FINA World League
Women's Super Final
2011

World

Groups
Group A   Group B
USA USA*   AUS AUS (Australia)
Greece GRE (Greece)   RUS RUS (Russia)
CHN CHN (China)   CAN CAN (Canada)
Italy ITA (Italy)   Spain ESP (Spain)

* For US Roster click on any USA flag.
Then cick on player's name for bio.
Photos courtesy of Jeff Shewman & USAWP.

Schedule and Results

DAY 1 - 14 June 2011

Brand new stadium hosts Women’s Water Polo Super Final

By Russell McKinnon, FINA Press Commission Member  

TIANJIN, China (June 14).— The pecking order for women’s water polo at the FINA World Championships in Shanghai next month is this week taking a turn in Tianjin, east of Beijing.

The FINA Women’s Water Polo Super Final started at the fantastic, newly opened Tianjin Olympic Centre Swimming & Diving Pool today.

The complex, which can house up to 5000 spectators in this city of 13 million people, was opened just a month ago and is staging its first FINA event.

The city previously held the 2006 FINA Women’s Water Polo World Cup.

Making an impression on day one was host team China in what is the team’s hometown.

World No 3 China thrilled a large crowd with a last-gasp 9-8 victory over Greece to take the early lead in Group A. The champion of the past two years, United States of America, closed out Italy 9-6 after being 2-1 down in the first quarter.

In Group B, world No 2 Australia thrashed Spain 14-6 and Russia scored in the final 20 seconds for a 9-8 win over Canada.

But it was China’s night for the appreciative throng, despite being two down with six minutes remaining in the game.

Whenever Greece scored, especially in a 3-0 third period, the crowd was struck dumb. It wasn’t until the final period that captain SUN Yating produced a magical goal and backed up with another for 8-8 that the crowd responded with gusto.

Head coach Juan JANE GIRALT said his players were too excited, playing in front of a home crowd after a stellar year that saw the team rise to No 3 in the world last year.

“In the end we played very well. Our goalkeeper, in my opinion, is the best in the world but not tonight. We won, but…”

Greek coach Georgios MORFESIS was inconsolable after seeing his team’s two-goal margin over-run.

“We just had to score one goal. We had many opportunities in the last quarter. We played very well and we were good at woman down. It was the key to the recovery (from 1-4 to 8-6). We received a lot of exclusions and contra fouls. In the end I think the result, it’s right,” he said.

For the USA, it was a win en route to what is hoped to be a sixth World League crown. The current World Cup champion as well, the USA looked rusty in parts but managed to fend off a determined Italy.

USA head coach Adam KRIKORIAN said there were  “no easy wins”. “We haven’t seen the M Zone this year (that the Italians employed). There is a big emphasis here on defence for us. I am not concerned with our offence.

“We need to make smarter decisions with the ball. We are normally very good offensively in front of goal but our centre missed a few. We also gave up two centre goals (Theresa FRASSINETTI in the first quarter), which should not have happened.”

Italian head coach Fabio CONTI was not upset with the manner of the loss.

“I expected a game like this from the girls. This moment we work very strong. If we can score two or three goals on extra we can stay in the game. At this moment we are good and I hope we can stay in the game with preparation for the World Championships (in Shanghai next month). What I have asked of the girls they have done. I hope in coming games we can do something better.”

In Group B, the Aussie Stingers looked on top of their form, although Spain made simple mistakes and the Aussies pounced at every opportunity, led by their experienced Kate Gynther, who scored four goals.

Australian head coach Greg McFADDEN was pleased with his team’s effort. “We knew who their good players were and we nullified them. In defence the girls helped each other and we controlled all four quarters. There were no lapses at any stage.”

Aussie Stinger Jane MORAN said: “We were really looking for a good first quarter after what has happened in the past week (Kirishi Cup in Russia). We went 3-1 up and we kept control. There were no lapses in concentration.”

Spanish head coach Miki OCA said: “They killed us today. There’s nothing to say because they were much better. We didn’t expect that (margin). We can only get better as the tournament progresses.”

Russia came home in a slim manner, watching 17-year-old goalkeeper Anna KARNAUKH tip over a penalty shot in the dying stages and then Ekaterina IVANOVA sliding in the winner 20 seconds from time to devastate the Canadians.

Russian head coach Alexander KABANOV was happy to get away with a win considering the youthfulness of his team and the amount of time he used the youngsters in the game.

“They are very young and the No 1 (goalkeeper Anna KARNAUKH) is two months short of her 17th birthday. I liked the work by No 3 (Victoria KUROCHKINA), No 13 (Ekaterina ZELENTSOVA), No 5 (Alexandra ANTONOVA) and No 9 (Ekaterina TANKEEVA).”

Russia was without star player Ekaterina PROKOFYEVA, who was in the grandstands with a shoulder injury.

Pat OATEN, the longest-standing coach of the same national team here, said “the power play, a lucky bounce for Russia (when Natalia RYZHOVA-ALENICHEVA sent in the rebound for 8-7) just after we missed the penalty goal, really hurt”.

“We got off to a good start and then there was a lull in the second and third quarters. It is hard when we are rotating 15 players. It’s better it happens here now (instead of Shanghai next month).

In tomorrow’s action, Russia plays Spain, Greece takes on Italy, Australia fronts with Canada and the USA plays China in the match of the day.

#1 RUSRUS 9 vs. CAN CAN 8

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

Extra man: RUS 4/12; CAN 3/11

Pens: RUS 1/1; CAN 1/2

Referees: Filippo GOMEZ (ITA), John WALDOW (NZL)

Teams:

RUSSIA: Anna KARNAUKH, Nadezhda FEDOTOVA, Victoria KUROCHKINA, Sofia KONUKH (3), Alexandra ANTONOVA, Natalia RYZHOVA-ALENICHEVA (2), Ekaterina LISUNOVA (1), Evgenia SOBOLEVA (1), Ekaterina TANKEEVA, Olga BELYAEVA (1), Evgenia IVANOVA (1), Yulia GAUFLER, Ekaterina ZELENTSOVA. Head Coach: Alexander KABANOV.

CANADA: Rachel RIDDELL, Krystina ALOGBO (3), Katrina MONTON, Emily CSIKOS, Joelle BEKHAZI (1), Whitney GENOWAY, Rosanna TOMIUK, Dominique PERREAULT, Monika EGGEN (1), Hanna YELIZAROVA (1), Tara CAMPBELL, Marina RADU, Stephanie VALIN (2). Head Coach: Pat OATEN.

A penalty save at 3:15 in the final quarter and a goal 20 seconds from time gave Russia a deserved 9-8 victory over Canada in the tournament opener. Both teams

Canada began strongly with captain Krystina ALOGBO scoring off an excellent two-metre position but also turned the ball over twice. With both teams feeling their way and settling into a rhythm, the punch behind the shots was not there. However, late in the period, after Canada conceded a penalty goal to Russian captain Sofia KONUKH, two goals in 1:25 pushed Canada to a healthy lead at the break. Hanna YELIZAROVA scored from the deep left on extra and Marina RADU slashed in a penalty shot with 13 seconds left on the clock. Russia lifted in the second quarter with more aggression and was rewarded with a score on counter to Ekaterina LISUNOVA. This was followed by a goal on extra through Natalia RYZHOVA-ALENICHEVA, dragging down a ball on the far-post position to tie the game at 3-3 just 26 seconds from halftime. Russia shot away to a 5-3 lead early in the third quarter, KONUKH slamming in a long shot on extra when unguarded and SOBOLEVA with a rather soft goal on extra after Emily CSIKOS gained her third major foul. ALOGBO pulled one back on extra for 5-4 before KONUKH sent in another from outside just as the two excluded Canadian players were returning to the field of play. At 6-4 Russia was starting to take control of the game but Canada scored twice in a minute with Monika EGGENS scoring on extra and Stephanie VALIN netting at the end of a counter-attack from the top for 6-6 with 1:56 remaining. Olga BELYAEVA opened the fourth with a textbook centre-forward goal but Joelle BEKHAZI lobbed goalkeeper Anna KARNAUKH on a counter down the right for 7-7.  Canada then blew an excellent chance for the lead when VALIN’s penalty attempt was tipped over by KARNAUKH at a time when KONUKH went for her third major foul. On the next attack RYZHOVA-ALENICHEVA pounced on a loose rebound to score at 2:17 for 8-7. Canada used a second timeout when on extra but could not convert a goal. However, the ball kept coming up Canada’s way and ALOGBO converted the next extra-man play at 1:01. Russia went to a timeout when Tara CAMPBELL was called for holding and Ekaterina IVANOVA slid the ball into the bottom right past Rachel RIDDELL with only 20 seconds remaining. Canada twice had shots, via BEKHAZI with one going over the back line but the second easily saved for the Russian win.

RUS vs. CAN
RUS vs. CAN - credit Russell McKinnon

#2 Greece GRE 8 vs. CHNCHN 9

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

Referees: Marie-Claude DESLIERES (CAN), Jurgen HAUSCHE (GER)

Extra Man: GRE:  3/7. CHN: 5/12

Pens: GRE:  1/1. CHN: 0/0

Teams:

GREECE: Eleni KOUVDOU, Christina TSOUKALA, Antiopi MELIDONI, Ilektra Maria PSOUNI (1), Kyriaki LIOSI (1), Alkisti AVRAMIDOU, Alexandra ASIMAKI, Antigoni ROUMPESI (3), Angeliki GEROLYMOU, Triantafyllia MANOLIOUDAKI, Stavroula ANTONAKOU (3), Georgia LARA, Eleni GOULA. Head Coach: Georgios MORFESIS.

CHINA: YANG Jun, TENG Fei, LIU Ping (1), SUN Yujun, HE Jin (2), SUN Yating (3), SONG Donglun, CHEN Yuan, WANG Yi (1), MA Huanhuan (2), SUN Huizi, ZHANG Lei, WANG Ying. Head Coach: Juan JANE GIRALT.

China needed a last-quarter revival to dig its way out of a two-goal deficit to clinch a 9-8 victory in the final minute. Greece was proactive all game and even kept China scoreless in the third period. At 4-2 by the first break, and with a large, supportive crowd, China looked set to roll on home against Greece. However, it was not to continue that way. HE Jin opened and Ilektra PSOUNI responded but then MA Huanhuan, HE again and captain SUN Yating with a slippery right-hand backhand goal, had China 4-1 ahead. Antigoni ROUMPESI narrowed it to 4-2. Then Stavroula ANTONAKOU began a purple patch in which she scored three goals in the middle phases of the game. She and ROUMPESI scored in the second but MA and LIU Ping also scored for the hosts to maintain a two-goal margin. The Greek defence then became like wall with few gaps. ANTONAKOU lobbed on one attack and slammed on the next, while ROUMPESI scored on extra. Eleni KOUVDOU was having a sensational game in goal, smiting every Chinese threatening ball in the third quarter to keep them scoreless. A Chinese timeout failed to come up with the goods as the ball creased the bar. At 7-6 down, the Chinese were wounded but not dead and the calm approach of head coach Juan JANE GIRAULT at the break was in stark contrast to some previous years. The news was even worse at the start of the fourth with Greek captain Kyriaki LIOSI scoring on extra in the hushed silence for 8-6. Joy filled the massive hall as captain SUN earned an exclusion and eventually regained the ball to score a doughnut goal over the goalkeeper’s head from point-blank range. She scored two attacks later and China was even at 8-8. Both teams hit the woodwork and then Greece called timeout at 1:42. Greece put the ball into Georgia LARA at centre forward but it was stolen and on the next attack, WANG Yi wasted no time is smashing the ball into goal from about seven metres with 0:52 left on the clock. Greece gained a timeout chance at 0:35 on extra and the ball moved 10 times before LIOSI had the courage for the shot from deep left-hand catch. WANG Ying stopped the ball, China took a timeout at 0:13 and controlled the ball to win 9-8.

