Russell McKinnon, FINA Media Committee

Shanghai, China, June 11.— United States of America clinched its 11th FINA Women’s World League Super Final crown with a 12-6 victory over Canada at the Match Natatorium here today.

It was USA’s fourth consecutive crown and came via positive quarters against a dogged Canadian defence that included the goalkeeper of the tournament, Jessica Gaudreault.

Makenzie Fischer (USA), so prominent all week and a double scorer in the final, was named Most Valuable Player.

In the bronze-medal encounter, Russia came home a 9-7 victor over Hungary, thanks to three goals from Elvina Karimova. Barbara Bujke did her best for Hungary with four goals.

In the play-off for fifth place, Netherlands swamped China 14-4 with Catharine van  der Sloot finishing the tournament as the highest goal-scorer on 15 strikes.

Australia claimed seventh place with skipper Rowie Webster scoring five goals to beat Japan 10-8.

 

Final placings:

1. United States of America

2. Canada

3. Russia

4. Hungary

5. Netherlands

6. China

7. Australia

8. Japan

 

Awards:

Most Valuable Player: Makenzie Fischer (USA) with TWPC Member Lolo Ibern (ESP).

Best Goalkeeper: Jessica Gaudreault (CAN) with TWPC Member Takeshi Innoue (USA).

Highest Goal-scorer: Catharine van der Sloot (NED) 15 goal, with FINA
Bureau Member Eugenio Martinez (CUB).

 

Media All Star Team:

1. Jessica Gaudreault (CAN)

2. Yumi Arima (JPN)

3. Makenzie Fischer (USA)

4. Elvina Karimova (RUS)

5. Hayley McKelvey (CAN)

6. Kiley Neushul (USA)

7. Catharine Van der Sloot (NED) 

 

Leading scorers:

Catharine Van der Sloot (NED) 15

Elvina Karimova (RUS) 14

Kiley Neushul (USA) 14

Dorottya Szilagyi (HUN) 12

Yumi Arima (JPN) 12

Rowena Webster (AUS) 12

Emma Wright (CAN) 11

Hayley McKelvey (CAN) 10

Olga Gorbunova (RUS) 10

Ekaterina Prokofyeva (RUS) 10

Anastasia Simanovich (RUS) 10

 

Match reports:

 

Match 21 14:30, Classification 7-8, JAPAN 8 AUSTRALIA 10

Quarters: 2-5, 3-2, 2-1, 1-2

Referees: Liang Zhang (CHN), Rajmund Fodor (HUN).

Penalties: Nil.

Extra Man: JPN: 2/6. AUS: 3/4.

Teams:

JAPAN: Miyuu Aoki, Yumi Arima (2), Yuri Kazama, Shino Magariyama, Chiaki Sakanoue, Minori Yamamoto (1), Akari Inaba (4), Yuki Niizawa, Kana Hosoya, Misaki Noro, Marina Tokumoto, Kotori Suzuki (1), Minani Shioya. Head Coach: Makiko Izuo.

AUSTRALIA: Lilian Hedges, Amy Ridge (1), Elle Armit (1), Bronte Halligan (2), Julia Barton, Alice Williams, Rowie Webster (5), Jessica Zimmerman, Kelly O’Leary, Chloe Barr, Morgan Baxter, Madeleine Steere (1), Lea Yanitsas. Head Coach: Sakis Kechagias.

Report:

The result was in doubt until the final minute with Japan having two opportunities in the last 90 seconds, which could have changed things. Japan worked hard all match and deserved to win as much as the revitalised Aussie Stingers, who won with a commanding 4-1 start. With skipper Rowie Webster on fire, Australia charged out to a 6-2 margin at the top of the second quarter. Japan struck back with three straight, including Akari Inaba’s third. Webster made sure of the two-goal lead at halftime. It became three at the start of the third, but Japan won the period 2-1 with Inaba hammering in a fourth. Australia made sure of a healthy margin with two goals, including Webster’s fifth for 10-7. Captain Yumi Arima, one of the stars of the week, scored the last to lift her week’s tally to 12, the same number as Webster. Both these players spearheaded their teams with gutsy determination from start to finish and both had the responsibility of captainship. Special mention has to be made of Japan’s superb one-on-one defence, repeatedly stealing balls and racing off on counter. Stingers goalkeeper, Olympian Lea Yanitsas, stopped a barrage of Japanese shots.

