WP Juniors (W), Day 7: USA takes gold after 9-7 win over Spain

FINA World Junior Water Polo Championships

On the podium: USA, ESP and GRE - credit: NewSportsVolos (Greece), 25 August – The team of USA conquered the 2013 title at the FINA World Junior Women’s Water Polo Championships in Volos (GRE), after beating in the decisive match of the tournament an inspired squad of Spain. The North Americans confirmed their favourite status and culminated a superb week with a fair win in the last game, by 9-7. As for the bronze, it went to home country Greece which took a close triumph against Russia. The best player of the tournament was Rachel Fattal (USA), while her teammate Ashleigh Johnson earned the prize of the best goalkeeper. As for the most goals (23) of the tournament, they were scored by Spain’s Roser Tarrago Aymerich.


For places 7-8: GREAT BRITAIN 3 - AUSTRALIA 14
Quarters: 1-4, 1-4, 0-2, 1-4

Teams:
Great Britain: SMITH Jade, TASKEN Lauren, GRIMES Honor, GILBERT Sophie, CHADDERTON Ella, HESKETH Katie 3, TAFAZOLLI Brook, NIXON Claire, HUCK Rosemary, DEAN Courtney, ELLIOT Danielle, OSCROFT Rhianne, THOMPSON Kate

Australia: DAVIES Michaela, COLENSO Brinte, CARR Emily 1, ZIMMERMAN Jessica 3, EARL Cathryn 1, MARTIN Shannan 2, MALLIGAN Bronte 1, APPEL Jayde 1, SCHMID Maddison 2, BENSON Emily 2, BARR Chloe, BAXTER Morgan 1, HEDGES Lilian

Extraman:
GBR: 1/2
AUS: 2/4

Penalties:
GBR: 0/1
AUS: 0/1

Referees: Daniella DABBAGHAIN (USA), Natasha FLORESTANO (BRA)


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AUS - credit: NewSports

Without playing at its best level, Australia took an easy win against Great Britain and ended its participation in the tournament by getting the 7th place. The Aussies had the control of the game from the beginning and were never threatened by the British team. The half time score was 8-2 in favour of the squad from Oceania and the two last periods were a mere formality. Both teams took a gear back and the two coaches had the chance to make a lot of changes and to give playing time to all the players in the squad. At the final whistle Australia won by a comfortable 14-3, closing its obligation with a clear victory.

For places 5-6: HUNGARY 6 - ITALY 10
Quarters: 3-1, 1-3, 0-4, 2-2

Teams:
Hungary: HORVATH Anna, ILLES Anna Krisztina, Dora ANTAL, GURISATTI Greta, MISKOLCZI Ibolya Kitti 5, KOVESDI Vivien, GEMES Alexa Anett, GARDA Krisztina, MILKOS Dora 1, ZIEGLER Diana, HORVATH Brigitta, POLAK Zsofia, BARNA Edina

Italy: SPARANO Fabiana, DARIO Sara 3, VERDUCCI Martina 1, VIACAVA Giulia, MILLO Alessia, REPETTO Laura 1, GALARDI Giuditta 2, TABANI Chiara, PALMIERI Valeria 1, MARLETTA Claudia 1, GRILLO Roberta, POMERI Francesca 1, NIGRO Divina

Extraman:
HUN: 3/7
ITA: 2/7

Referees: Gernolt HAENTSCHEL (GER), Liang ZHANG (CHN)


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HUN vs ITA - credit: NewSports

The game for the 5th position had nothing to envy from the semifinal games. Both Italy and Hungary played really beautiful water polo and tried to leave the tournament with a good performance. The Magyars, with Miskolczi Kitti in an excellent day - 5 goals -, entered the match with more confidence being in front at the end of the first quarter with a 3-1 advantage. However, the Azzuri balanced the rhythm and succeeded to equalize before half time (4-4). The comeback eventually came on the third period with the Italian squad taking for the first time the advantage in the match. They then achieved to grow it to four goals and to create a safe difference. The situation remained unchanged during the remaining of the game, and Italy concluded the competition in the fifth position.