GRE vs. CHN
GRE vs. CHN - credit Russell McKinnon

#3 AUSAUS 14 vs. Spain ESP 6

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

Referees: Amber DRURY (USA), MENG An Long (CHN)

Extra Man: AUS 4/14; ESP 2/13

Pens: AUS 2/2; ESP 0/0

Teams:

AUSTRALIA: Alicia McCORMACK, Gemma BEADSWORTH (2), Sophie SMITH, Rebecca RIPPON, Jane MORAN, Bronwen KNOX (3), Rowena WEBSTER, Kate GYNTHER (4), Glencora RALPH (1), Holly LINCOLN-SMITH, Ashleigh SOUTHERN (3), Nicola ZAGAME (1), Keesja GOFERS. Head Coach: Greg McFADDEN.

SPAIN: Ava COPADO, Blanca GIL (2), Ana ESPAR, Roser TARRAGO, (1) Matilde ORTIZ, Jennifer PAREJA, Lorena MIRANDA (1), Pilar PENA, Andrea BLAS (1), Ona MESSEGUER (1), M. Carmen GARCIA, Marta BACH, Laura ESTER. Head Coach: Miguela OCA.

World No 2 Australia out-skilled and out-shot Spain, showing bursts of energy on counter and with slick passing to mesmerise the Spanish. Australia looked comfortable in the opening quarter and shut out Spain but needed nearly three minutes to open the scoring through veteran Kate GYNTHER, captaining Australia at this tournament. The policewoman’s goal was followed by Bronwen KNOX’s score after extra man and the youthful Ash SOUTHERN’s shot on extra. Blanca GIL converted extra to open Spain’s scoring two minutes into the second quarter. KNOX replied from the top on extra. On the next attack Spain’s Roser TARRAGO equalled the effort from the same position. Spain’s resurgence was then stopped in its tracks as the Aussie Stingers scored from the penalty line thanks to SOUTHERN, a neat cross-pass goal from the near post by Gemma BEADSWORTH and Knox draining the ball from deep left with a second left on the clock for a 7-2 halftime lead. Spain kept the rampaging Aussies scoreless for the first half of the third period, even scoring through Ona MESSEGUER, who was rolled on suspension in the third period. However, Australia shifted gear and Nicola ZAGAME scored through the traffic at two metres for 8-3, GYNTHER converted a penalty and Glencora RALPH brought up double figures. Spanish coach Miguel OCA called a timeout and GIL converted at a stage where the foul count was 15-10 against the Europeans. BEADSWORTH and GYNTHER scored either side of a MIRANDA goal early in the fourth, while SOUTHERN and GYNTHER scored again for 14-5. Andrea BLAS picked out the top left from well outside and soon after Spain called a timeout but the resulting play saw the ball intercepted. Australia used its second timeout on extra at 0:42 and the quick SOUTHERN shot was blocked. Spain then had an extra chance but Australia regained for the win.

AUS vs.ESP
AUS vs. ESP - credit Russell McKinnon

#4 USAUSA* 9 vs. Italy ITA 6

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

Referees: Irfan SADEKOV (RUS), Gabor VOGEL (HUN)

Extra man: USA: 2/5. ITA 3/10

Pens: USA:  0/0. ITA: 1/1

Teams:

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Elizabeth ARMSTRONG, Heather PETRI, Melissa SEIDEMANN (1), Brenda VILLA (2), Lauren WENGER (1), Courtney MATHEWSON (1), JESSICA STEFFENS, LAUREN SILVER, Elsie WINDES, Kelly RULON (1), Annika DRIES, Kameryn CRAIG (2), Margaret STEFFENS (1). HEAD COACH: Adam KRIKORIAN.

ITALY: Giulia GOLERO, Simona ABBATE (1), Elisa CASANOVA, Giulia RAMBALDI, Allegra LAPI, Martina SAVIOLI, Marta COLAIOCCO, Roberta BIANCONI, Giulia EMMOLO (1), Francesca POMERI, Aleksandra COTTI (2) Teresa FRASSINETTI (2), Elisa QUEIROLO. Head Coach: Fabio CONTI.

Five-time champion USA outlasted Italy after coming back from 2-1 down in the first quarter and three times fending off a defiant opposition. Italy proved strong in the first quarter with two Teresa FRASSINETTI goals coming from centre forward to give the Italians the quarter-time lead. Veteran Brenda VILLA opened the scoring for an early USA lead but FRASSINETTI’s power and strength at two metres proved irresistible. The first goal was off a backhand and the second with a lob after a deft turn. Italy might have been happy but the USA was not upset, knuckling down and scoring three unanswered goals in the second period as the defence stepped up and the shooting found the mark. VILLA, Lauren WENGER and Courtney MATHEWSON, on extra had the game lead of 4-2 at halftime. It looked better when Kameryn CRAIG dragged down a high ball on a cross pass on extra on the first attack of the third period. Aleksandra COTTI scored on penalty and Simona ABBATE sent in a sharp shot on extra for a one-goal deficit. Margaret STEFFENS and COTTI traded goals to set the game up tantalisingly at the final break. Kelly RULON gave breathing space when she accepted a wide pass on counter two minutes into the fourth quarter.  Kameryn CRAIG scored off deep right-hand catch, EMMOLO replied to keep Spain within two with 50 seconds left but the USA controlled the final phases and the delight on Melissa SEIDEMANN’s face after her goal was evident, giving the USA a three-goal margin.

USA vs. ITA
USA vs. ITA - credit Russell McKinnon

POINTS TABLES

GROUP A USA GRE CHN ITA Points Place
USA       9-6 (3) 3  
GRE     8-9 (0)   0  
CHN   9-8 (3)     3  
ITA 6-9 (0)       0  

 

GROUP B AUS RUS CAN ESP Points Place
AUS       14-6 (3) 3  
RUS     9-8 (3)   3  
CAN   8-9 (0)     0  
ESP 6-14 (0)       0  

 

 

DAY 2 - 15 June 2011 

USA impressive in 8-5 win over China

By Russell McKinnon, FINA Press Commission Member  

TIANJIN, China (June 15).— Reigning champion United States of America looked impressive against world No 3 China on day-two action at the FINA Women’s World League Super Final in Tianjin tonight.

Playing in the impressive Tianjin Olympic Centre Swimming & Diving Pool in front of 700 people, USA took a 4-2 halftime lead to 8-3 against a jaded-looking China.

Chinese head coach Juan JANE GIRALT said the tournament was tough “with the best eight teams in the world here”.

“To play up approximately with the USA and Australia we need to play normal. The solutions are technical. Perhaps I am not selling my ideas very well. We are not creating opportunities very well.”

For USA mastermind Adam KRIKORIAN it was a margin he did not expect. “To beat a team like that by four goals means it must have been an aberration (by them).”

He was pleased with his defence — “the five-man defence and the half-court defence”.

“Our goalkeeper (Tumuaialii ANAE) played well and I think we were a little too passive once ahead.

“They missed some early goals so after that they had to think twice. It was nice to get a lead and keep the crowd out of it, so to speak.”

On China’s chances at the tournament: “I wouldn’t be surprised if they were in the final,” he said.

Greece outgunned Italy 8-4, also in Group A action, shifting from 3-1 to 6-1 and 7-3 at the breaks to victory.

Greek head coach Georgios MORFESIS was upset with the foul count — 14-5 — against his team as both teams were playing zone defence.

“It was disappointing. How is it possible that two teams are playing zone and one gets one exclusion and the other five? I don’t understand.

“We played very well today with some good defence. The main problem today was the different way they whistled with the same defensive zone. However, this was good preparation for us. We now have to solve this fouling problem.”

Spain’s Miki OCA said he wasn’t happy with the way his team fronted for the match.

“The start was not strong like yesterday. We made too many mistakes. The first quarter and second quarter is important to stay in the game. Yesterday we had some training but we have one game good and one game not good. Our preparation must be better.”

In Group B, Russia beat Spain 14-6, the same score Australia beat Spain on the opening day and Australia beat Canada 10-8 after twice holding four-goal margins.

Russian head coach Alexander KABANOV was unconcerned when Spain twice took the lead in the second quarter. He proudly watched as his team kept Spain scoreless for nearly 13 minutes and won the third period 5-0.

“We were much stronger as it showed in the third period. We were always sure we would win.”

Spanish head coach Miki OCA was pleased with his team’s first-half effort but lamented another day where his team was “killed”.

“The third period was a disaster. I think they beat us 7-0 (from 3-4 to 10-4). We didn’t do well on extra man with shots and passes. We will try and get better.”

Australia had the wood over Canada but the Aussie Stingers head coach Greg McFADDEN said his side was “inconsistent”.

“We had a couple of good leads but we allowed Canada back into the game with some easy goals. We weren’t composed as much as yesterday (in the 14-6 win over Spain). There were individual moments of madness.

“Rachel (RIDDELL) was good in goals for them today and she kept them in the game.

“It was not a great win but a win’s a win,” McFADDEN said.

Canadian head coach Pat OATEN laid the blame at mental errors.

“Mental errors killed us. We can’t win (tight matches) until we don’t make these errors. There were positive things on offence but we have not been playing together enough. Girls have been off doing their own thing.

“It was close at the end and we had a chance to win the game but we can’t make those silly mental errors.”

On the awarding of a controversial penalty against goalkeeper RIDDELL, OATEN said: “Our defender had her hand on the (Australian) hand and Rachel had her hand on top of that. It was stupid.”

#5USAUSA* 8 vs. CHN CHN 5

Referees: Noel HARROD (AUS), Santiago RODRIGUEZ (ESP)

Extra Man: USA: 2/6. CHN: 2/10

Pens: USA: 0/0. CHN: 0/0

Teams:

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Tumuaialii ANAE, Heather PETRI (1), Melissa SEIDEMANN, Brenda VILLA (1), Lauren WENGER (1), Anne BELDEN (2), JESSICA STEFFENS (1), LAUREN SILVER (1), Elsie WINDES (1), Kelly RULON, Annika DRIES, Kameryn CRAIG, Margaret STEFFENS. HEAD COACH: Adam KRIKORIAN.

CHINA: YANG Jun, TENG Fei, (2) LIU Ping, SUN Yujun, HE Jin, SUN Yating (2), SONG Donglun, CHEN Yuan, WANG Yi, MA Huanhuan (1), SUN Huizi, ZHANG Lei, WANG Ying. Head Coach: Juan JANE GIRALT.

