Women's Super Final 2014, Day 4: Host China knocks out the World champions

World League

Apart from the game between the US and Brazil, the other three quarters were all decided by a single goal. Australia won a really tough physical game against Canada, Italy managed to beat the Russians in a tremendous battle while China upended the World title-holder Spanish team, thanks to a magnificent individual effort of Sun Yating, the centre-forward netted three action goals to keep the hosts’ hope for retaining their title alive.


Game 13, 15.00, Quarter Final: Canada vs. Australia 7-8
Quarters: 2-2, 2-2, 2-2, 1-2
Referees: Ursula Wengenroth (SUI), Amaral Toffoli (BRA)

CANADA: Nicola Colterjohn, Krystina Alogbo 3, Katrina Monton, Alexa Tielmann, Monika Eggens 1, Emma Wright, Joelle Bekhazi 1, Axelle Crevier, Carmen Eggens, Christine Robinson 1, Elyse Lemay-Lavoie, Shae Fournier 1, Jessica Gaudreauit (GK). Head coach: Guy Baker.
AUSTRALIA: Lilan Hedges, Eliesha Browne, Hannah Buckling, Jayde Appel 2, Bronte Halugan, Bronwen Knox, Rowie Webster 4, Glencora McGhie, Bronte Colenso, Ashleigh Southern, Jessica Zimmerman, Keesja Gofers 2, Kelsey Wakefield (GK). Head coach: Greg McFadden.

Extramen
Canada: 0 for 4
Australia: 2 for 3

It was a really tight and tough battle: the Aussies seemed to have a slightly better chance, but the Canadians were always around their rivals’ neck. What’s more, they had man-ups at 3-3 in the second, at 4-4 at the start of the third and at 6-6 at the beginning of the fourth. Not a single shot was taken during these 20 seconds – costly waste in a game which saw seven exclusions altogether. Though they climbed back from being 4-6 down, they came up short answering the last Aussie goal scored from a 6 on 5 with 3:32 remaining on the clock, courtesy of Jayde Appel who tipped the ball in from close range, finishing a brilliantly set-up extra. The Canadians had desperate tries afterwards, even in the dying seconds but couldn’t break the US defence.

FLASHQUOTES:

Guy Baker, head coach of Canada: “Overall we did a good job but in extra-player we didn’t do really well. On the last three we didn’t get a shot, that’s where we should do better next time. Probably that was the difference today.”

Greg McFadden, head coach of Australia: “It was an extremely tough game with a lot of tight girls in the water. It wasn’t a really fast paced game, with a minimum number of exclusions and a lot of physical battle. Canada is always playing a good tough game of water polo, we had many games against them, we are just glad that we’ve survived today.”

Rowie Webster (AUS), player:“It was a physical game but we managed to stay cool and now really happy for the win. It was a really good team effort and it’s great that we are fighting for a medal now.”


Game 14, 16.30, Quarter Final: United States vs. Brazil 11-1
Quarters: 3-1, 4-0, 2-0, 2-0
Referees: Arkadiy Voevodin (RUS), Dion Willis (RSA)

USA: Samantha Hill, Alys Williams 1, Melissa Seidemann, Rachel Fattal, Caroline Clark, Maggie Steffens 3, Makenzie Fischer 1, Kiley Neushul 3, Jillian Kraus, Kaleigh Gilchirst 2, Annike Dries, Kameryn Craig 1, Elizabeth Keeve (GK). Head coach: Adam Krikorian.
BRAZIL: Oliveira Tess, Cecilia Canetti, Marina Zablith, Marina Canetti, Lucianne Barroncas, Izabella Chiappini 1, Amanda Oliveria, Luiza Carvalho, Flavia Vigna, Melani Dias, Viviane Bahia, Diana Abla, Victoria Chamorro. Head coach: Patrick Oaten.

Extramen
USA: 3 for 5
Brazil: 1 for 7

Penalties
USA: 1 for 1
Brazil: –

For most of the time it was a one-way traffic in the pool: the Brazilians were not in the same category with the US players in any terms, including skills, experience, muscles, height and weight. Towards the second half they found it difficult to get even closer to the US goal as their centre-forward was pushed out to the 5m line so the shooters stood 8-9m from the goal – scoring from there was a mission impossible. With the defence solved the US team earned a comfortable win, could spare some energy for the last two matches – a valuable gain in a tournament with six encounters in six days.

FLASHQUOTES:

Adam Krikorian, head coach of USA: “I think it was actually more difficult for us than the score looks. The Brazilian team got a lot better in a short period of time, big credit goes to Pat and his staff they are doing a great job there.”

Patrick Oaten, head coach of Brazil: “We are in a learning process for sure, a lot of good things have happened to us in this tournament already. It’s our first time in the Super Final, good opportunity for our players to see this level of play and to earn success we have to work hard towards Rio.”

Maggie Steffens (USA), player: “I think the great thing is with our team this year that we have so many different people who could step up in the big moments.”


