WP World Cup 2014 (W), Day 4: China-USA and Australia-Spain to clash in semifinals

Water Polo World Cup

ESP vs RSA - credit: Russell McKinnon

China, Spain, United States of America and Australia will contest the semifinals at the FINA Women’s Water Polo World Cup at the Ugra State University Sports Complex on Saturday. In play on Friday, China downed Hungary 8-6, world champion Spain defeated South Africa 12-2, Olympic champion United States of America sent off Singapore 24-2 and Australia held off Russia 10-8.

In the semifinals, China will face USA and Australia will take on Spain to see who contests the gold-medal final on Sunday.

Match reports:

Match 13: 15:00, Quarterfinal, CHINA 8 HUNGARY 6
Quarters: 2-1, 3-2, 2-1, 1-2

Referees: Marie-Claude Deslieres (CAN), Alexey Krapivin (RUS)
Extra Man: CHN: 1/12. HUN: 2/10.
Pens:  Nil.

CHINA: Jun Yang, Jing Zhang (1), Ping Liu, Yujun Sun (2), Huili Chen, Yating Sun, Donglun Song (2), Cong Zhang, Zihan Zhao (3), Jianing Tian, Xinyan Wang, Guannan Niu, Lin Peng. Head Coach: Rick Azevedo.
HUNGARY: Orsolya Kaso, Dora Czigany, Dora Antal, Hannah Kisteleki (1), Gabriella Szucs, Orsolya Takacs (1), Anna Illes, Rita Keszthelyi (2), Ildiko Toth (2), Barbara Bujka, Anita Hevesi, Kata Menczinger, Edina Gangl. Head Coach: Andras Meresz.

CHN vs HUN - credit: Russell McKinnon
CHN vs HUN - credit: Russell McKinnon

Wow Zhao! Zihan Zhao did the unthinkable and won the quarterfinal match for China in the dying minute to advance to Saturday’s semifinals. China dominated throughout, but Hungary was not to be denied and two quick goals in the last three minutes had the match at 7-6 and the result in the balance. When Hungary had what looked like a certain goal blocked by a defender, China advanced up the field and the ball became stranded with Zhao wide on the right. She was looking everywhere to pass and it was obvious the centre forward wanted it. So much so that the Hungarian goalkeeper moved towards the hole position and Zhao squeeked the ball in from an acute angle from the sideline. It was 8-6 at 0:42 and Hungary’s last attempt was blocked, giving China the match. Hungary opened the match at the five-minute mark, such was the tight defence. Eight minutes later China was 4-1 up. China went to 6-3 and 7-4 in a period where the extra-man chances for China were denied by Hungary who dropped two players into the cage. All this did was to allow China to score after the extra-man period. In fact, six came in this manner, meaning China really had seven from 12 attempts. Hungary changed the tactic and it was more effective. Hungary was gutted when it had three shots from point blocked at the five-four-minute mark. Barbara Bujke did her best attempt yet at centre forward only for Yang Jun to clock. Hannah Kisteleki had her counter-attack attempt also blocked by Jun and then Bujke was denied again off a cross pass on extra. It was not Hungary’s day.

Match 15: 16:30, Quarterfinal, SPAIN 12 SOUTH AFRICA 2
Quarters: 2-0, 3-0, 3-0, 4-2

Referees: Marcela Mauss (GER), Yagi Wang (CHN)
Extra Man: ESP: 4/8. RSA: 0/2.
Pens: ESP: 2/2.

SPAIN: Patricia Herrera, Marta Bach, Anna Espar (1), Beatriz Ortiz, Matilde Ortiz (2), Helena Lloret (2), Clara Espar, Lorena Miranda (1), Mar Pastor, Roser Tarrago (3), Paula Chillida, Laura Vicente (3), Maria Sanchez. Head Coach: Miguel Oca.
SOUTH AFRICA: Anke Jacobs, Amica Hallendorf, Kieren Paley, Kim Rosslee, Carly Wessels, Samantha Shead (1), Chloe Bradley, Lee-Ann Keet, Christy Rawstrom (1), Megan Parkes, Deborah O’Hanlon, Kelsey White, Rebecca Thomas. Head Coach: Brad Rowe.

ESP vs RSA - credit: Russell McKinnon

Spain moved into the semifinals with a comfortable win over South Africa, a team with two players probably out for the tournament with a broken nose (captain Kelsey White) and concussion (Kieren Paley) respectively while a third injured player, goalkeeper Anke Jacobs, returned to play today.  White and Paley sat on the bench. It was the best performance by South Africa against the world and European champion team playing consistent water polo and saving a lot of energy for the semifinals and beyond. The stout resistance by South Africa and its constant long shots were a good progression in this tournament. Spain scored twice from the penalty line in the final quarter and made the most of extra-man offence tactics. Roser Tarrago continued to impress with her all-round play and three goals took her tally for the week to 15. For South Africa, Christy Rawstrom from the top just creasing the cross bar and Samantha Shead with an excellent centre-forward-turning goal, gave some joy in the final quarter. Spanish head coach Miki Oca was happy with the result: “We’re now in the semifinal,” he said.