For the bronze medal: GREECE 7 - RUSSIA 6

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

Teams:
Grecce: DIAMANTOPOULOU Chrysoula, BENEKOU Alkistis, DIAMANTOPOULOU Vasiliki 1, CHIDIRIOTI Ioanna, PLEVRITOU Eleftheria 3, XENAKI Eleni, KALOGERAKOU Michaella, PLEVRITOU Margarita, KOTSIA Christina, SORA Maria, BENEKOU Ioli-Aggeliki, KONTOGIANNI Stamatina 3, TEREFU Stefania

Russia: CHAMORDO Victoria, ANTONOVA Diana, SIMANOVICH Anastasia 1, KARIMOVA Elvina 2, PERFILYEVA Natalia, BELOVA Olga 1, KUZINA Svetlana, RYZHKOVA Daria, PODELSHCHIKOVA Vasilisa, BOGDANOVA Anna 2, IARONDAIKINA Nade, BABYKSHINA Dinara, VERKHOGLYADOVA Anastasia

Extraman:
GRE: 2/4
RUS: 2/4

Penalties:
GRE: 1/2
RUS: 0/0

Referees: Nicola JOHNSON (AUS), Fabio BRASILIANO (ITA)


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GRE vs RUS - credit: NewSports

For the joy of the home crowd filling the national pool in Volos, Greece earned the bronze medal, a fair reward for a good tournament. But things weren’t easy: Russia entered the match more concentrated and within the first five minutes scored three consecutive goals keeping also her goalposts clear. At this point, Greece woke up and before the end of the first period came close to one goal (2-3). At the start of the second quarter, the Hellenic side finally equalized, a situation that remained unchanged until half time (including a missed penalty from the hosts, who could have given them some advantage). Giorgos Morfesis’ squad got in front for the first time at the beginning of the third period, with Eleftheria Plevritou leading the goalscoring; however, Russia left no time to run and brought the game back to draw. Greece seemed to want it more and with two consecutive goals succeeded to build an important difference. Russia, on the other hand, refused to give up and by scoring a crucial goal 15 seconds before the end of the quarter kept its hopes for a medal alive. In the last period, the key factor of fatigue played his role. Everything was hanging by a thread. However, a penalty for Greece three minutes before the end gave the hosts an advantage and brought them closer to the medal. The last minutes of the match were a real thriller: both teams looked really exhausted and anxious. However, despite Russia’s attempts to send the match on extra time, Greece kept the advantage safe and finally celebrated the bronze medal.

Chrysoula Diamantopoulou (Team captain - Greece): “I have no words to describe this medal! All the team is really excited. We wanted this win a lot. Despite the bad start, and following our coach’s instructions, we based our game on a stronger defence and we made the comeback and kept the advantage till the end. I believe we deserve the third position. We want to thank all our supporters. They are amazing and they helped us a lot”.

Giorgos Morfesis (Head coach - Greece): “We are really happy. I want to congratulate my girls and all the people around the team. This success is due to all those who helped us to be here and finish on the third position. Despite the difficulties, Greek water polo proved once more it remains in top class and this is the most important thing. We were really anxious in the beginning but we succeeded to take the advantage, based on a solid defence. We could have finished the game earlier and avoid the last minutes’ thriller. But this is logical because some girls are inexperienced. Just to say that one of our players, Ioanna Chidirioti was born in 1997. A big thanks to the municipality of Volos who supported us through all the tournament. This competition was really amazing. I want to thank everybody, the mayor, the president of the Hellenic Federation, the hundreds of volunteers”.


