the FINA World League Super Finals but lost just one game and finished fifth! Its time will come.