Flash quotes:

Sakis Kechagias (GRE) — Australia Head Coach

“It was a good game for us on both sides. Also, we remained in the game in the last quarter when Japan came back. It was good for us. We have other things to correct and work on. It is the beginning of a process (newly appointed coach) and we will try to get better.”

  Picture: Russell McKinnon

Match 22, 16:00, Classification 5-6, CHINA NETHERLANDS

Quarters: 0-4, 3-2, 0-4, 1-4

Referees: Amber Drury (USA), Adil Aimbetov (KAZ).

Penalties: CHN: 1/1.

Extra Man: CHN: 1/7. NED: 5/10.

Teams:

CHINA: Lin Peng, YaNan Bi, XiaoHan Mei (2), DunHan Xiong, GuanNan Niu, Ning Guo, YiWen Lu, Cong Zhang, ZiHan Zhao (2), SanFeng Nong, Xiao Chen, Jing Zhang, YuTing Xie. Head Coach: DaLi Gong.

NETHERLANDS: Laura Aarts, Miloushka (Yasmin) Smit (3), Dagmar Genee (1), Catharina van der Sloot (2), Amarens Genee (2), Nomi Stomphorst, Marloes Nijhuis, Brigit Mulder (2), Maud Megens (3), Laura van der Graaf (1), Lieke Klaassen (1), Kitty-Lynn Joustra, Debby Willemsz. Head Coach: Arno Havenga.

Report:

Netherlands made sure of victory by scoring the first four goals and then maintained the momentum until the end. China struggled at the start and it wasn’t until nearly four minutes into the second quarter that centre forward XiaoHan Mei opened China’s account. She scored the second with a lob for 6-2 and captain ZiHan Zhao converted a penalty to narrow the match to three at halftime. Netherlands owned the third period with Maud Megens scoring her third to lift her tournament tally to nine. Captain Yasmin Smit scored twice from the top during a period where nothing China did up front converted into action on the scoresheet. The final quarter was also a triumph for Netherlands with Brigit Mulder scoring twice and Lieke Klaassen drilling one from the top for 13-3. Zhao hit back with a long shot of her own, but the match was well and truly won by the Dutch. Smit scored her third goal. Catharine van der Sloot’s two goals were good enough to lift her to 15 goals for the week. Zhao claimed nine goals as China’s best scorer.

Flash quotes:

Arno Havenga (NED) — Head Coach

“I’m happy to finish the tournament with this result. The speed was good. Now we have two weeks to prepare for Budapest (FINA World Championships). This will give us good info.”

  Picture: Russell McKinnon

 

Match 23, 17:40, Classification 3-4, RUSSIA 9 HUNGARY 7

Quarters: 3-1, 1-2, 2-0, 3-4

Referees: Diana Dutilh (NED), Marcela Mauss (GER).

Penalties: RUS: 1/1.

Extra Man: RUS: 1/4. HUN: 3/6.

Teams:

RUSSIA: Anastasia Verkhoglyadova, Daria Gerzanich, Ekaterina Prokofyeva (1), Elvina Karimova (3), Maria Borisova (2), Olga Gorbunova, Alena Serzhantova, Anastasia Simanovich (1), Anna Timofeeva, Tatiana Tolkunova, Veronika Vakhitova, Daria Ryzhkova (2), Anna Karnaukh. Head Coach: Aleksandr Gaydukov.

HUNGARY: Edina Gangl, Dora Czigany, Dora Antal (1), Dorottya Szilagyi, Gabriella Szucs, Orsolya Takacs, Anna Illes (1), Rita Keszthelyi, Ildiko Toth, Barbara Bujka (4), Dora Csabai (1), Noemi Somhegyi, Orsolya Kaso. Head Coach: Attila Biro.

