Russell McKinnon, FINA Media Committee

 Draws were the nature of the second day of the FINA World Women’s Youth Water Polo Championships at the Sir Owen Glenn National Aquatic Centre in Auckland.

Three matches could not find a winner as the competition heads to the third and final group stage on Wednesday, meaning it will come down to the wire for many teams hoping to be in contention for medals.
In Group A, Russia was the farthest from a draw with a 33-3 win over South Africa and Spain had the better of first-day winner New Zealand 15-3.
In Group B, Italy overcame Australia 10-7 with a 3-0 final quarter following a previously tight encounter.
In Group C, Japan and China fought out a 13-13 draw after Japan led 8-4 early in the third period. A second draw occurred in the morning session when USA clawed back from 6-3 and 8-5 down to level at 10-10 with less than three minutes remaining.
In Group D, Canada pulled off a Houdini act for an 11-11 draw with Hungary and Germany sent off Mexico 17-7.

Group standings:
Group A: RUS: 4, ESP 2, NZL 2, RSA 0.
Group B: NED 2, ITA 2, AUS 0.
Group C: USA 3, GRE 3, CHN 1, JPN 1.
Group D: HUN 3, CAN 3, GER 2, MEX 0.

Match reports:

Match 10, 9.30am, Group B, ITALY 10 AUSTRALIA 7
Quarters: 3-2, 1-2, 3-3, 3-0
Referees: Gabrielle Varkonyi (HUN), Andreas Moiralis (GRE).
Extra Man: ITA: 2/8. AUS: 3/12
Penalties: Nil.
Teams:
ITALY: Caterina Banchelli, Agnese Cocchiere (1), Claudia Presta, Isabella Riccioli, Chiara Foresta, Giulia Millo (1), Domitilla Picozzi (3), Elisa Quattrini, Giulia Cuzzupe (2), Elena Altamura (3), Sara Ingannamorte. Head Coach: Paolo Cizza.
AUSTRALIA: Gabriella Palm, Emma Jones (3), Kiara Holden (2), Matilda Kearns (1), Brooke Dickie, Alice Williams, Meghan Ridge, Danielle Morrissey (1), Savannah Henshaw, Sofie Pontre, Bridget Johnston. Head Coach: Predrag Mihailovic.
Report:
To say this was a match-up of two even sides would be an understatement. Despite an initial good start by Italy (2-0 and 3-1), Australia clawed back into the match and the closeness was emphasised by the number of times teams had to draw level — Italy at 5-5 and Australia on four occasions. It all changed when Italy had the better of the opening stages of the fourth period with three goals in 48 seconds — one off the hand from the top and two from game-winner Domitilla Picozzi, firstly on extra and secondly with a great turning goal at centre forward — for what proved to be an unbeatable 10-7 margin. Australia, playing its opening match in the three-team group, struggled at times with the quick possession times, especially on extra-man. Both teams had the skills with Italy holding the edge with sharper ball work, which was its first victory after losing narrowly to Netherlands on the opening day.

Picture: Russell McKinnon

Match 11, 10.50am, Group C, CHINA 13 JAPAN 13
Quarters: 1-3, 3-4, 6-4, 3-2
Referees: Nicola Johnson (AUS), Raffaele Colombo (ITA).
Extra Man: CHN: 0/1. JPN: 3/6.
Penalties: CHN: 2/2. JPN: 1/1.
Teams:
CHINA: Jingying Wu, Yanan Bi (3), Sanfeng Nong (2), Dunhan Xiong (4), Shiyun Wang, Wen Su, Rui Xu, Qingwei Wang (2), Xinyan Meng, Jiawen Li (2), Yuting Xie. Head Coach: Dali Gong.
JAPAN: Riho Sakamoto, Akari Inaba (4), Ann Innoue, Asuka Watada (2), Chiaki Terakata (2), Haruna Nonomura, Maiko Hashida (2), Ayano Yamamoto, Yuka Matsuura, Kaho Iwano (2), Yuka Kawatashiro (1). Head Coach: Hideo Katoh.
Report:
Wow! It was just amazing — two teams playing the new rules to great effect; playing at speed; playing with vision; playing with flair. Shots were coming at a great rate and Japan seemed to have the better of the match in the first half and into the third. China, spearheaded by centre forward Dunhan Xiong came back into the match in the second half to secure the draw. Japan led 8-4 soon after halftime, but China levelled at 10-10 and had to watch as the second Japanese goalkeeper, Yuka Kawatashiro, scored on the buzzer for the one-goal lead. China levelled three times in the fourth period with the final score coming at 1:17 from Xiong who netted her first three goals in the third period. Akari Inaba scored three of her four goals in the second quarter as Japan led 7-4. It was a thrilling match and probably validated the new rules that the FINA Technical Water Polo Committee is trying out in Auckland.