The USA looked like a team more willing to compete at the highest level. This ranked the world No 1 and world No 3 teams but it didn’t look like it. China was too tentative and, whereas it would take quick shots in the past, hesitation was the byword and the USA took advantage. The USA looked as good as its credentials but China could still impress in the days ahead. It was 1-1 for nearly six minutes of the first half after Lauren WENGER and SUN Yating scored goals, the latter with a smart backhand, crisply taken. Elsie WINDES scored in a goalmouth melee just before the buzzer for a 2-1 USA lead. Anne BELDEN on the right and Jessica STEFFENS with a bounce shot on extra, had the game at 4-1. China took an immediate timeout to slow the onslaught, which it did with no goal coming for four minutes. TENG Fei scored on extra 84 seconds from halftime. The old-stagers, Brenda VILLA (captain tonight) and Heather PETRI (captain last night) each scored — something they did frequently at the 2000 Olympic Games for the first time.. BELDEN swam on counter to score and Lauren SILVER drilled another for 8-3 a minute before the final break. China stepped up a shade in the final quarter and MA Huanhuan struck first on extra but at 4:15 when the game was fast slipping away. When China hesitated on another shot, USA head coach Adam KRIKORIAN called a timeout at 2:30 but nothing eventuated. YANG Jun stopped a ripper from SILVER and China used its second timeout at 0:42, in the hope of pulling at least one goal back. TENG supplied the goal with a long lob 14 seconds from time for 8-5.

USA vs. CHN
USA vs. CHN - credit Russell McKinnon

#6 RUS RUS 14 vs. Spain ESP 6

Quarters: 2-2, 3-2, 5-0, 4-2

Referees: German MOLLER (ARG), Andreas MIRALIS (GRE)

Extra Man: RUS 7/13. ESP 5/14

Pens: RUS: 0/0  ESP: 1/2

Teams:

RUSSIA: Maria KOVTUNOVSKAYA, Victoria KUROCHKINA, Ekaterina PROKOFYEVA (2), Sofia KONUKH (3), Alexandra ANTONOVA (2), Natalia RYZHOVA-ALENICHEVA (1), Ekaterina LISUNOVA (2), Evgenia SOBOLEVA (1), Ekaterina TANKEEVA, Olga BELYAEVA, Evgenia IVANOVA (2), Yulia GAUFLER (1), Ekaterina ZELENTSOVA. Head Coach: Alexander KABANOV.

SPAIN: Ava COPADO, Blanca GIL (1), Ana ESPAR, Roser TARRAGO, Matilde ORTIZ, Jennifer PAREJA (3), Lorena MIRANDA, Pilar PENA, Andrea BLAS, Ona MESSEGUER (1), M. Carmen GARCIA (1), Marta BACH, Laura ESTER. Head Coach: Miguela OCA.

Russia played a steady match and never panicked when 3-2  and 4-3 down to Spain early in the second quarter. The Russian attack hit top gear midway through the third quarter and the rest is history. Russia started strongly with the first two goals to Alexandra ANTONOVA and Natalia RYZHOVA-ALENICHEVA but Spain showed some excellent water polo with M Carmen GARCIA scoring from the deep right and Jennifer PAREJA from a penalty. Spain went to the lead through Blanca GIL on extra nearly halfway through the second quarter. Evgenia SOBOLEVA received a nice cross-pass into the zone on counter to level the game but Ona MESSEGUER gave Spain the lead again with a shot from the top. At 4-3, it was looking good for Spain. However, Russia moved seamlessly into a higher gear and Ekaterina LISUNOVA and captain Sofia KONUKH took the halftime lead of 5-4. A five-goal quarter to Russia took the game to 10-4 with KONUKH and Evgenia IVANOVA scoring twice each and ANTONOVA gaining her second. KONUKH’s goal at 8-4 appeared a gift on counter after the Spanish centre forward was dragged back but a foul was called on her instead. While Russia went eight minutes without scoring earlier in the game, Spain stopped its scoring drought at nearly 13 minutes when PAREJA scored the first of two goals, either side of IVANOVA’s third, which came against the grain when all her team-mate were pressed hard and she found space to drill the ball from the outside. PAREJA could have made it her  fourth goal but had her penalty attempt blocked.  Ekaterina PROKOFYEVA made her scoring debut after sitting out the first match with a sore shoulder, shooting from the top on extra for 12-6. Spain took a timeout to no effect and Yulia GAUFLER joined the scoresheet soon after the exclusion period. Olga BELYAEVA then missed the easiest of shots from two metres, electing to lob instead of blasting the ball home. It went above the crossbar. PROKOFYEVA lobbed Ava COPADO for 14-6 with 32 seconds left and it proved that patience was a virtue for the Russians.

RUS vs. ESP
RUS vs. ESP - credit Russell McKinnon

#7 GRE GRE 8 vs. Italy ITA 4

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

Referees: Gabor VOGEL (HUN), Marie-Claude DESLIERES (CAN)

Extra Man: GRE: 2/5. ITA 4/13

Pens: GRE: 0/0. ITA: 0/1

Teams:

GREECE: Eleni KOUVDOU, Christina TSOUKALA, Antiopi MELIDONI, Ilektra Maria PSOUNI, Kyriaki LIOSI (2), Alkisti AVRAMIDOU, Alexandra ASIMAKI (3), Antigoni ROUMPESI (1), Angeliki GEROLYMOU (1), Triantafyllia MANOLIOUDAKI (1), Stavroula ANTONAKOU, Georgia LARA, Eleni GOULA. Head Coach: Georgios MORFESIS.

ITALY: Giulia GOLERO, Simona ABBATE (1), Elisa CASANOVA, Giulia RAMBALDI, Martina SAVIOLI, Allegra LAPI, Marta COLAIOCCO, Roberta BIANCONI (1), Giulia EMMOLO (1), Francesca POMERI, Aleksandra COTTI, Teresa FRASSINETTI, Laura TEANI, Elisa QUEIROLO (1), Medea VERDE. Head Coach: Fabio CONTI.

Greece had a marvellous start and by halftime controlled the game with a five-goal buffer. Angeliki GEROLYMOU and captain Kyriaki LIOSI gave the best start with the second goal an excellent short pass to the near post on extra-man attack. Roberta BIANCONI typified Italy’s game in the first half with a penalty shot stopped by Eleni KOUVDOU. Livewire centre forward Alexandra ASIMAKI made it 3-0 before Simona ABBATE scored Italy’s first at 0:39. It was all Greece in the second quarter with LIOSI on a lob shot, ASIMAKI from centre forward and ASIMAKI again, this time with an awkward receival at two metres, a huge twist and her third goal just eight seconds from time. Italy shot well but the Greek defence was too good. Italy looked better prepared for the second half and gained the first goal on extra when Elisa QUEIROLO sat up and powered in a long shot for 6-2. LIOSI was caught for a big kickoff when one of her shots went high and Italy called a timeout. BIANCONI followed the script and converted extra just as the Greek player returned. Christina TSOUKALA gained her third major foul but Italian could not convert the extra. At the other end of the pool, Triantafyllia MANOLIOUDAKI made it 7-3 on extra. Italy’s attempts to score before the final break were fruitless despite being one player up. After the restart, Italian head coach Fabio CONTI called a timeout on winning the swim. The ball shifted around smoothly and found Giulia EMMOLO on left-hand catch and she scored with ease for 7-4. Greece had a timeout chance at 3:21 but GEROLYMOU’s shot was wide of the goal. Antigoni ROUMPESI put the game beyond doubt with a goal at 2:19 for 8-4. KOUVDOU continued her excellent tournament with two great saves in the dying moments. In the end it was the experience of the Greeks that proved decisive, despite the huge extra-man count against.

GRE vs. ITA
GRE vs. ITA - credit Russell McKinnon

#8 AUS AUS 10 vs. CAN CAN 8

Quarters: 2-1, 2-1, 6-4, 0-2

Referees: Jurgen HAUSCHE (GER), Filippo GOMEZ (ITA)

Extra Man: AUS: 2/11. CAN: 4/10

Pens: AUS: 1/1. CAN: 0/0

Teams:

AUSTRALIA: Kelsey WAKEFIELD, Gemma BEADSWORTH (2), Sophie SMITH, Rebecca RIPPON (1), Jane MORAN, Bronwen KNOX (1), Rowena WEBSTER, Kate GYNTHER (1), Glencora RALPH (1), Holly LINCOLN-SMITH, Zoe ARANCINI, Nicola ZAGAME (3), Keesja GOFERS (1). Head Coach: Greg McFADDEN.

CANADA: Rachel RIDDELL, Krystina ALOGBO, Katrina MONTON, Emily CSIKOS (1), Joelle BEKHAZI (3), Whitney GENOWAY, Rosanna TOMIUK (2), Sophie BARON LA SALLE, Monika EGGENS, Hanna YELIZAROVA, Tara CAMPBELL, Marina RADU, Stephanie VALIN (2). Head Coach: Pat OATEN.

Australia came up trumps with a two-goal margin over Canada but in doing so dropped two four-goal leads. The first half see-sawed with Australia scoring twice, then Canada twice and again Australia with a late pair for a 4-2 halftime margin. This was a true battle of regular protagonists and goals had to slip through rather be hammered in. The first goal came when Canada was caught stranded on a counter and Nicola ZAGAME had the freedom and luxury of taunting Canadian goalkeeper Rachel RIDDELL before popping the ball over her head. Glencora RALPH made it 2-0 down the left. Rosanna TOMIUK then had a great couple of minutes play, scoring when the Aussie Stingers had a couple binned with just seven seconds left in the quarter. Australia had an extra man at the break but could not get a goal and TOMIUK nailed her second after an extra-man play as the Aussies failed to shuffle fast enough.  Five minutes later, Gemma BEADSWORTH broke the impasse with a sliding backhand goal from two metres. Keesja GOFERS, whose sister Teniele won a gold medal in Tianjin at the FINA World Cup five years ago, scored at 1:06. Australia took little time in making it 5-2, scoring half a minute into the second half, through veteran Rebecca Rippon at deep right on extra. Stephanie VALIN pulled one back when two Aussies were binned but BEADSWORTH shot and scored from the top at the end of extra-man advantage on the next attack. Australia blew two chances with RIDDELL stopping a one-one-one chance from Zoe ARANCINI and Bronwen KNOX had her rebound shot tipped over by a defender. Emily CSIKOS scored immediately after from the top for 6-4. The reprieve was short-lived as KNOX made amends from the deep left for 7-4.  Australia went to a timeout when Krystina ALOGBO gained a major foul and several passes later, ZAGAME scored with a sweep-arm shot from deep left for 8-4. Joelle BEKHAZI replied from the top on the next attack. At 1:46 in the quarter, Canada took a timeout on extra but the ploy to pass across the goal line to VALINS cam unstuck as it hit the back line. On the counter, Kate GYNTHER gifted the ball to ZAGAME for 9-5. BEKHAZI was again in the thick of it, stealing the ball from under the nose of goalkeeper Kelsey WAKEFIELD and the close attentions of GYNTHER to score from a metre out. BEADSWORTH jumped on a loose ball just before the buzzer and RIDDELL came out and was adjudged to push the ball under as the buzzer sounded. GYNTHER swam up and scored the penalty goal for 10-6 at the final break with a 6-4 period in which BEKHAZI was outstanding. Canada wasn’t beaten yet. VALIN sent in a goal on right-hand-catch position at 6:37 and Joelle BEKHAZI added another on extra at 5:04 for 10-8. The game was on. Both teams used poor options in the next four minutes and it came down to the final minute when Canada used a timeout but ALOGBO’s shot was tipped over by WAKEFIELD.  Canada had another chance but GYNTHER stole the ball and passed to a countering Rebecca RIPPON who had her shot stopped by RIDDELL, possibly the standout player of the match.