Match 16: 18:00, Quarterfinal, SINGAPORE 0 UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 24
Quarters: 0-8, 0-7, 0-5, 0-4

Referees: Joao Cardenuto (BRA), Jaume Teixido (ESP)
Extra Man: SIN: 0/0. USA: 3/5.
Pens: USA: 1/1

SINGAPORE: Seet Low, Ting Koh, Su-Lynn Tan, Enci Kan, Adelyn Yew, Angeline Teo, Ser Han Neo, Lynette Tan, Yiwen Ng, Denise Chen, En Yuan Loke, Cheng Ong, Eunice Fu. Head Coach: Luo Nan.
USA: Samantha Hill, Alys Williams (1), Melissa Seidemann (3), Rachel Fattal (1), Caroline Clark (1), Maggie Steffens (3), Courtney Mathewson, Kiley Neushul (2), Jillian Kraus (2), Kaleigh Gilchrist (4), Annike Dries (2), Kameryn Craig (5), Ashleigh Johnson. Head Coach: Adam Krikorian.

SIN vs USA - credit: Russell McKinnon

Olympic and world champion USA marched into the semifinals with a resounding victory over Singapore. USA used its full team and played hard the entire match, showing that Singapore had improved considerably since earlier in the week. Much can be said of USA’s sharpness and swift tactics, which proved too hard to overcome for Singapore. To its credit, Singapore defended stoutly, but trying to control a powerful centre forward like Kameryn Craig proved almost impossible. The accuracy of the USA shooting from the top and the speed off the catch will prove valuable for the next two days as it attempts to go back to back in this competition after Christchurch. The pool in which USA won the title was destroyed in the devastating earthquake just a week later and the entire QEII complex has since been demolished.

Match 14: 19:30, Quarterfinal, RUSSIA 8 AUSTRALIA 10
Quarters: 2-2, 2-3, 2-3, 2-2

Referees: Amber Drury (USA), Keiichi Orikasa (JPN)
Extra Man: RUS: 2/5. AUS: 2/7.
Pens: AUS: 1/1.

RUSSIA: Evgeniia Novoksenova, Maria Bersneva, Ekaterina Prokofyeva, Elvina Karimova (2), Valeriia Kolmakova (1), Olga Koryakina, Nadezhda Iarondaykina (2), Maria Borisova (1), Anna Kravchenko, Anna Grineva, Evgeniya Ivanova (1), Daria Ryzhkova (1). Anna Karnaukh. Head Coach: Mikhail Nakoriakov.
AUSTRALIA: Lilian Hedges, Jayde Appel, Hannah Buckling, Bronte Colenso, Isobel Bishop, Bronwen Knox, Rowie Webster (6), Glencora McGhie, Zoe Arancini (1), Ashleigh Southern (2), Morgan Baxter, Keesja Gofers (1), Kelsey Wakefield. Head Coach: Greg McFadden.

RUS vs AUS - credit: Russell McKinnon
RUS vs AUS - credit: Russell McKinnon

The Webster factor proved the downfall of Russia with the powerful shooter sending in six goals to be the standout player for the Aussie Stingers and send the team through to a semifinal clash with world champion Spain on Saturday. Russia had to play catch-up and this it did, coming back four times at 1-1, 3-3, 6-6 and crucially 8-8 at 5:43 in the final quarter.
Australia did a number on Russia’s star and captain Ekaterina Prokofyeva, keeping her off the scoresheet, something that proved critical. Webster may have been finishing off, but Glencora McGhie played her heart out on Prokofyeva. Australian captain Bronwen Knox was strong at centre forward and centre back as her team also had to come back, levelling at 2-2 late in the first and 4-4 in the second quarter. Nadezhda Iarondaykina, a sensation at this tournament, kept the huge crowd happy with two quick goals early in the fourth period to level the match. But, it was Webster who received an inside pass from Knox to lob for 9-8. Both teams took timeouts near the end of the match with Australia taking the second and Webster’s first shot rebounding to Ashleigh Southern, who scored what proved to be the winner on extra-man attack at 0:59. Russia had the ball stolen and Australia wasted time, giving no chance for Russia to get one back.

Australia head coach Greg McFadden said: “We were kind of comfortable at times, but then made silly mistakes at crucial times and Russia’s counter-attack proved dangerous. We couldn’t find consistency. However, to come away with a win against the home side at home is fantastic. I’m pretty pleased. Rowie (Webster) played a blinder.”

Leading Scorers:

Roser Tarrago (ESP) - 15
Kameryn Craig (USA) - 13
Elvina Karimova (RUS) - 13
Rowena Webster (AUS) - 12
Rita Keszthelyi (HUN) - 11
Nadezhda Iarondaykina (RUS) - 10
Ekaterina Prokofyeva (RUS) - 9
Hannah Kisteleki (HUN) - 9
Yujun SUN (CHN) - 9
Rachel Fattal (USA) - 9