Russell McKinnon, FINA Media Committee

Host New Zealand opened with a 21-5 victory over South Africa on the first day of the FINA World Women’s Youth Water Polo Championships at the Sir Owen G Glenn National Aquatic Centre in Auckland today.

In the other Group A match, Russia downed Spain 18-6.
In the three-nation Group B, Netherlands dropped a four-goal lead to just beat Italy 16-15.
In Group C, United States of America was rampant against Japan, winning 26-10 and Greece looked equally sharp with a 15-10 margin over China.
In Group D, Hungary blunted the Mexico attack for a handsome 29-8 victory and Canada came back from a goalless first quarter to beat Germany 12-8.

The tournament, like the youth boys’ event some months ago, is being played with just 11 of the 13-player rosters, with 25 seconds possession time and 15 seconds exclusion periods. This makes for a much faster style of game with more shots.

Group standings:
Group A: RUS: 2, NZL 2, ESP 0, RSA 0,
Group B: NED 2, ITA 0.
Group C: USA 2, GRE 2, CHN 0, JPN 0.
Group D: HUN 2, CAN 2, GER 0, MEX 0.

Match reports:

Match 2, 9.30am, Group A, SPAIN 6 RUSSIA 18
Quarters: 2-6, 1-3, 1-2, 2-7
Referees: Raffaele Colombo (ITA), Nicola Johnson (AUS).
Extra Man: ESP: 2/9. RUS: 2/4.
Penalties: RUS: 1/1.
Teams:
SPAIN: Sandra Domene, Paula Crespi (2), Paula Leiton, Mireia Guiral (3), Alejandra Aznar (1), Blanca Goset, Elia Montoya, Carmen Barringo, Alba Bonamusa, Sofia Diaz, Paula Rutgers. Head Coach: Jordi Valls.
RUSSIA: Evgenia Golovina, Daria Gerzanic (3), Elizavita Zaplatina (5), Maria Bersneva (2), Bella Khamzaeva (6), Polina Popova, Alena Serzhantova (1), Polina Kempf, Veronika Vakhitova, Tatiana Tolkunova (1), Svetlana Stephakhina. Head Coach: Sergey Markoch.
Report:
Russia lodged its intention to play for medals in seven days with an excellent, well-drilled and fast-breaking victory over Spain. Russia had the skills, the speed, the tactics and the determination to begin in the manner it wishes to continue toward a gold medal. Defensively, Russia was near perfect, smothering many a Spanish attack while at the other end the Russian infiltration meant that several players could have scored with ease. Spain will need to plug the holes if it wishes to bounce back and be a force that its senior team was in Barcelona in 2013. The initial onslaught exposed so much in Spain’s play with three goals coming at top speed before Spain called a timeout and tried to arrest the juggernaut. It was all to no effect, other than the fact that Spain now knows the high level that Russia has brought to Auckland and what it must imitate if it wishes to progress into the second half of the week. Bella Khamzaeva (RUS) scored six goals, three in the opening quarter and three in the fourth.

Picture: Russell McKinnon

Match 3, 10.50am, Group B, ITALY 15 NETHERLANDS 16
Quarters: 4-4, 1-3, 4-3, 6-6
Referees: Amber Drury (USA), Ursula Wengenroth (SUI).
Extra Man: ITA: 3/7. NED: 3/6.
Penalties: ITA: 1/1. NED: 2/2.
Teams:
ITALY: Caterina Banchelli, Agnese Cocchiere (6), Claudia Presta, Giulia Cuzzupe (1), Chiara Foresta (2), Giulia Millo (1), Domitilla Picozzi (5), Elisa Quattrini, Nicole Zanetta, Elena Altamura, Sara Ingannamorte. Head Coach: Paolo Cizza.
NETHERLANDS: Sarah Buis, Rozanne Voorvelt, Brigitte Sleeking (2), Fluerien Bosveld (2), Maartje Keuning (3), Anouk Bergsma, Brigit Mulder (3), Saranne Dukel (4), Kitty-Lynn Joustra (1), Lieke Rogge (1), Gezina Scholte. Head Coach: Gerrit-Jan Schothans.
Report:
The speedier style of game made for a riveting match as both teams were intent on attacking at pace and probably produced their best in the final quarter when you would have expected them to be exhausted. Netherlands prevailed and probably deserved the win as it was 9-5 ahead early in the third period. It was not all Netherlands as Italy led 4-2 with a minute left of the first quarter only to see Netherlands equalise by the first break. Italy was resilient and rallied to equalise at 10-10 at 5:34 in the fourth. The flood of goals in the final quarter was the result of quality, thinking and mostly desperation on Italy’s side of the pool. Agnese Cocchiere proved her worth at centre forward with four goals in the final quarter as Italy let the margin slip out to three goals before narrowing the margin to one just five seconds from time, through Cocchiere — her sixth. It must be mentioned that Saranne Dukel kept her team in front with three of her four goals in that exciting final quarter. Netherlands proved a powerful defensive force in the second and third periods, but Italy was not to be denied, proving that it could still be a threat later in the week.