AUS vs. CAN
AUS vs. CAN - credit Russell McKinnon

POINTS TABLES

GROUP A USA GRE CHN ITA Points Place
USA   8-5 (3) 9-6 (3) 6
GRE 8-9 (0) 8-4 (3) 3
CHN 5-8 (0) 9-8 (3) 3
ITA 6-9 (0) 4-8 (0)     0  
 
GROUP B AUS RUS CAN ESP Points Place
AUS     10-8 (3) 14-6 (3) 6  
RUS     9-8 (3) 14-6 (3) 6  
CAN 8-10 (3) 8-9 (0)     0  
ESP 6-14 (0) 6-14  (0)     0  


 

DAY 3 - 16 June 2011

USA and Russia win groups ahead of World League quarter-finals

By Russell McKinnon, FINA Press Commission Member  

TIANJIN, China (June 16).— Reigning champion United States of America and world No 4 Russia have topped the groups after on day-three action at the FINA Women’s World League Super Final in Tianjin tonight.

Playing before another large crowd at the Tianjin Olympic Centre Swimming & Diving Pool, the USA slipped into top place after a shock 11-10 sudden-death, penalty-shootout victory by Greece.

It was a rare win for the Greeks over the USA and the game was a rare event in itself with USA winning the first period 4-0, Greece winning the second 4-0 and the USA throwing three consecutive goals after Greece went 5-4 ahead. Greece closed normal time with the only two goals of the final quarter.

Both teams converted three shots in the regular rotation but it came down to sudden death where Stavroula ANTONAKOU scored but goalkeeper Eleni KOUVDOU blocked Kelly RULON’s attempt.

Greek captain Kyriaki LIOSI praised her goalkeeper. “She was very good and caught everything. We didn’t start very well.”

On what was said at quarter time: “We must be strong. We must solve the problems and we must score. We did that.”

USA head coach Adam KRIKORIAN was unhappy with the loss.

“As I said before, every team is good here, on a parity. Whether you are up by four goals or two, it doesn’t matter.  We relaxed and Greece did a great job with shots and opportunities. We weren’t concerned with the score, just how we played the game and we didn’t play well. We need to be more consistent.”

Russia played splendidly to defeat world No 2 Australia 12-9 to win Group B.

Russia shot to a 6-2 lead before Australia came back to 6-5 8-7, 9-8 and 10-9 before giving up two Evgenia IVANOVA goals in the last 75 seconds.

Russian head coach Alexander KABANOV said he was pleased with the game. “It was not a problem. It was a very good practice match against a strong, physical Australian team. They got stronger as the game went on.”

The game saw Australian head coach Greg McFADDEN red-carded for continuously sniping the referees over their calls inside the final four minutes. He gained the yellow card midway through the third.

Assistant coach Peter SZILAGYI said: “We missed four extra-man (chances) in the first quarter and Russia scored three goals and this was the gap at the end. We did lots of hard work in the middle two quarters and got the game back to 10-9 but we made many silly individual mistakes, which cost us the game.”

Spain rebounded from two 14-6 losses in group B to lead from the front and beat Canada 10-9, once having a 6-3 advantage in the third period.

The emotion on head coach Miki OCA’s face after the match was evident: “We changed things a little and we defended the counter-attack. We’ve been having too many counters against us by Australia and Russia.

“We stopped these counters today, then we could start playing. We can compete against anyone. We played very serious, calm and intelligently. Finally we took it (a win). Now we realise we can compete against the best teams.”

Canadian captain Krystina ALOGBO rued the poor start and stated it was the team’s first tournament of the year. “We haven’t been together a lot and we have some new players.”

But it was the senior players’ reactions today that upset her the most. “We didn’t step up, the veterans. The young ones did but the older ones didn’t so we couldn’t dominate in a tight game.”

The final match of the night saw China bounce back from some lacklustre performances to play a solid game in defeating Italy 15-9.

China led 9-4 at halftime and had the game sewn up at 11-5 by the final break.

Chinese head coach Juan JANE GIRALT said: “I have the feeling that it was the correct result. Today we had to all play together with more press. I was very happy today. It is more difficult for China to play at home and it is not easy against the best teams in the world. We relaxed a little in the fourth quarter but that is normal when you are six or seven goals difference. It’s people, not only players.”

Italy’s Fabio CONTI paid congratulations to China.

“Today we had to do something better in defence but it was not very good. However, we played stronger towards the end of the match.”

Tomorrow moves to the quarter-finals and the main matchups will be the two-versus-three games where Australia faces a resurgent Greece and China plays Spain. The USA has earned a clash with Canada and Russia will front Italy.

  #9RUSRUS 12 vs. AUS AUS 9

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

Referees: Andreas MIRALIS (GRE), Fillipo GOMEZ (ITA)

Extra Man: RUS 7/15. AUS: 6/15

Pens: RUS: 1/0. AUS: 0/0

Teams:

RUSSIA: ANNA KARNAUKH, Nadezhda FEDOTOVA, Ekaterina PROKOFYEVA (1), Sofia KONUKH (2), Alexandra ANTONOVA, Natalia RYZHOVA-ALENICHEVA (1), Ekaterina LISUNOVA (3), Evgenia SOBOLEVA (1), Ekaterina TANKEEVA, Olga BELYAEVA (3), Evgenia IVANOVA (1), Victoria KUROCHKINA, Ekaterina ZELENTSOVA. Head Coach: Alexander KABANOV.

AUSTRALIA: Alicia McCORMACK, Gemma BEADSWORTH, Ashleigh SOUTHERN, Rebecca RIPPON, Jane MORAN, Bronwen KNOX (3), Rowena WEBSTER, Kate GYNTHER (2), Glencora RALPH (1), Holly LINCOLN-SMITH (3), Zoe ARANCINI, Nicola ZAGAME, Keesja GOFERS. Head Coach: Greg McFADDEN.

Russia won Group B with a powerful effort in a game where the early margin was 6-2 to Russia with Australia having to play catch-up. Russia had the better all-round game and came away with a three-goal margin, boosted by two late goals. Russia kept Australia scoreless in the first quarter and sent in three goals, much like at the Kirishi Cup in Russia two weeks ago when Russia led 6-0 at the break. Olga BELYAEVA was chief destroyer from two metres with a simple turning goal and then another shot for 2-0 inside three minutes. Captain Sofia KONUKH added the third from the top as Australia struggled to keep shots on target. Natalia RYZHOVA-ALENICHEVA made it 4-0 on extra at the start of the second quarter. Australia then broke through with Holly LINCOLN-SMITH from the two metres and captain Kate GYNTHER on extra from right-hand catch. Russia recovered quickly through Ekaterina LISUNOVA on extra on the deep left and Evgenia SOBOLEVA on extra by 3:05 for 6-2. The Aussie Stingers had the better of the next stanza with Bronwen KNOX scoring off a long cross pass on extra and LINCOLN-SMITH with a strong centre-forward backhand goal to close out the first-half scoring. KNOX opened the third period with a goal on counter, the recipient of a classic pass from Rebecca RIPPON, bringing the game to 6-5. LISUNOVA and KONUKH relieved the pressure, the latter coming from a smart forward action by a Russian player underwater forcing a penalty on Alicia McCORMACK. Australian head coach Greg McFADDEN gained a yellow card for chatting to the referees. LINCOLN-SMITH scored her third on a Rowena WEBSTER cross-pass on extra for 8-6. Russia had a chance for a three-goal margin with two minutes left but blasted the ball into McCORMACK’s stomach when the Aussies had three players in the ejection box. GYNTHER found herself clear on counter early in the fourth period and lobbed Anna KARNAUKH for 8-7. Ekaterina PROKOFYEVA scored easily down the deep left. Twenty seconds later Australia called a timeout but the shot was blocked. A stolen ball was sent high to Glencora RALPH who was free up front and scored for 9-8. BELYAEVA scored her third, this time on extra and McFADDEN saw red — the referee’s card after his outburst — and left the pool deck. KNOX made it 10-9 on extra at 3:15 and Australia was well in the hunt. But frustration set, an urge for goals and fast breaks failed to stop LISUNOVA and Evgenia IVANOVA netting in the last 75 seconds for the deserved victory.

RUS vs. AUS
RUS vs. AUS - credit Russell McKinnon

#10 GRE GRE 11 vs. USA USA* 10 in Sudden death Shootout

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

Referees: Irfan SADEKOV (RUS), Santiago RODRIGUEZ (ESP)

Extra Man: GRE: 3/7. USA: 3/8

Pens: GRE: 2/2. USA: 0/0

Teams:

GREECE: Eleni KOUVDOU, Christina TSOUKALA (1), Antiopi MELIDONI, Ilektra Maria PSOUNI, Kyriaki LIOSI, Alkisti AVRAMIDOU (1), Alexandra ASIMAKI (1), Antigoni ROUMPESI (4), Angeliki GEROLYMOU (2), Triantafyllia MANOLIOUDAKI, Stavroula ANTONAKOU (2), Georgia LARA, Eleni GOULA. Head Coach: Georgios MORFESIS.

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Elizabeth ARMSTRONG, Heather PETRI (1), Melissa SEIDEMANN, Brenda VILLA (1), Lauren WENGER (1), Courtney MATHEWSON (1), JESSICA STEFFENS, LAUREN SILVER, Elsie WINDES, Kelly RULON (2), Annika DRIES (1), Kameryn CRAIG (2), Margaret STEFFENS. HEAD COACH: Adam KRIKORIAN.

World No 7 Greece won a rare match against world No 1 USA, claiming the first goal in sudden-death penalty shootout after the game was locked at 7-7 by fulltime and three goals each in the regular shootout rotation. What a strange start to a match when the world No 1 USA wins the first period 4-0 and Greece retaliates with the same score in the second! It was crazy but the USA was better prepared at the start and the defence made Greece shoot astray. In the second quarter it was Greece who turned the tables with a selection of shots. USA steadily dropped in goals in the first with Kameryn CRAIG at centre forward, veteran Heather PETRI from the top, fellow triple Olympian Brenda VILLA on extra and Lauren WENGER, the MVP at the 2007 FINA World Championships in Melbourne, Then it was Greece’s turn to impress with a shutout in the second quarter. Alexandra ASIMAKI scored from centre forward. Angeliki GEROLYMOU converted a penalty shot, Antigoni ROUMPESI drilled one from the top; Christina TSOUKALA sent in another outside shot, this time on extra for the 4-4 halftime break. ROUMPESI continued the run in the third period with Greece’s second penalty goal. The USA improved as a unit and showed better champion status in scoring the next three goals with Annika DRIES at centre forward, Kelly RULON on extra and CRAIG nabbing a second, also from two metres.  Greece, 7-5 down, started the fourth period and GEROLYMOU scored on extra. The USA had a timeout at 3:12 but to no avail in the scoring department. A minute later ROUMPESI scored her third from the top for 7-7 and the game gained only its second tied score. Greece went to a timeout at 0:48 but USA pressured hard and the hole set was at 5m. The shot went wide. The USA took a timeout at 0:17 and the ball finally made its way to VILLA who took the foul and shot, only to see KOUVDOU tip in over and send the match to penalty shootout. ANTONAKOU and RULON traded goals. TSOUKALA and Maggie STEFFENS both had their shots blocked by the goalkeepers with Betsy ARMSTRONG’s save clean with her right hand. AVRAMIDOU and PETRI traded goals for 9-9. GEROLYMOU had her shot stopped by ARMSTRONG while PETRI had her shot tipped into the left post by KOUVDOU. ROUMPESI was safe with her shot, as was MATHEWSON for 10-10. The next rotation started with ANTONAKOU scoring and RULON having hers stopped for a tremendous Greek victory.