Picture: Russell McKinnon

Match 12, 12.10pm, Group C, USA 10 GREECE 10
Quarters: 2-3, 2-4, 3-1, 3-2
Referees: Svetlana Dreval (RUS), Henk Smit (NED).
Extra Man: USA: 3/7. GRE: 1/9.
Penalties: GRE: 1/1.
Teams:
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Heidi Ritner, Alexis Liebowitz (1), Jewel Roemer, Abrielle Hill, Paige Hauschild, Bayley Weber, Madeline Johnston (3), Sarah Klass (1), Aria Fischer (4), Ryann Neushul (1), Thea Walsh. Head Coach: Marcelo Leonardi.
GREECE: Ioanna Stamatopoulou, Elisavet Protopapas (3), Eleni Elliniadi, Nikoleta Eleftheriadou (2), Vasiliki Plevritou (1), Maria Eleni Seletopoulou, Dimitra Papanastasiou, Maria Patra (2), Ifigeneia Mavrota (1), Maria Myriokefalitaki (1), Marina Kotsioni. Head Coach: Stefanos Leandros.
Report:
A second consecutive draw occurred in what was an enthralling match, full of action and excitement. Greece held all the cards for most of the match, but the tenacity of the North Americans beamed through. Greece took the quarter advantage out to 6-3 and 7-4 by halftime. That became 8-5 before USA nailed two goals. Greece went two ahead early in the fourth, but two USA strikes had the match at 9-9 by 5:52. Greece converted a penalty at 5:06 and USA made it 10-10 just after an exclusion period at 2:54. There were plenty of chances in the final minutes to no avail. USA Olympian Aria Fischer scored in each quarter while Greece’s Elisavet Protopapas had three in the bag by halftime. Madeline Johnston (USA) scored three before being fouled out late in the match. Wednesday morning will be interesting with the group being decided in the first two matches.

Match 13, 4.00pm, Group D, GERMANY 17 MEXICO 7
Quarters: 4-0, 2-1, 7-6, 4-0
Referees: Daniel Daners (URU), Dasch Barber (RSA).
Extra Man: GER: 6/9. MEX: 4/10.
Penalties: MEX: 0/1.
Teams:
GERMANY: Liese Lotte Hurrelmann, Lynn Krukenberg, Meike Weber, Lara Kostruba, Ira Deike, Sophia Eggert, Franziska Dregger, Nicole Vunder, Jamie Verebelyi, Nadine Hartwig, Leonie Prinz. Head Coach: Milos Sekulic.
MEXICO: Lizli Patino, Diana Rojas, Lucia Carballo, Sofia Carrillo, Maria Mendez, Mariana Vargas, Alejandia Bareno, Beatrice Fragoso, Monique Anderson, Paulina Espadas, Julia Lara. Head Coach: Fausto Yazquez.
Report:
Germany gained its first win with a comfortable margin over a spirited Mexico. Germany might have dominated three quarters of the match, but it was strange to see a losing team do so well in the crucial third period. In fact, 13 goals were scored in those eight minutes and Germany had to work hard to edge Mexico who did not know the meaning of defeat. Courage comes in many forms and Mexico showed to a player what it has learned from such a short visit to the elite stage. Lucia Carballo claimed three of the goals. On the other side of the ledger, Nicole Vunder and Jamie Verebelyi netted twice each. The stern talking of Mexican coach Fausto Vazquez at halftime seemed to work wonders, gaining the first goal and then cruising to five more. Vazquez had the team on the bench seemingly hanging on every word he said. What a performance from the minnow. Germany will take heart from the victory going into Wednesday’s clash with Hungary.