Picture: Russell McKinnon

Match 5, 12.10pm, Group C, USA 26 JAPAN 10
Quarters: 6-2, 6-1, 5-3, 9-4
Referees: Marcela Mauss (GER), Martin Murray (CAN).
Extra Man: USA: 5/7. JPN: 0/4.
Penalties: USA: 1/2.
Teams:
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Heidi Ritner, Alexis Liebowitz (5), Jewel Roemer (2), Abrielle Hill, Paige Hauschild (6), Bayley Weber (3), Madeline Johnston (1), Sarah Klass (1), Aria Fischer (5), Ryann Neushul (3), Thea Walsh. Head Coach: Marcelo Leonardi.
JAPAN: Riho Sakamoto, Akari Inaba (3), Ann Innoue (1), Asuka Watada, Chiaki Terakata (2), Haruna Nonomura (1), Maiko Hashida (2), Ayano Yamamoto, Yuka Matsuura, Kaho Iwano (1), Yuka Kawatashiro. Head Coach: Hideo Katoh.
Report:
Much like Russia did in the first match of the tournament, USA showed what is has to offer with a clinical display over Japan. USA had the counter-attack, the bulk, strength and dynamism that nullified anything Japan could do. This meant Japan had to try long shots, but it must be said, when the Japanese moved in close, opportunities arose and shots slipped through. In fact, Japan won the third period 5-4, a fantastic achievement after a poor start. Maybe it is the new rules that give more opportunities to the weaker team as well? Japan hit double figures with a penalty goal at 1:32, but it made for a long match with so many stoppages. USA made the most of the counters and even took many outside shots. It gave USA a chance to work the bench in preparation for the tougher matches ahead.

Picture: Russell McKinnon

Match 6, 4.00pm, Group C, GREECE 15 CHINA 10
Quarters: 3-2, 4-3, 5-3, 3-2
Referees: Gabriella Varkonyi (HUN), Ivanka Rakovic-Krstonosic (SRB)
Extra Man: GRE: 6/7. CHN: 3/6.
Penalties: GRE: 1/1. CHN: 2/2.
Teams:
GREECE: Ioanna Stamatopoulou, Elisavet Protopapas (3), Eleni Elliniadi (2), Nikoleta Eleftheriadou (3), Vasiliki Plevritou (5), Pinelopi Kollia, Anthia Papanastasiou, Maria Patra (1), Ifigeneia Mavrota (1), Maria Myriokefalitaki, Marina Kotsioni. Head Coach: Stefanos Leandros.
CHINA: Jingying Wu, Yanan Bi (3), Sanfeng Nong (1), Dunhan Xiong, Shiyun Wang (1), Wen Su (1), Rui Xu (1), Qingwei Wang (2), Xinyan Meng (1), Jiawen Li, Yuting Xie. Head Coach: Dali Gong.
Report:
Greece had the better of China in a frenzy of action and goals. Greece had the sharper skills and made the connections with long passes while having the ability to shoot quickly off the hand. Long, low skip shots also played havoc with the Chinese defence, beating goalkeeper Jingying Wu on too regular a basis. China had plenty of chances, but struggled to get hand on ball with passes and found the defensive Greek line tough to crack, especially goalkeeper Ioanna Stamatopoulou. The ability to gain inside water and strategic seven-metre shots on the free throw also reaped rewards. China reached double figures in the final minute, small reward for a lot of effort. Greece’s superior extra-man statistic proved most valuable, although China’s five conversions of eight major fouls are also above average.