GRE vs. USA
GRE vs. USA - credit Russell McKinnon

#11 CAN CAN 9 vs. ESPESP 10

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

Referees: Amber DRURY (USA), MENG An Long (CHN)

Extra Man: CAN: 6/15. ESP: 1/8

Pens: CAN: 0/0. ESP: 0/0

Teams:

CANADA: Rachel RIDDELL, Krystina ALOGBO (2), Katrina MONTON, Emily CSIKOS (2), Joelle BEKHAZI, Whitney GENOWAY, Rosanna TOMIUK, Sophie BARON LA SALLE, Monika EGGENS, Hanna YELIZAROVA (3), Tara CAMPBELL (2), Marina RADU, Stephanie VALIN. Head Coach: Pat OATEN.

SPAIN: Ava COPADO, Blanca GIL (4), Ana ESPAR, Roser TARRAGO, Matilde ORTIZ (1), Jennifer PAREJA (1), Lorena MIRANDA, Pilar PENA, Andrea BLAS, Ona MESSEGUER (2), M. Carmen GARCIA (2), Marta BACH, Laura ESTER. Head Coach: Miguela OCA.

Spain did what coach Miki OCA threatened could be done and that’s win in Tianjin. From start to finish the Spanish were in control against a Canadian side playing its first tournament of the year. Canada and Spain were set for a big tussle on a day of big results. It was Spain who struck first, firstly through captain Jennifer PAREJA and then from M Carmen GARCIA. Canadian captain Krystina ALOGBO responded from her favoured two-metre position but a long lob by the brilliant Blanca GIL gave Spain a healthy quarter-time lead. Tara CAMPBELL brought Canada closer to the action on extra but GIL bagged her second on extra midway through the period. ALOGBO was at her tricks again with a superb goal at the 4:01 mark. Canada had a timeout but nothing eventuated for the rest of the half. Spain went 6-3 ahead through GARCIA and GIL (her third) before Canada hit a purple patch. Firstly Emily CSIKOS converted extra and then youthful Hanna YELIZAROVA followed suit. YELIZAROVA scored from the same position on counter 18 seconds later to level the game at 6-6.  Matilde ORTIZ struggled and was rewarded at centre forward with a goal at 1:21. YELIZAROVA scored her third of the quarter on another counter down the left — three goals in less than three minutes and her team was 7-7 with Spain. GIL dulled the celebrations with her fourth goal on extra 22 seconds from time. The game was tied again at the top of the fourth when Campbell pulled a shot backwards over her head from an ALOGBO pass on extra-man attack. It was the first such goal of the tournament and probably won’t be repeated again. Spain called time but to no effect. However, soon after Ono MESSEGUER got into the action with successive goals from left-hand-catch with the second a slider under Rachel RIDDELL’s left arm. At 10-8 it was a great buffer for Spain. CSIKOS grabbed back one goal on extra, the shot just sliding over the line for 10-9 behind at 2:21.  Canada had another chance on extra but ALOGBO’s shot hit the crossbar. ALOGBO pulled an exclusion foul at 0:57 and Canada worked the timeout. Twice it shot on extra (gaining a second on PAREJA) but Spain gathered and called timeout at 0:04, effectively finishing the game.

CAN vs. ESP
ESP vs. CAN - credit Russell McKinnon

#12CHNCHN 15 vs Italy ITA 10

Quarters: 4-2, 5-2, 2-1, 4-4

Referees: German MOLLER (ARG), Noel HARROD (AUS)

Extra Man: CHN: 3/9. ITA: 4/12

Pens: CHN: 0/0. ITA: 0/0

Teams:

CHINA: YANG Jun, TENG Fei (4), LIU Ping, SUN Yujun (4), HE Jin (1), SUN Yating (1), SONG Donglun, CHEN Yuan, WANG Yi (1), MA Huanhuan (3), SUN Huizi, ZHANG Lei, WANG Ying, ZHU Yajing, ZHANG Cong. Head Coach: Juan JANE GIRALT.

ITALY: Giulia GOLERO, Simona ABBATE (2), Elisa CASANOVA, Giulia RAMBALDI, Allegra LAPI, Martina SAVIOLI (1), Marta COLAIOCCO (1), Roberta BIANCONI (2), Giulia EMMOLO, Francesca POMERI, Aleksandra COTTI, (3) Teresa FRASSINETTI, Elisa QUEIROLO, Medea VERDE. Head Coach: Fabio CONTI.

China started tentatively and conceded a lob shot by Simona ABBATE but by midway through the first quarter, China regained some confidence lost in previous nights. TENG Fei, SUN Yujun (with a lob) and TENG again, had China 3-1 ahead. Roberta BIANCONI scored on extra and WANG Yi responded on right-hand-catch position for 4-2 at the first break. Martina SAVIOLI brought to game to within one with a lob on counter-attack. However, the goals dried up for Italy as TENG, SUN Yujun, SUN Yating and HE Jin made it 8-3. Italy pulled one back through Marta COLAIOCCO on extra but SUN Yujun made it 9-4 before the long break. The 800-strong crowd was revelling in the result after some harrowing moments previously.  SUN Yujun started the second half like she left the first, with another goal, this time from nine metres, completely lifting the spectators from their seats. Italy called a timeout to settle the team. It led to more than four minutes of top defence from both teams before MA Huanhuan started her roll of goals. BIANCONI sent in her second from the top to close the third period 11-5. MA opened the fourth with a super shot from the top, followed by ABBATE’s second. MA rifled in another, this time from eight metres for 13-6. Italy’s Aleksandra COTTI had her day in the sun when she scored three in a row with two on extra before China called timeout at 3:54. Tight defence meant nothing until 1:06 when TENG Fei sent in a screamer — her fourth of the game. China had the last hurrah when ZHANG Lei received the ball from TENG and scored for 15-9 seven seconds from time.

CHN vs. ITA
CHN vs. ITA - credit Russell McKinnon

POINTS TABLES

GROUP A USA GRE CHN ITA Points Place
USA   10-11 (1) 8-5 (3) 9-6 (3) 7 1
GRE 11-10 (2)   8-9 (0) 8-4 (3) 5 3
CHN 5-8 (0) 9-8 (3)   15-9 (3) 6 2
ITA 6-9 (0) 4-8 (0) 9-15 (0) 0 4

 

GROUP B AUS RUS CAN ESP Points Place
AUS 9-12 (0) 10-8 (3) 14-6 (3) 6 2
RUS 12-9 (3) 9-8 (3) 14-6 (3) 9 1
CAN 8-10 (3) 8-9 (0) 9-10 (0) 0 4
ESP 6-14 (0) 6-14  (0) 10-9 (3) 3 3

 

 

DAY 4 - 17 June 2011

Russia dumped from the World League semifinals by Italy in sudden-death penalty shoootout

By Russell McKinnon, FINA Press Commission Member  

TIANJIN, China (June 17).— Russia did the unthinkable by losing to Italy 21-20 in a sudden-death penalty shootout to miss the semifinals of the FINA Women’s World League Super Final in Tianjin.

The game was locked at 12-12 by fulltime after Russia missed a gift penalty attempt six seconds from fulltime forcing the shooting that went to 22 shots before a winner could be found.

It was astounding, given that Italy had not won a game in the rounds and toppled the unbeaten Russians at the Tianjin Olympic Centre Swimming & Diving Pool.

The gutsy Italians, who led 1-0 in the first and regained the lead at 8-7 and 9-8, equalised with 12 seconds remaining and gave up a penalty attempt.

The win sees it play world No 2 Australia in tomorrow’s semifinals, a team which beat Greece 10-8.

In the other quarter-finals, the reigning champion United States of America beat Canada 8-6 to set up a semifinal with China, who needed a  penalty shootout to best Spain 13-12.

Italian head coach Fabio CONTI said he was naturally happy to win but said: “In a tournament like this it is natural to do good and bad games. It was important to win our first game of the tournament.

“Congratulations to Russia because at this moment Russia is very, very strong. Tonight we were trying a kind of defence that we tried yesterday. We have studied the video but we still need to do something better. It is important to analyse how we are playing.”

Australia won the first quarter-final 10-8 over Greece, a team that threatened to go all the way at this tournament.

Greece led 2-1 early but Australia levelled by quarter time and was never matched, leading 5-4 at halftime and 8-6 at the final break.

Aussie Stingers Kate GYNTHER spoke about the controlled nature of her team’s play: “We knew what sort of defence they play as we play them a fair bit and our zone was very good. We did not get sucked into their game.”

On Australia having difficulties against Greece in the past: “If you don’t take them seriously it can come up and bite you.  We had focus today, control of extra-man defence was good but we got a lot of exclusions against us.”

Greece’s Georgia LARA said her team was not deflated after the previous night’s excellent victory over World Cup and reigning World League champion United States of America.

“That was not the problem. The problem was we had extra-man plays we didn’t score, especially at the beginning. We had good defence when we concentrated but sometimes the luck was against us with our shots not going in. We had a good rhythm all game. It’s difficult to change the score all the time, sometimes we come back and sometimes we don’t.”

China had to come back from the death to advance in the tournament, dragging themselves up from 8-5 down in the final four minutes to force a penalty shootout after MA Huanhuan scored on extra four seconds from time.

It was sadness for the exceptional Spanish captain Blanca GIL , twice a scorer in the match, who missed the opening penalty. The remaining nine players converted and China had the victory and a semifinal berth.

Spanish coach Miki OCA said: “We played a good game but in the last stage we didn’t score. We couldn’t get opportunities. Our attack came to nothing and we missed a few good opportunities. We are playing at a good level.”

In the battle of the North American teams, the USA came out a comfortable 8-6 winner, giving up two goals in the last 90 seconds.

USA goalkeeper Betsy Armstrong said it was typical of clashes with Canada. “Games between us are always so competitive. We are huge rivals. This year is pretty big and we want to get as much experience as we can. We have really found our game on defence. It’s a lot tighter than we have been at this tournament. We have given up some penalties but the rest of the defence has been good. We need just some minor adjustments.”

Canadian head coach Pat OATEN said: “We played a better game today than we did yesterday against Spain. The goal this game was to play all 13 players with even minutes, which we did. We are missing (Christine) ROBINSON with tonsillitis. I wanted to see what we could do without a veteran player. I was happy with some of the young ones. (Hanna) YELIZOVA, was one of those.” She scored three goals, including two penalty goals.