Picture: Russell McKinnon

Match 14, 5.20pm, Group D, HUNGARY 11 CANADA 11
Quarters: 1-1, 3-3, 4-3, 3-4
Referees: Michael Brooks (NZL), Oriel Jaumandreau (ESP).
Extra Man: HUN: 0/6. CAN: 3/7.
Penalties: HUN: 1/1.
Teams:
HUNGARY: Gina Lekrinski, Reka Miklos (1), Vanda Valyi (2), Orsolja Hertska (6), Henriett Adam (1), Hlengiwe Mchunu, Kinga Mihaly, Csenge Toth (1), Eszter Kiss, Fanni Muzsnay Alda Magyari. Head Coach: Gabor Godova.
CANADA: Ana Maria Vulpisi, Tyanna Supreme (2), Nina Ceklic (1), Yasmine Rachid, Joelle Nacovsi (1), Emily Aikema (1), Brianna Vtas, Verica Bakoc (2), Keara Boan (1), Viktoria Orlova (2), Katherine Campbell. Head Coach: Andrew Robinson.
Report:
The third draw of the day was equally as pulsating. Three times Hungary held a two-goal advantage in the final quarter only to see it evaporate as Canada snuck back, finding vital gaps in the Hungarian defence. Canada had the opening goal and Hungary worked for the response and then tried to take charge, slipping out only for Canada to respond. Canada came back six times, none sweeter than Joelle Nacovzi’s strike just inside the last minute. The final quarter had fans screaming and coaches fuming. With Hungary holding a one-goal lead at the start Henriett Adam’s centre-forward scoop gave the first of the breaks. The next was 10-8 and the third 11-9 as Orsolja Hertska drove right and accepted the deep cross pass to score her sixth goal. Verica Bakoc returned the favour for Canada on counter at 2:12 and at 0:51 Nacovzi converted extra-man attack. Both teams took a timeout with Canada striking the bar and Hungary having its shot blocked. Hungary’s inability to convert extra man proved the difference.

Picture: Russell McKinnon

Match 15, 6.40pm, Group A, RUSSIA 33 SOUTH AFRICA 3
Quarters: 8-2, 9-0, 6-1, 10-0
Referees: Martin Murray (CAN), Ziliang Chen (CHN).
Extra Man: RUS: 5/7. RSA: 2/3.
Penalties: RSA: 0/1.
Teams:
RUSSIA: Evgenia Golovina, Daria Gerzanic (4), Elizavita Zaplatina (6), Maria Bersneva (6), Bella Khamzaeva (6), Polina Popova (2), Alena Serzhantova (6), Polina Kempf, Veronika Vakhitova, Anastasia Diachenko (3), Svetlana Stephakhina. Head Coach: Sergey Markoch.
SOUTH AFRICA: Daniela Passoni, Lace Hallendorff (2), Ruth Weber, Nina Bohata, Ayanda Maphumalo, Hanna Muller (1), Ashleigh Vaughn, Lauren Harper, Zandre Smit, Cassandra Day, Emma Herbet. Head Coach: Brad Rowe.
Report:
Russia did what it had to against South Africa, preparing tactics for the harder matches ahead. There was no need for Russia to hammer in goals against the fledgling Africans and just gained goals more by attrition than outright brute force. South Africa worked for three goals in the first half and late in the match Lace Hallendorff found herself on the wrong side of a referee’s red card for aggressive play (misconduct). South Africa used time and went upfield with intent, if not a lot of energy in the final stanzas. Four players scored six goals for Russia as the coach made sure they were spread around.

Picture: Russell McKinnon

Match 16, 8.20pm, Group A, NEW ZEALAND 3 SPAIN 15
Quarters: 0-3, 1-5, 0-3, 2-4
Referees: Ivanka Rakovic-Krstonosic (SRB), Ursula Wengenroth (SUI).
Extra Man: NZL: 0/8. ESP: 1/7.
Penalties: NZL: 1/1. ESP: 1/1.
Teams:
NEW ZEALAND: Antonia Young, Emmerson Houghton (1), Malia Josephson, Jessica Marsden, Nadia Pavlovich, Caitlin Parker-Allen, Morgan McDowall, Bernadette Doyle (1), Liana Dance (1), Alisha Winstanley. Head Coach: Davor Carevic.
SPAIN: Sandra Domene, Paula Crespi (3), Paula Leiton, Mireia Guiral (2), Alejandra Aznar (2), Laura Gomes (1), Elia Montoya (2), Carmen Barringo, Alba Bonamusa (2), Sofia Diaz (3), Paula Rutgers. Head Coach: Jordi Valls.
Report:
Spain, containing Olympian Paula Leiton, took a valuable stepping stone toward the second phase with its first win and virtual second place in the group. The match was built on speed, efficiency, power shooting, accurate outside shots and superb defence. There was nothing left on poolside as Spain showcased skills that will become even more evident later in the week. It took a 10m left-hand lob off the left post by Bernadette Doyle to cheer the home crowd at 3:16 in the second quarter. Chances were few and far between from there as New Zealand struggled with the Spanish defence and counter-attacking game. The host’s second goal came in the final quarter through penalty. Spain then converted from the penalty line for 12-2 and New Zealand scored from in front of goal by captain Liane Dance to lift local spirits. The fairytale resurgence ended as Spain sent in the last three goals for a 15-3 win.

 

Picture: Russell McKinnon