Picture: Russell McKinnon

Match 7, 5.20pm, Group D, HUNGARY 29 MEXICO 8
Quarters: 7-2, 7-2, 8-1, 7-3
Referees: Michael Brooks (NZL), Ziliang Chen (CHN).
Extra Man: HUN: 4/6. MEX: 5/6
Penalties: Nil
Teams:
HUNGARY: Gina Lekrinski, Fanni Muzsnay (5), Vanda Valyi (5), Orsolja Hertzka (8), Henriett Adam (2), Hlengiwe Mchunu (4), Laura Koncz (2), Csenge Toth (2), Eszter Kiss, Anna Mucsi (1), Alda Magyari. Head Coach: Gabor Godova.
MEXICO: Lizli Patino, Diana Rojas (1), Lucia Carballo (3), Sofia Carrillo (1), Maria Mendez (1), Mariana Vargas, Alejandia Bareno (1), Beatrice Fragoso, Monique Anderson, Paulina Espadas, Julia Lara. Head Coach: Fausto Yazquez.
Report:
Hungary, who has gone bronze, silver, silver, fourth in the previous four editions of this event, was too good for Mexico, making its first appearance. In fact, only one Mexican junior women’s team has competed at World Championships and that was the 20 and under team of 2011, finishing 15th. Orsolya Hertzka scored four of her eight goals in the second quarter as Hungary went 14-4 ahead at halftime. While it may have seemed one-way traffic, the fact remains Mexico still managed to score eight goals. Three of those came in the final quarter as it gained more confidence and proved it could play alongside the elite of the competition. Lucia Garballo netted three in different quarters. Amazing statistics were recorded in the extra-man count with Mexico the better with five goals from six attempts — a spectacular number and rarely achieved internationally.

Picture: Russell McKinnon

Match 8, 6.40pm, Group D, CANADA 12 GERMANY 8
Quarters: 0-1, 2-2, 3-2, 7-3
Referees: Svetlana Dreval (RUS), Andreas Moiralis (GRE).
Extra Man: CAN: 5/8. GER: 1/7.
Penalties: CAN: 1/1.
Teams:
CANADA: Ana Maria Vulpisi, Brianna Vtas, Nina Ceklic, Yasmine Rachid, Joelle Nacovski, Emily Aikema, Adrien Van Dyke, Verica Bakoc, Viktoria Orlova, Chayma Hlanadif, Katherine Campbell. Head Coach: Andrew Robinson.
GERMANY: Liese Hurrelmann, Lynn Krukenberg, Meike Weber, Lara Kostruba, Ira Deike, Sophia Eggert, Nicole Vunder, Aylin Fry, Jamie Verebelyi, Nadine Hartwig, Leonie Prinz. Head Coach: Milos Sekulic.
Report:
Canada proved to be an out-of-control juggernaut, moving through the gears slowly and then going wild attracting attention of the traffic cops. Is this instance it was the spectators as Canada could not score in the first, levelled the second, won the third and smashed Germany in the fourth. The third period had Canada drawing level twice and Germany having to make it 5-5 by three-quarter time. Canada went 7-5 ahead in the fourth, but Germany was doggedly attacking and pulled the match back to 8-7. Canada slipped out to 10-7 by 2:04 and led 10-8 at 12:49. The shorter attacking time means more goals but for Germany they dried up as Canada threw in the final two in the last 80 seconds for what seemed a comfortable victory. From midway through the second quarter, Canada won 10-5.

Picture: Russell McKinnon

Match 1, 8.20pm, Group A, NEW ZEALAND 21 SOUTH AFRICA 5
Quarters: 4-0, 4-2, 7-2, 6-1
Referees: Henk Smit (NED), Daniel Daners (URU).
Extra Man: NZL: 0/3. RSA: 2/5.
Penalties: RSA: 1/1
Teams:
NEW ZEALAND: Antonia Young, Emily Sanderson, Malia Josephson (2), Jessica Marsden (1), Nadia Pavlovich (4), Emmerson Houghton (3), Mikayla Eruera, Emily Nicholson (2), Bernadette Doyle (4), Liana Dance (5), Alisha Winstanley. Head Coach: Angela Winstanley-Smith.
SOUTH AFRICA: Daniela Passon, Lace Hallendorff, (3) Ruth Weber, Nina Bohata, Ayanda Maphumalo, Hanna Muller, Chloe Meecham, Lauren Harper, Zandre Smit, Cassandra Day, Emma Herbet. Head Coach: Brad Rowe.
Report:
With a near sell-out crowd urging the home team on, New Zealand played strongly from the start and strung together who series of goals. New Zealand showed patience on attack, made accurate passes and with two capable centre forwards, managed to establish a strong fulcrum from which to attack. South Africa did not press as hard as it could and took some time to work combinations up front. Opportunities did come for South Africa and strong chances were rewarded. New Zealand gained many intercepts and swam away on counter. Not all attempts were clean with some wayward shots and some stout defence from South African goalkeeper Daniela Passoni. The spectators and the New Zealand players took heart from an excellent opening match. Two years ago in Madrid, Spain, South Africa finished one position ahead of New Zealand.

 

Picture: Russell McKinnon