#13 GRE GRE 8 vs. AUS AUS 10

Quarters: 2-2, 2-3, 2-3, 2-2

Referees: Gabor VOGEL (HUN), Irfan SADEKOV (RUS)

Extra Man: GRE: 3/10. AUS: 4/8

Pens: GRE: 2/2. AUS: 1/1

Teams:

GREECE: Eleni KOUVDOU, Christina TSOUKALA (1), Antiopi MELIDONI (1), Ilektra Maria PSOUNI (1), Kyriaki LIOSI, Alkisti AVRAMIDOU (1), Alexandra ASIMAKI, Antigoni ROUMPESI, Angeliki GEROLYMOU (1), Triantafyllia MANOLIOUDAKI (2), Stavroula ANTONAKOU (1), Georgia LARA, Eleni GOULA. Head Coach: Georgios MORFESIS.

AUSTRALIA: Alicia McCORMACK, Gemma BEADSWORTH, Sophie SMITH, Rebecca RIPPON (1), Jane MORAN, Bronwen KNOX (1), Rowena WEBSTER (3), Kate GYNTHER, Glencora RALPH (1), Holly LINCOLN-SMITH (2), Ashleigh SOUTHERN (2), Nicola ZAGAME, Kelsey WAKEFIELD. Head Coach: Alexander OSADCHUK.

AUS vs. GRE
AUS vs. GRE - credits Russell McKinnon

Australia played controlled water polo all game to defeat Greece 10-8. Greece tried everything and looked good in patches but Australia had the better strike rate. Australia looked the stronger of the two in the first half until Greece struck back twice late in the stanza. Holly LINCOLN-SMITH scored a slider from the top as Greece was unaware. Angeliki GEROLYMOU replied three minutes later on penalty and Antiopi MELIDONI lobbed goalkeeper Kelsey WAKEFIELD for a 2-1 lead. It was late in the quarter that Glencora RALPH finished off extra man from deep right to level — five seconds from time. Ashleigh SOUTHERN drove and gained a penalty foul and converted the goal. Rowena WEBSTER drove deep and received a cross-pass to score. She scored her second on extra man and Australia had a fortuitous 5-2 lead. Greece struck back through Triantafyllia MANOLIOUDAKI, when she firstly scored on the deep left-hand-catch position and then from left-hand catch when unguarded to close the halftime score at 5-4 in Australia's favour. LINCOLN-SMITH and Ilektra PSOUNI traded goals with the latter from a long lob. Rebecca RIPPON scored on counter and WEBSTER netted her third with a hard shot which hit the goalkeeper and lobbed over her head into goal. Australia was back to a three-goal margin at 8-5. Stavroula ANTONAKOU converted a penalty for 8-6 at 3:32. At 1:37, Greece took a timeout but could not convert. Australian head coach Alexander OSADCHUK, filling in for the suspended Greg McFADDEN, who was red-carded yesterday, took a timeout and SOUTHERN converted late in the possession. It took more than three minutes later for Australia to build a four-goal advantage with Bronwen KNOX stretching far to take a short pass into the hole, turn and score at 3:27. Christina TSOUKALA made it 10-7 with a deep-left shot on extra at 1:58.

#14 CHN CHN 13 vs. ESP ESP 12 Sudden Death Penalty Shootout

Quarters: 2-2, 3-4, 0-1, 3-1. Pens: 5-4

Referees: Amber DRURY (USA), Marie-Claude DESLIERES (CAN)

Extra Man: CHN: 5/9. ESP: 4/9

Pens: CHN: 0/0.

Teams:

CHINA: YANG Jun, TENG Fei (2), LIU Ping (2), SUN Yujun, HE Jin (1), SUN Yating (1), SONG Donglun (2), CHEN Yuan (1), WANG Yi, MA Huanhuan (2), SUN Huizi (1), ZHANG Lei (1), WANG Ying. Head Coach: Juan JANE GIRALT.

SPAIN: Ava COPADO, Blanca GIL (2), Ana ESPAR 1(), Roser TARRAGO, Matilde ORTIZ, Jennifer PAREJA (1), Lorena MIRANDA, Pilar PENA (1), Andrea BLAS (1), Ona MESSEGUER (3), M. Carmen GARCIA (2), Marta BACH, Laura ESTER. Head Coach: Miguela OCA.

CHN vs. ESP
CHN vs. ESP - credits Russell McKinnon

It needed a penalty shootout to decide the winner with China having to come back from an 8-5 disadvantage midway through the final quarter to force the penalties. In the shootout, China was perfect but Spain was on the back foot after captain Blanca GIL on the first shot. China controlled the first part of the match with SUN Huizi scoring on the first attack with a big shot from the top. Captain SUN Yating followed more than a minute later for a comfortable start. But the goals dried up for China as Spain took a stranglehold on the match. M Carmen GARCIA was comprehensively smothered in the hole position but still managed to send the ball to the back of the net. She scored a second three minutes later, also from the hole. Ana ESPAR started the second quarter quickly with a seven-metre shot and captain Blanca GIL scored on extra from the top for a 4-2 advantage. SONG Donglun responded on extra but Spain struck twice more — Ona MESSEGUER on action and GIL on extra for 6-3. TENG Fei threw a slow lob from the top at 1:55 and LIU Ping shot from the post on extra, snapped up the rebound and shovelled in into goal for 6-5 at halftime. MESSEGUER scored from the left-hand-catch position at 2:15 in the third period, which was the only goal between breaks. China had a late timeout to no effect. Pilar PENA helped Spain to a three-goal lead two minutes into the fourth period when her shot from the top was deflected into goal. LIU netted on a cross-pass on extra at 3:35 to give China some hope. A minute later, ZHANG Lei drove deep right and lobbed Ava COPADO for 8-7. Spain went to a timeout at 2:19 but muffed the shot. China attacked but SUN Yujun was called for a turnover.  PENA’s backhand shot at the other end was too soft to penetrate. China took the offensive into the final minute WANG Yi shot and missed. GARCIA was called for turnover and China called a timeout at 0:23 in a bid for an equaliser and penalty shootout. The ball worked around the arc and finally MA was given the task to shoot from six metres and she scored for 8-8 with four seconds left. Spain went to a timeout. The ball went to GIL, who sucked in the foul but had her shot blocked and the game went to shootout. The shootout was relatively simple with GIL opening with a blocked shot and the remaining nine shooters scoring. Sadly, GIL departed the pool deck well ahead of her team-mates.

In a sidebar to the match, two women controlled the game in what is thought to be a first at this level — Amber DRURY (USA, left) and Marie-Claude DESLIERES (CAN).

#15 USA USA 8 vs. CAN CAN 6

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

Referees: Jurgen HAUSCHE (GER), German MOLLER (ARG)

Extra Man: USA 2/9. CAN: 1/6

Pens: USA 0/0. CAN: 3/3

Teams:

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Elizabeth ARMSTRONG, Heather PETRI, Melissa SEIDEMANN (1), Brenda VILLA (1), Lauren WENGER, Courtney MATHEWSON (1), JESSICA STEFFENS, LAUREN SILVER (1), Elsie WINDES (1), Kelly RULON (2), Annika DRIES (1), Kameryn CRAIG, Margaret STEFFENS. HEAD COACH: Adam KRIKORIAN.

CANADA: Rachel RIDDELL, Krystina ALOGBO (1), Katrina MONTON, Emily CSIKOS (2), Joelle BEKHAZI, Whitney GENOWAY, Rosanna TOMIUK, Dominique PERREAULT, Monika EGGENS, Hanna YELIZAROVA (3), Tara CAMPBELL, Marina RADU, Serena BREDIN. Head Coach: Pat OATEN.

The reigning champion breezed into the semifinals with an accomplished victory over neighbour Canada. The North Americans all showed spirit but it was the southern team that came up trumps against a defiant Canada who came back into the play with the last two goals inside the final 90 seconds. Canada scored the opening goal through Emily CSIKOS with a deflection from seven metres. The USA rattled in the next four goals with Kelly RULON from five metres, Courtney MATHEWSON from deep left and RULON from five metres to bring up quarter time. Brenda VILLA scored from the top for 4-1 but not until four minutes into the second quarter after a good defensive game. The youngster Hanna YELIZAROVA scored a narrow-angled goal on extra for 4-2 but captain Elsie WINDES scored from five metres 34 seconds from halftime to lead 5-2. Annika DRIES scored from close in on extra on the second attack of the third period. YELIZAROVA nailed a penalty goal for Canada soon after. Melissa SEIDEMANN scored from deep right midway through the period and CSIKOS claimed her second goal on penalty 19 seconds from the buzzer for 7-4. Both teams shut up shop in the final quarter with the USA gaining a timeout on the swim-up but gaining nothing on the scoresheet. The same happened for Canada at 4:18 and YELIZAROVA's sweep-arm shot from deep left creased the crossbar. The USA countered and gained an extra-man play when Krystina ALOGBO was ejected, leaving Lauren SILVER to make it 8-4 at 3:14. Canada gained consolation in the YELIZAROVA penalty goal at 1:15 and was more delighted with ALOGBO's push shot in from two metres after a cross-pass to the water at 0:39. USA called timeout at 10 seconds. The USA immediately passed the ball upfield to the Canadian goalkeeper and Canada had a timeout. The ball went to ALOGBO who backhanded but the safe Betsy ARMSTRONG stopped the ball for the USA win.

#16 ITA ITA 21 vs. RUS RUS 20 Sudden Death Penalty Shootout

Quarters: 3-4, 3-3, 3-2, 3-3. Pens: 9-8

Referees: Andreas MOIRALIS (GRE), John WALDOW (NZL)

Extra Man: ITA: 6/15. RUS: 7/15

Pens: ITA: 2/2   RUS: 0/1

Teams:

ITALY: Giulia GOLERO, Simona ABBATE (1), Elisa CASANOVA (2), Giulia RAMBALDI, Martina SAVIOLI, Alegra LAPI, Marta COLAIOCCO, Roberta BIANCONI (4), Giulia EMMOLO (6), Francesca POMERI (2), Aleksandra COTTI, Teresa FRASSINETTI (3), Elisa QUEIROLO (3). Head Coach: Fabio CONTI.

RUSSIA: Maria KOVTUNOFSKAYA, Nadezhda FEDOTOVA (2), Ekaterina PROKOFYEVA (1), Sofia KONUKH (1), Alexandra ANTONOVA (1), Natalia RYZHOVA-ALENICHEVA (1), Ekaterina LISUNOVA (3), Victoria KUROCHKINA, Ekaterina TANKEEVA (1), Olga BELYAEVA (3), Evgenia IVANOVA (4), Yulia GAUFLER, Ekaterina ZELENTSOVA (3). Head Coach: Alexander KABANOV.

