Shanghai, China, June 8.— Reigning champion United States of America maintained composure and reputation with a last-gasp 13-12 victory over a stunned Russia to win the group on the third day of the FINA Women’s World League Super Final at the Match Natatorium here today.
Down by a goal with less than 40 seconds remaining, USA equalised through Olympic champion Makenzie Fischer and amid a Russian muddle in the dying seconds she scored the winner after the buzzer for the incredible victory.
Netherlands gained its first win, cruising home 19-8 over Japan for third position in Group A.
The winner of Group B was decided in the last match of the night when Canada had a great second half to defeat China 10-5 to finish one point ahead of Hungary.
Earlier in the day, Hungary dispensed with Australia 8-5.
Group A: USA 9, Russia 5, Netherlands 4, Japan 0.
Group B: Canada 8, Hungary 7, China 3, Australia 0.
June 9 schedule:
Match 14. 15:00, NED v HUN
Match 15. 16:20, USA v AUS
Match 16. 17:40, JPN v CAN
Match 13. 19:00,RUS v CHN
Match 9. 15:00, Group B, HUNGARY 8 AUSTRALIA 3
Quarters: 3-1, 3-0, 0-2, 2-0
Referees: Martina Kunikova (SVK), Tadao Tahara (JPN).
Extra Man: HUN: 2/9. AUS: 0/5.
HUNGARY: Edina Gangl, Dora Czigany, Dora Antal, Dorottya Szilagyi (1), Gabriella Szucs (2), Orsolya Takacs, Anna Illes, Rita Keszthelyi (1), Ildiko Toth (2), Barbara Bujka (2), Dora Csabai, Noemi Somhegyi, Orsolya Kaso. Head Coach: Attila Biro.
AUSTRALIA: Lilian Hedges, Amy Ridge, Elle Armit (1), Bronte Halligan (1), Julia Barton, Alice Williams, Rowie Webster, Jessica Zimmerman (1), Kelly O’Leary, Chloe Barr, Morgan Baxter, Madeleine Steere, Lea Yanitsas. Head Coach: Sakis Kechagias.
It was almost a match of two halves, as the cliché goes — Hungary dominant in the first half, as expected, and Australia holding sway for much of the second. The youthful Aussie Stingers were not expected seriously to challenge a team of Hungary’s experience and, especially after last night’s power display against China by the Hungarians. Australia lacks the ability to set the two metres while the likes of Orsolya Takacs has any attacker smothered. This means shots from further out were less effective and without much punch. With just two Olympians, Australia then trailed 6-1 with less than two minutes remaining in the first half. The second half should have been an amble for the Hungarians, who last night played with vigour in front of the President of the Hungarian Parliament, Laszlo Kover. Today, it was not be the barrage of yesterday. Australia defended well and in 33 seconds snapped in two goals late in the third. Where was Hungary? Biding its time, possibly. With leading players in the pool, Hungary struggled, goalless, for just under 12 minutes until veteran Barbara Bujke converted extra at 5:42 in the fourth. Rita Keszthelyi, such a magnificent worker, finally netted her first at 3:33 from three metres for what was the final score. Hungarian head coach Attila Biro said his players were almost perfect last night, but today he was not as happy, stating “the girls knew they had the game won in the first half and did not play so well in the third. However, they played better in the last”. Australian head coach Sakis Kechagias (GRE) saw a huge improvement in his team, which features five players in their first week of international competition. Neither side was effective on extra-man advantage.
Picture: Russell McKinnon
Match 10, 16:20, Group A, RUSSIA 12 UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 13
Quarters: 3-4, 5-6, 2-1, 2-2
Referees: Nicola Johnson (AUS), Filippo Gomez (ITA).
Penalties: RUS: 1/1.
Extra Man: RUS: 2/7. USA: 5/14.
RUSSIA: Anastasia Verkhoglyadova, Daria Gerzanich (2), Ekaterina Prokofyeva, Elvina Karimova (2), Maria Borisova (1), Olga Gorbunova (3), Alena Serzhantova, Anastasia Simanovich (1), Anna Timofeeva (1), Tatiana Tolkunova (1), Veronika Vakhitova, Daria Ryzhkova (1), Anna Karnaukh. Head Coach: Aleksandr Gaydukov.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Gabby Stone, Maddie Musselman (1), Melissa Seidemann, Rachel Fattal (2), Mary Brooks, Maggie Steffens, Jordan Raney (1), Kiley Neushul (3), Aria Fischer (1), Jamie Neushul (1), Makenzie Fischer (3), Alys Williams (1), Mia Rycraw. Head Coach: Adam Krikorian.