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Greece, bronze medal - credit: NewSports

For the gold medal: USA 9 - SPAIN 7
Quarters: 2-1, 4-1, 1-3, 2-2

Teams:
USA: JOHNSON Ashleigh, GROSSMAN Ashley 1, FISCHER Makenzie 1, FATTAL Rachel 2, SCHROERER Tiera, VAVIC Monica, DAUBE Eike, NEUSHUL Kiley 3, DONOHOE Emily 2, BARR Makenzie, HILL Kodianne, WILLIAMS Alys ,YOCUM Jullian

Spain: FERNANDEZ HERRERA Patricia, ZUNIGA Laura Vicente, LLAQUET Anni Espar, GARCIA GRAUPERA Carla, AYMERICH Roser Tarrago 4, LOPEZ Irene Gonzalez, LLAQUET Clara Espar 3, MUNOZ Beatriz Ortiz, PASQUAL Marta Bach, ALVAREZ Nar Pastor, ESFORZADO Paula Chillida, ARIZA Judith Forca, GONZALEZ Maria Sanchez

Extraman:   
USA: 1/3
ESP: 2/6

Penalties:
USA: 1/1
ESP: 1/1

Referees: Svetlana DREVAL (RUS), Nicolas BUDRAMIS (GRE)


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USA vs ESP - credit: NewSports

Before the beginning of the final there was a clear favourite (USA) and an outsider (Spain) which shouldn’t be underestimated. US players knew this very well and started the game being fully concentrated and disciplined. They got the lead from the early beginning and closed the first period slightly in front (2-1). In the second period, USA continued to control the match, having the best goalkeeper of the tournament Ashleigh Johnson in another excellent day, and built a safe difference of four goals before the half time break. Spain on the other hand, because of its poor rate on extraman, could not come close and the gold medal was getting out of reach. The beginning of the second part was completely different as Spain succeeded to catch USA with three consecutive goals and reducing the gap to one goal. The game then became a real thriller. The two teams went hand on hand, and despite the fact that USA had the advantage they could not build a comfortable difference. However, a really important goal from Kiley Neuschul three minutes before the end of the match, gave to Dan Klatt’s squad the advantage they needed and brought the gold closer. This goal was the final hit to Spain’s morale, which in the remaining minutes did not succeed to do something more. At the end, USA could celebrate the title and enjoy the result of a great and successful tournament.

Javier Polonio (Head coach - Spain): “The second place for us is truly incredible. USA is a really strong team and they deserve the gold medal. The bad start was the key point of our loss. On the third quarter, we succeeded to come close to one goal, however we did not succeed to equalize. USA has the luck to have a really great goalkeeper. However, the silver medal is a dream for us and proves that, there is a lot of future in Spain’s women water polo. The tournament was really amazing. Two years ago, our junior men came here. We also won the silver medal on that tournament. Volos is a great place with fantastic people”.

Dan Klatt (Head coach - USA): “I am really excited to represent the country and bring the gold medal back. We came here to win the championship. We played against four of the top teams in the world, and the girls did a great job. I am really proud of them, as they became a group during a really short time. Defence is our main asset, completed by a great goalkeeper. I did not feel afraid when Spain came close. It is my job to stay calm. We know there were going to be challenges, we deal with them and we just keep looking forward.

The tournament was fantastic. People came out and supported the whole championship. It was incredible, and this makes me feel even more proud about my girls. The hotel, the volunteers, the security, everything was perfect”.


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Team USA, gold medal - credit: NewSports

Ashleigh Johnson (Team captain - USA): “We did our best for this. We worked really hard, we just feel really happy about the first position. Every day was better from the previous one. We are all together for only some days, but we tried to improve ourselves every day. I am really excited about the prize of the best goalkeeper and I want to thank my teammates for it. The tournament is excellent. The city of Volos is really beautiful. We have been in other places in the past, but here is truly amazing. The swimming pool is great, people are really friendly and everything went really well”.


FINAL RANKING

1. UNITED STATES OF AMERICA (USA)
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2. SPAIN (ESP)
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3. GREECE (GRE)
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4. RUS; 5. ITA; 6. HUN; 7. AUS; 8. GBR; 9. CAN; 10. NZL;
11. UZB; 12. UKR; 13. BRA; 14. KAZ; 15. RSA