ITA vs. RUS
ITA vs. RUS - credits Russell McKinnon

Group winner Russia, heavily favoured to win this tournament, came up against winless Italy and came up short in a 22-attempt penalty shootout. Roberta BIANCONI was the first to hit the scoresheet with a penalty goal for Italy but Russia wanted the lead and went to 3-1 in less than two minutes. Ekaterina PROKOFYEVA converted extra from deep right. Captain Sofia KONUKH buried the ball on counter and then Olga BELYAEVA did likewise down the left side a minute later. Giulia EMMOLO converted a penalty foul, Ekaterina ZELENTSOVA lobbed goalkeeper Giulia GOLERO for 4-2 and Italian captain Elise CASANOVA made a rare appearance on the scoresheet with a goal from centre forward to close the first quarter at 4-3 to Russia. Ekaterina TANKEEVA muscled in a goal at centre forward on the first attack of the second quarter. Goals continued to be swapped as CASANOVA scored a second on extra from an excellent cross-pass; Evgenia IVANOVA from the top; BIANCONI from six metres; Ekaterina LISUNOVA from four metres and BIANCONI on extra after an Italian timeout, making the score 7-6 in favour of Russia at halftime. Then things became critical for Russia as EMMOLO scored two wonderful shots to give Italy the lead. Her first was from deep right but her second came when the Russians went on counter as the clock approached the final second of possession time. EMMOLO took a nine-metre attempt, which rifled into goal for 8-7 up. Nadezhda FEDOTOVA, who was injured earlier in the week, level with a sharp drive. BIANCONI scored her third from six metres for 9-8 at 3:02 but at 2:35, IVANOVA dropped one in from seven metres to send the teams to the final quarter at 9-9. Two minutes into the final quarter, Russia took the lead through Ekaterina PROKOFYEVA on extra man after a timeout. Italy had a timeout and EMMOLO scored her fourth on extra for 10-10. Natalia RYZHOVA-ALENICHEVA drilled one from five metres and Theresa FRASSINETTI replied with a slider on extra from the top. BELYAEVA scored on extra from the near post position at 1:13. Italy then gained extra and EMMOLO had her shot tipped over the back line at 0:19. The ball then found its way to centre forward FRASSINETTI who turned and backhanded the ball into goal at 0:12 for 12-12. Russia called a timeout and the ball made it to the hole. BIANCONI was ejected and then made the cardinal sin of playing the player after being ejected, gifting a penalty shot to Russia six seconds from time. The place was electric and the players tested the referees before the shot, taken by the ever-reliable PROKOFYEVA. When the shot came it surged high to the right and slammed into the crossbar. No-one really gained the ball but the clock read 0:00 and the game was going to extra time. Italy shot first in the shootout and missed the second shot (FRASSINETTI), hitting the right post. The next six shooters converted and then on the last shot of rotation with the win at hand, BEYAEVA had her shot blocked by GORLERO, forcing sudden death at 16-16. Three from each team scored and then Simona ABBATE had her shot blocked by Maria KOVTUNOFSKAYA’s right hand. With victory moments away, ANTONOVA shot into GORLERO. Francesca POMERI and BELYAEVA converted. Elisa QUEIROLO made it 21-20 in Italy’s favour. IVANOVA swam up and her shot was blocked by hero GORLERO for an historic Italian victory.

 

DAY 5 - 18 June 2011

USA and Italy to battle out World League Super Final decider

By Russell McKinnon, FINA Press Commission Member  

TIANJIN, China (June 18).— Reigning champion United States of America will be shooting for its sixth FINA Women’s World League crown when it faces shock finalist Italy in the gold-medal final at the Tianjin Olympic Centre Swimming & Diving Pool tomorrow.

The USA came from 4-2 down at the quarter and 6-5 at halftime to beat Australia 8-7, breaking a 7-7 deadlock with an Elsie WINDES goal inside the final three minutes.

Italy repeated its mega effort of the night before when it beat Russia in a nail-biting shootout to defeat China 7-5 in the other semifinal with a scoreless final quarter.

For USA it is a chance to further stamp its authority on this event while Italy is looking to go one better than its one silver (Cosenza, Italy 2006) and one bronze (Long Beach 2004).

Margaret STEFFENS (USA), twice a scorer in the match with Australia, said her team took it “quarter by quarter, winning every little battle” as the match progressed.

On there being no panic in the team when behind at halftime, STEFFENS said: “There was adrenalin building in you all the time. We had to be smart on defence. We knew it was going to end up a swim meet as the Australians are super fast. It comes down to who can keep going the longest. “

Australian captain Kate GYNTHER said: “We had a great start to the game at 4-2 up but they kept us to three goals for the rest of the game., which was disappointing.  This week we have had a couple of  slow starts so that was a positive.”

On the recent tour, which included the Kirishi Cup in Russia, GYNTHER said: “We’ve had a good trip but a few inconsistent results. On Monday we head home and go into camp before Shanghai (FINA World Championships).

Italian head coach Fabio CONTI was modest after the victory over China.

“When a team arrives for a semifinal or a final, every time it is a different kind of game.

“I’m happy because our girls today played unlike the last game and used their heads to work until the end of the game with good character. This is good for our esteem and tomorrow (in the final with the USA) I hope they can stay happy. To make the final is a very good result.”

In the bottom end of the competition, Russia held of a spirited Spain 14-12 and Canada had the better of Greece 13-9.

Russia bolted out of the gate for a 4-0 start and ended the quarter 6-4 ahead. The next three periods were tied but the Spanish were hurt with the loss of star Blanca GIL late in the third period but were still egged on by captain Jennifer PAREJA who scored five goals.

Russian head coach Alexander KABANOV said it was hard for his team to get the motivation to play following the shock loss to Italy the night before.

“I’m glad we won but my players had no motivation to play better. A few goals were excellent. But we have played too much water polo in the past month. I did not want to come to Tianjin as we have played 17 games in Italy, Kirishi (Russia) and Tianjin.

KABANOV said the inability to finish top four in Tianjin would be excellent motivation for the FINA World Championships in Shanghai next month.

Canada set itself up for a rematch with Russia for fifth place with a 13-9 success over Greece, built mainly on a 6-1 second quarter.

Canadian head coach Pat OATEN said his team was starting to come together. “We have good shooters and they now realise they can shoot the ball. They followed the game plan for the first two quarters and we pushed the pace but we still have a lot of work to do.”

On tomorrow’s clash with Russia, OATEN said: “It will be an interesting and good game. We would like a little redemption for our one-goal loss (9-8 on day one). They will be looking to counter-attack us but we’ll deal with it.”

Greece head coach Georgios MORFESIS rued the poor conversion on extra man early in the game. “We didn’t do what we had to do. Coming back from 1-6 was difficult. We came back to two goals but I think the result was right. “

On the absence of star veteran Antigoni ROUMPESI: “We missed ROUMPESI’s scoring. She did not play because of a sore arm received in yesterday’s game. Her scoring is important.”

On where from here: “We just want to be good for the World Championships. That’s our aim.”

#17 ESP ESP 12 vs. RUS RUS 14

Quarters: 4-6, 1-1, 3-3, 4-4

Referees: Noel HARROD (AUS), John WALDOW (NZL)

Extra Man: ESP: 4/8. RUS: 4/12

Pens: ESP: 3/3. RUS: 2/2

Teams:

SPAIN: Ava COPADO, Blanca GIL (2), Ana ESPAR, Roser TARRAGO, Matilde ORTIZ (1), Jennifer PAREJA (5), Lorena MIRANDA, Pilar PENA (1), Andrea BLAS, Ona MESSEGUER, M. Carmen GARCIA (3), Marta BACH, Laura ESTER. Head Coach: Miguela OCA.

RUSSIA: Maria KOVTUNOFSKAYA, Nadezhda FEDOTOVA (3), Ekaterina PROKOFYEVA (4), Sofia KONUKH (3), Alexandra ANTONOVA, Victoria KUROCHKINA, Ekaterina LISUNOVA, Ekaterina ZELENTSOVA, Ekaterina TANKEEVA, Olga BELYAEVA (1), Evgenia IVANOVA (3), Yulia GAUFLER, Anna KARNAUKH. Head Coach: Alexander KABANOV

The opening two quarters were in stark contrast as the scoring suggests. The mobility and speed of the Russians at the start of the game was such that after four goals in four minutes, Spanish head coach Miki OCA called a timeout. Whatever he said, it worked. Within eight seconds Spain was in the game. Evgenia IVANOVA rattled in two of those, including one from seven metres while Nadezhda FEDOTOVA and Ekaterina PROKOFYEVA scored on extra. OCA’s timeout ploy saw captain Jennifer PAREJA score from the penalty line. M Carmen GARCIA then scored the first of her two centre-forward backhand goals before PAREJA speared one in from five metres. Spain was back to 4-3 behind. PROKOFYEVA sent in a lob from the top and GARCIA nabbed her second for 5-4. With the seconds ticking down, Ekaterina had the smarts to fire the ball high to PROKOFYEVA at three metres who turned and dragged the ball into goal with a few seconds spare for 6-4 to end the quarter. The second quarter was all defence and consolidation with PAREJA gaining her third from six metres and Russian captain KONUKH from the top on extra. KONUKH was out to make amends for being fouled out of the game  two minutes from the end of the third period and could not contest the penalty shootout against Italy.  Spain drew level at 7-7 in the third with Matilde ORTIZ gaining her first goal of the tournament when the ball went high to her in two metres and virtually fumbled it above the head of Russian goalkeeper Maria KOVTUNOFSKAYA and it dribbled across the line. Blanca GIL hit the scoring list with a marvellous turn at centre forward. Russia regained the ascendency with IVANOVA with her third from the top and FEDOTOVA from close in. GIL stopped the charge with a nine-metre rocket at 2:08 to trail 9-8. Then GIL committed the sin of holding two arms up within five metres when Russia was shooting, forcing a penalty shot, which KONUKH converted for 10-8 with nine seconds left in the period. KONUKH scored a second penalty goal two minutes into the fourth for 11-8. Russia nearly scored on counter but Spain shut it down only to leave FEDOTOVA free on the far side. She received the gift pass and scored for 12-8. OCA called his second timeout after a Russian goal and for the second time secured a penalty shot from the play. PAREJA converted (her fourth). GARCIA narrowed the margin to two with a power shot from five metres and PROKOFYEVA lobbed at the end of possession time. Olga BELYAEVA lobbed from two metres before Pilar PENA turned for a strong left-handed shot. Andrea BLAS gained a penalty, sending Ekaterina TANKEEVA from the game, giving PAREJA her fifth goal for 14-12 down.  It was a proud effort by Spain without GIL in the final quarter, where each team scored four goals.

#18 GRE GRE 9 vs. CAN CAN 13

Quarters: 1-1, 0-5, 5-3, 3-4

Referees: Filippo GOMEZ (ITA), Jurgen HAUSCHE (GER)

Extra Man: GRE: 5/15. CAN 4/10

Pens: GRE: 0/1. CAN: 0/0

Teams:

GREECE: Eleni KOUVDOU, Christina TSOUKALA (1), Antiopi MELIDONI, Ilektra Maria PSOUNI, Kyriaki LIOSI (1), Alkisti AVRAMIDOU (2), Alexandra ASIMAKI (3), Antigoni ROUMPESI, Angeliki GEROLYMOU (1), Triantafyllia MANOLIOUDAKI (1), Stavroula ANTONAKOU, Georgia LARA (1), Eleni GOULA. Head Coach: Georgios MORFESIS.

CANADA: Rachel RIDDELL, Krystina ALOGBO (2), Katrina MONTON, Emily CSIKOS (4), Stephanie VALIN, Whitney GENOWAY (1), Sophie BARON LA SALLE (5), Dominique PERREAULT (1), Monika EGGENS, Hanna YELIZAROVA, Tara CAMPBELL, Marina RADU, Serena BREDIN. Head Coach: Pat OATEN.