Report:

Russia triumphed with the bronze medal thanks to better defence, let alone sharper scoring. Hungary might have opened the scoring through powerhouse centre forward Barbara Bujke, but it was Russia who held sway by a comfortable 3-1 after just over three minutes of action, carrying it through to the quarter-time break. Hungarian head coach Attila Biro was upset when the Chinese official blew the horn for a timeout when he did not request. The referees went through with the 60 seconds and his time was wasted at 2:05. Dora Antal, amid some confusion, grabbed one back and Bujke netted a second to level at 5:34 in the second quarter. Elvina Karimova scored her 12th goal of the week from deep left with a deft lob. This came after Russia called a timeout and had two quick shots that were thwarted by the frantic defence. Borisova, on a drive, and Karimova from the top on a three-on-two counter, were the sole scorers of the third quarter, leaving Hungary three adrift. The bronze medal slipped further away from Hungary when Daria Ryzhkova fired in a cross-cage shot from the left-hand-catch position to open the final quarter. Dora Csabai scored from the left post to pull one back for Hungary and then Karimova scored her 14th of the week with a wonderful lob from wide left for 8-4. Bujke netted her third from deep right on extra-man attack and repeated the dose two minutes later for her fourth of the match and 13th of the week. These were scored either side of an Ekaterina Prokofyeva break where she lobbed into the crossbar. Borisova slammed one in from the top at 2:02 and Anna Illes sent one in from the top at 1:35 for 9-7. Hungary called a timeout at 1:05, but no further goals transpired. Russia had the bronze.

Flash quotes:

Andrei Belofastov (RUS) — Assistant Coach

“It was a good result. We played really good defence. We did some small mistakes at the beginning but the n we played better. We won much better than yesterday. We can’t understand why we lost, losing the final quarter 4-0. I was so happy we did it. We have a very young team with five young players so we must be happy.”

Attila Biro (HUN) — Head Coach

“We have done so much in the last 14 days and we are drained mentally and physically. It is too much.”


 

Picture: Russell McKinnon

Match 24. 19:00, Classification 1-2, CANADA 6 UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 12

Quarters: 1-2, 3-4, 2-3, 0-3

Referees: Svetlana Dreval (RUS), Filippo Gomez (ITA).

Penalties: Nil.

Extra Man: CAN: 3/6. USA: 3/6.

Teams:

CANADA: Jessica Gaudreault, Krystina Alogbo, Axelle Crevier, Emma Wright (2), Monika Eggens (1), Kyra Christmas, Joelle Bekhazi, Elyse Lemay, Hayley McKelvey (2), Christine Robinson, Gurpreet Sohi, Shae Fournier (1), Claire Wright. Head Coach: Haris Pavlidis.

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Gabby Stone, Maddie Musselman (2), Melissa Seidemann (1), Rachel Fattal, Mary Brooks, Maggie Steffens (1), Jordan Raney (2), Kiley Neushul (2), Aria Fischer, Jamie Neushul (2), Makenzie Fischer (2), Alys Williams, Mia Rycraw. Head Coach: Adam Krikorian.

Report:

USA did what it does best and that’s win gold-medal finals. USA’s usual style is to go out from the front. Two goals was a good start. By halftime it was 6-4 with Canada failing to read the script and roll over. Canada desperately wanted to ruin USA’s day and did fine with some excellent attacks and solid defence. USA is so much sharper on attack than any other teams with every player looking for the slight edge and the more free person to slip the ball to. It worked well as Maddie Musselman, so good all week and unlucky not to make the Media All Star Team, taking USA to 7-4 at the start of the third quarter. Monika Eggens pulled one back on extra and when 9-5 down, Hayley McKelvey, who did make the All Star team, drilled one from the top for 9-6. It proved Canada’s last hit as USA put away three more, including one from each of the Neushul sisters, Jamie and Kiley. The last three minutes saw no extra goal and USA had done the deed, setting itself up for the FINA World Championships in Budapest next month.

Flash quotes:

Adam Krikorian (USA) — Head Coach

“The first year is always difficult with new, young players — only four or five — but it is a big difference backing up with speed. It was a great start and I was happy with the way we played this week. I must give praise to the Canadian team as it is much improved and it was great today as they were a good challenge.”

Haris  Pavlidis (GRE) — Canada Head Coach

“Against the American press it was very difficult to play. We were rested and it helped, but it was hard in the last two quarters. They still played very hard and we couldn’t put the ball into the centre and there were contras. The score was not what we expected. Next year we will be much better but it is important that we are back.”

 

Picture: Russell McKinnon