USA secured victory at the death knock, the winning goal skimming through the air as the final buzzer sounded. It was Makenzie Fischer who stood up and scored in an amazing finish to an amazing match. So much happened in the final seconds, but it was a match of many facets. It was Makenzie Fischer who broke the deadlock in the first quarter for the lead. It was Rachel Fattal and Kiley Neushul who broke the deadlock in the second quarter where an incredible 11 goals were scored. It was Kiley Neushul again in the third who clinched a one-goal advantage with two seconds remaining. And then came the tumultuous final period when Russia exploded — coming back from a three-goal deficit to level at 8-8 in the third and then again to level at 10 in the third. Russia was rampant, fouling all over the pool in an effort to upset the North Americans. While the foul count mounted (ultimately 14-7), Russia scored twice midway in the fourth to go ahead for the first time at 4:09, Anna Timofeeva screaming in a centre-forward backhand. Kiley Neushul had a chance to equalise at 2:25, but decided to pass off. Maria Borisova lobbed into the bottom right post, which could have been the kiss of death for USA. Next attack, Russia’s Timofeeva failed to pass to Borisova, who could have possibly drawn a penalty foul. USA took a timeout at 0:52 and 15 seconds later, Makenzie Fischer scored from a 5m shot for 12-12. Russia went upfield and finally Russian head coach Aleksandr Gaydukov called a timeout with just three seconds of possession left. He talked for the full 60 seconds and it appeared the players did not know what to do with those three seconds. There was one pass and the ball was turned over in the middle of the pool, not even a tactical dump. USA rifled the ball deep left and Olga Gorbunova buried her attacker and was ejected. The USA attacker fumbled the ball, fed off to Fischer and she had the foresight and will to shoot, earning a fantastic match and group A victory.
Picture: Russell McKinnon
Match 11, 17:40, Group B, JAPAN 8 NETHERLANDS 19
Quarters: 3-5, 0-7, 3-3, 2-4
Referees: Marie-Claude Deslieres (CAN), Liang Zhang (CHN).
Penalties: JPN: 1/1. NED: 2/2.
Extra Man: JPN: NED:
JAPAN: Miyuu Aoki, Yumi Arima (4), Yuri Kazama, Shino Magariyama (1), Chiaki Satanoue, Minori Yamamoto, Akari Inaba, Yuki Niizawa, Kana Hosoya (1), Misaki Noro (1), Marina Tokumoto, Kotori Suzuki (1), Minani Shioya. Head Coach: Makiko Izuo.
NETHERLANDS: Laura Aarts, Miloushka Smit, Genee Dagmar, Catharina van der Sloot (5), Genee Amarens (1), Nomi Stomphorst (3), Marloes Nijhuis (3), Brigit Mulder, Maud Megens (3), Laura van der Graaf (1), Lieke Klaassen (2), Kitty-Lynn Joustra (1), Debby Willemsz. Head Coach: Arno Havenga.
Netherlands did enough for its first win and third place in the group. It would have given the team plenty of positional play and combinations for the sudden-death matches ahead. The first quarter was tight at 3-3 with a minute left, but it was the second quarter that had Japan reeling. Japan had to wait 10 and a half minutes between goals and it was Yumi Arima who netted her third for 12-4 to break the drought. The Dutch stretched the margin to 15-6 by the final break and made sure of victory with plenty of effort and success in the final period. Japan played well in some aspects of the game, but size, or lack of it, proved a factor against the taller, stronger Dutch. Japan scored twice in the last two minutes and Arima gained her fourth, a grand feat against such a strong team. Catharine van der Sloot helped herself to five goals for the Dutch. Japan and Australia both finished bottom of their groups with no points.
Picture: Russell McKinnon
Match 12. 19:00, Group A, CANADA 10 CHINA 7
Quarters: 1-0, 4-4, 1-1, 4-2
Referees: Svetlana Dreval (RUS), Amber Drury (USA).
Penalties: CAN: 1/1.
Extra Man: CAN: 4/9. CHN: 1/1.
CANADA: Jessica Gaudreault, Krystina Alogbo, Axelle Crevier, Emma Wright (3), Monika Eggens (2), Kyra Christmas (1), Joelle Bekhazi (2), Elyse Lemay, Hayley McKelvey (1), Christine Robinson, Gurpreet Sohi, Shae Fournier (1), Claire Wright. Head Coach: Haris Pavlidis.
CHINA: Lin Peng, YaNan Bi, XiaoHan Mei, DunHan Xiong, GuanNan Niu (2), Ning Guo, YiWen Lu, Cong Zhang (2), ZiHan Zhao (1), SanFeng Nong, Xiao Chen (1), Jing Zhang (1), YuTing Xie. Head Coach: DaLi Gong.
Canada clinched Group B with a withering final quarter against a determined China. The opening half was close with tight defence all round in the first quarter and a seesaw second eight minutes. Canada ripped in three goals to go 4-0 up and the goals never looked like stopping. However, China decided to get into the match and four straight goals from the six-metre zone to four different players had the match level at 0:31. China slipped up and gave a penalty foul that Emma Wright converted for her second goal and the halftime lead at 5-4. Cong Zhang responded for 5-5. What followed was a brilliant display of defence with power shots failing to find the target until nearly four minutes later when Emma Wright converted extra-man advantage at 0:58. Joelle Bekhazi lobbed on the opening attack of the fourth period and one of the new-look members of the Canadian roster, Hayley McKelvey, opened her tournament account with a clean goal from three metres at 6:50 for what proved to be the breathing space for imminent victory — 8-5. GuanNan Niu scored her second from deep left with still time for redemption. However, two attacks reaped nothing and Monika Eggens scored on counter for 9-6 at 2:46. Goals were traded in the last minute, but Canada had won the group by one point from Hungary and China had to settle for third.
Picture: Russell McKinnon