Game 15, 18.00, Quarter Final: Russia vs. Italy 5-6
Quarters: 1-2, 1-2, 2-1, 1-1
Referees: Marie-Claude Desliere (CAN), Nicola Johnson (AUS)

RUSSIA: Anastasia Verkhoglyadova, Olga Trotskaya, Ekaterina Prokofyeva 1, Elvina Karimova 2, Kseniia Krimer, Valeriia Kolmakova, Nadezhda Iarondaykina 1, Evgeniia Khokhriakova 1, Anna Timofeeva, Anna Grineva, Evgeniya Ivanova, Ekaterina Zelentsova, Anna Karnaukh (GK). Head coach: Mikhail Nakoriakov.
ITALY: Giulia Gorlero, Federica Radicchi, Arianna Garibotti 1, Elisa Queirolo, Silvia Motta, Rosaria Aiello 1, Tania di Mario 1, Roberta Bianconi 2, Guilia Emmolo 1, Valeria Palmieri, Aleksandra Cotti, Teresa Frassinetti, Laura Teani (GK). Head coach: Fabio Conti.

Extramen
Russia: 2 for 7
Italy: 4 for 9

Penalties
Russia: –
Italy: 0 for 1

Another tremendous battle with the defences in the spotlight. Italy owe a huge thank to Gulia Gorlero who made tremendous saves, especially in the second half. In the third she stopped three balls in a row, two of them while playing man-down. The Italians were always in front, mostly by two after the middle break. The Russians pulled one back from time to time but couldn’t level the score. When Karimova converted an extra in the fourth for 5-6, 5 minutes were left in the game. Karnaukh caught Emmolo’s penalty, but the Russians couldn’t capitalise on it though they got a 6 on 5 on the next attack. Towards the end of the clash they were too tired to come up with their usual fast, sparkling counter-attacks, and they were unable to create real chances in the position game.

FLASHQUOTES:

Mikhail Nakoriakov, head coach of Russia: “It was a game of two European sides, so it was equal, both team has chances, misses, almost in equal numbers. What made the difference was the exclusions. The Italians had more, and realised more. We didn’t make our last one and that was it.”

Fabio Conti, head coach of Italy: "I was happy with my team today, they won this game with heart, not with tactics or technique as our tank was almost empty. But all in all, it’s good to have so many hard games as it is a good preparation for the European Championships.”

Giulia Gorlero (ITA), goalkeeper: “We knew it was going to be a tough game. We know the Russians well, but all the time you have to be ready to concentrate during the entire match. Now we managed to do this.”


Game 16, 19.30, Quarter Final: Spain vs. China 8-9
Quarters: 1-2, 2-2, 3-3, 2-2
Referees: Mario Bianchi (ITA), Mark Koganov (AZE)

SPAIN: Laura Ester, Marta Bach, Anna Espar 3, Roser Tarrago, Matile Ortiz, Jennifer Pareja, Lorena Miranda, Pilar Pena 3, Andrea Blas, Ona Meseguer, Carmen Garcia 2, Laura Lopez, Patricia Herrera (GK). Head coach: Miguel Oca.
CHINA: Yang Jun, Li Shujin 1, Liu Ping, Sun Yujun 2, Yiong Dunhan, Sun Yating 3, Song Donglun 1, Zhang Cong, Zhao Zihan 1, Tian Jianing, Wang Xinyan, Niu Guangnan 1, Peng Lin (GK). Head coach: Rick Azevedo.

Extramen
Spain: 6 for 12
China: 4 for 9

Sun Yating shone over the entire Kunshan Swimming Centre, she was simply amazing in the centre-forward position, netted three action goals (including two back-handed shots). Her double at the beginning of the fourth quarter was decisive: Spain just climbed back to 6-7, Pena beat the buzzer at the end of the third period from an extra and the World champions seemed to have come alive after trailing by two for most of the time in that period. However, Yating’s two brilliant goals widened the gap (6-9) and the Spaniards’ final surge came a bit late. They got close again with 62 seconds to go (8-9) but in their last attempt Tarrago’s shot was saved by Yang Jun in the dying seconds. It was a fitting end as the Chinese goalie produced some magnificent stops while her team-mates got control as soon as they had started to convert the man-ups: after a disastrous start (0/4) they put away 4 our of 5 and that was the key, besides Yating’s fantastic performance.

FLASHQUOTES:

Miguel Oca, head coach of Spain: "We got too many goals from the centre today. Three goals – way too much in a quarter final game. We knew that China is a very strong team, they play at home and it was going to be a very difficult game. They won, they were better, congratulations to them."

Rick Azevedo, head coach of China: "Spain is such a great team, so well coached, they are a really classy team. We prepared for them, however, we got a feeling we would have a crossover against them, so we had a plan prepared. The girls executed the defence well, we got a couple of breaks – that’s what it takes to beat the World champions. Our center did a great job, stayed at the two-metre line and let us make some good shots from six metres as the defence had to come back to help on her and our goalie definitely came up with some key saves."

Sun Yating (CHN), player: "It was a hard game, Spain is a good team, they are great players, fast and strong, but today we were better. I scored the goals thanks to my team mates, they did a great job!"