Canada turned up to play and after an initial feeling-out period, came good with a second-quarter surge that set up what was to be a four-goal victory. The first period was solid play but nothing flash as Greece opened through the powerful centre forward Alexandra ASIMAKI at two metres. It was four minutes later that Canada scored its first goal through Emily CSIKOS, also at two metres. Angeliki GEROLYMOU had a great chance for 2-1 just inside the last minute but Rachel RIDDELL climbed high and leaned left to stop the penalty shot. Sophie BARON LA SALLE, one of Canada’s rotation players, made the most of few opportunities when she scored three of her team’s five goals in the second quarter. She twice scored from the top while the other came off a drive and finished an excellent cross-pass. Captain Krystina ALOGBO and CSIKOS both converted extra-man plays. The 6-1, halftime lead was a massive boost for the Canadians. Greece fronted in the third period with Alkisti AVRAMIDOU netting on counter and ASIMAKI scoring on a double-extra situation either side of a Whitney GENOWAY (first for the tournament) goal. At 7-3, Greece had a chance but CSIKOS and LA SALLE scored in a minute for 9-3. In the final two minutes, Georgia LARA, Triantafyllia MANOLIOUDAKI and captain Kyriaki LIOSI went on the rampage. The first two came on extra with MANOLIOUDAKI snapping in a rebound from point-blank range. At 9-6 by the final break, Greece was still within winning distance. AVRAMIDOU made it a two-goal game from close in but ALOGBO responded. Both teams took a timeout to no avail. CSIKOS drilled the 11-7 goal after a swift offload from ALOGBO. ASIMAKI scored off the near post on extra; LA SALLE scored her fifth from five metres, Christina TSOUKALA converted extra and the game was 12-9 going into the last minute. Greece kept punching in shots but it was Dominique PERREAULT who scored last for Canada 21 seconds from time off a deflection.

#19 CHN CHN 5 vs. ITA ITA 7

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

Referees: Santiago RODRIGUEZ (ESP), Irfan SADEKOV (RUS)

Extra Man: CHN: 2/10. ITA: 3/7

Pens: CHN: 0/1. ITA: 1/1

Teams:

CHINA: YANG Jun, TENG Fei (2), LIU Ping (2), SUN Yujun, HE Jin (1), SUN Yating (1), SONG Donglun (2), CHEN Yuan (1), WANG Yi, MA Huanhuan (2), SUN Huizi (1), ZHANG Lei (1), WANG Ying. Head Coach: Juan JANE GIRALT.

ITALY: Giulia GOLERO, Simona ABBATE (1), Elisa CASANOVA (2), Giulia RAMBALDI, Martina SAVIOLI, Alegra LAPI, Marta COLAIOCCO, Roberta BIANCONI (4), Giulia EMMOLO (6), Francesca POMERI (2), Aleksandra COTTI, Teresa FRASSINETTI (3), Elisa QUEIROLO (3). Head Coach: Fabio CONTI.

Italy proved that beating Russia in a sudden-death penalty shootout was not out of character and a solid effort against a hesitant China was just reward to make the final . There was never going to be much in this game, much like the previous semifinal. SUN Huizi started China’s scoring from close in. Roberta BIANCONI converted a penalty. TENG Fei had her penalty attempt blocked by Giulia GORLERO and Giulia EMMOLO ripped one in from seven metres for a 2-1 quarter-time lead. SONG Donglun scored after receiving a cross-pass. Simona ABBATE responded from deep left-hand catch while SUN Yating slapped in a rebound from in front to level the game at 3-3 by halftime. EMMOLO converted extra to take the early second-half lead but ZHANG Lei went deep on the right, wasn’t guarded and she scored from an acute angle. ABBATE netted a second from the top but SONG replied on extra from the far post for 5-5. China’s attraction to Italy then distanced a little as EMMOLO became the equal highest goal-scorer with her third and fourth goals for the game and 12th of the tournament. The first was on extra and the second from five metres for 7-5 at the final break. Italy used its second timeout after earlier stopping between EMMOLO’s goals. Nothing made the scoresheet. Two minutes later China used its first timeout in an effort to get within a goal. ZHANG was the go-to girl but her acute-angle shot went wide. China still looked too tentative on attack and shots were generally blocked but none was a top effort. Juan JANE GIRALT used his second timeout at 1:57 when the future looked grim. The attack was weak. Italy worked hard on attack to no avail but managed to retain possession at the crucial stage to secure a gold-medal berth. As with the previous semifinal, the losing team both missed critical penalty attempts.

#20 AUS AUS 7 vs. USA USA 8

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

Referees: Andreas MOIRALIS (GRE), German MOLLER (ARG)

Extra Man: AUS: 3/7. USA: 4/8

Pens: AUS: 0/1. USA: 0/0

Teams:

AUSTRALIA: Alicia McCORMACK, Gemma BEADSWORTH, Sophie SMITH, Rebecca RIPPON (1), Jane MORAN, Bronwen KNOX (1), Rowena WEBSTER (3), Kate GYNTHER, Glencora RALPH (1), Holly LINCOLN-SMITH (2), Ashleigh SOUTHERN (2), Nicola ZAGAME, Kelsey WAKEFIELD. Head Coach: Alexander OSADCHUK.

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Elizabeth ARMSTRONG, Heather PETRI, Melissa SEIDEMANN (1), Brenda VILLA (1), Lauren WENGER, Courtney MATHEWSON (1), JESSICA STEFFENS, LAUREN SILVER (1), Elsie WINDES (1), Kelly RULON (2), Annika DRIES (1), Kameryn CRAIG, Margaret STEFFENS. HEAD COACH: Adam KRIKORIAN.

The USA came from 4-2, 5-4 and 6-5 down to take the three-quarter lead at 7-6 and win the first semifinal. Australia was restricted to three goals in the second half and that proved costly against a team hungry for a sixth gold. Australia must have been happy with a 2-0 start, Holly LINCOLN-SMITH scoring from the hole and Gemma BEADSWORTH doing the same soon after when she replaced LINCOLN-SMITH. Lauren SILVER, who has played the last few seasons for a Sydney club in the Australian National League, scored from seven metres on extra.. Nicola ZAGAME made it 3-1 with a taunting goal against Betsy ARMSTRONG at two metres. Jessica STEFFENS threaded the gap with a bouncer on extra and Bronwen KNOX added the third centre-forward goal for the Aussie Stingers to lead 4-2 at the break. Maggie Steffens scored from extra and then Ashleigh SOUTHERN sent a penalty shot into the right upright. Lauren WENGER scored an easy goal on a defensive mix-up by the Australians to level the game at 4-4. KNOX drove the right, collected an ejection, continued with the drive, received the ball and scored at 2:23. Kelly RULON converted her penalty attempt for 5-5. The Stingers called a timeout and the result was captain Kate GYNTHER nailing the conversion just as the returning player neared. Australia led 6-5 at halftime. The third period — the money quarter — was a riveting, defensive affair but no goals came until inside the three-minute mark when Maggie STEFFENS sent in a slider to the right. Annika DRIES drew a wonderful penalty foul inside the last minute and Courtney MATHEWSON converted for the USA’s first lead of the match. Australia had a chance on extra in the dying seconds of the quarter but botched the cross-pass, making for a sloppy shot. BEADSWORTH lobbed on extra three minutes into the final quarter for 7-7. Two minutes later Elsie WINDES was left free at the top and she shot comfortably for the lead. The USA used a timeout but the shot hit the crossbar. Australia called time and the resulting shot hit the crossbar. The USA called another timeout just to shut the game down in the final 10 seconds. Australia gained the ball with three seconds left but the clock did not stop and there was no chance to shoot. The USA had deservedly won the match.

Leading goal-scorers:
12           Sofia KONUKH (RUS)
12           Giulia EMMOLO (ITA)
11           Blanca GIL (ESP)
11           Evgenia IVANOVA (RUS)
10           Jennifer PAREJA (ESP)  
10           Bronwen KNOX (AUS)
9              MA Huanhuan (CHN)
9              Emily CSIKOS (CAN)
8              Antigoni ROUMPESI (GRE)
8              M GARCIA (ESP)
8              Ekaterina PROKOFYEVA (RUS)
8              Kate GYNTHER (AUS)
8              Roberta BIANCONI (ITA)
8              Simona ABBATE (ITA)
7              Olga BELYAEVA (RUS)
7              Hanna YELIZAROVA (CAN)
7              TENG Fei (CHN)
7              SUN Yating (CHN)
6              Krystina ALOGBO (CAN)
6              Ona MESSEGUER (ESP)
6              Stavroula ANTONAKOU (GRE)
7              SUN Yating (CHN)
6              Kelly RULON (USA)
5              Aleksandra COTTI (ITA)
5              Natalia RYZHOVA-ALENICHEVA (RUS)    
5              Ashleigh SOUTHERN (AUS)
5              Brenda VILLA (USA)
5              SUN Yujun (CHN)
5              FEDOTOVA (RUS)

 

 

DAY 6 – 19 July 2011

Unstoppable USA claims incredible sixth World League crown

By Russell McKinnon, FINA Press Commission Member  

TIANJIN, China (June 19).— United States of America continued its domination of the FINA Women’s World League crown with an incredible sixth title against Italy in the gold-medal final at the Tianjin Olympic Centre Swimming & Diving Pool this evening.

The USA escaped the doldrums and a 7-7 tie inside the final five minutes to win 9-7. The top-of-the-dais effort means the North Americans have won all the major events for the last two years — 2009 World Championship, 2010 World Cup and three successive World Leagues — and is an ominous sign leading up to next year’s London Olympic Games.

The only time in the eight editions of the World League that the USA did not stand on the podium was in Kirishi, Russia in 2005 (finishing fifth). In 2008, Russia had the better of the USA in the final.

For Brenda VILLA and Heather PETRI it was their sixth World League gold medal to go with their three Olympic medals and three FINA World Championship golds. VILLA, named to the Media All Star Team, also has World Cup gold in her collection.

Betsy ARMSTRONG, voted the tournament’s best goalkeeper, secured her fourth gold medal along with Lauren WENGER, Elsie WINDES and Kameryn CRAIG. Three others took home their third golds and three more their second.

It was a second silver medal for Italy to go with the 2006 one, alongside two bronzes. Italy had not qualified the last two years and finished eighth at its last appearance in 2009.

USA head coach Adam KRIKORIAN said: “We escaped with a win. We missed a lot of six-on-five chances. They had a lot of momentum going into the game.

“To come from behind and pull out a win shows a lot of character.”

On what the tournament means leading into the FINA World Championships in Shanghai next month, KRIKORIAN said: “It’s great preparation for everyone here. All teams will now go back home and analyse the things they did well and not so well. They will make adjustments and bring their A game to Shanghai.”

On winning five titles in the past two years: “I have a short memory. You are only as good as your next game.”

For Italian captain Elise CASANOVA, it was a wonderful moment. “We have a new team and we are very strong. They are younger and I am not. I am 38 but inside I am 15 or 16. I like to play with this team. We play all of the match and the spirit is OK.

On what she will do tonight to celebrate making the final and taking home silver: “They will dance. I will sleep. They are young and I am not,” she said.

Australia won the battle for third place, beating China 7-5 after surviving many scares in the final minutes.

China laid siege to the Australian goal for much of that time, regaining the ball off goalie deflections and two extra-man chances but not conversions. It was sad for China, playing at its best without GAO Ao, who missed the tournament through injury, but it was Australia’s day.

For Australia, it was a fourth bronze medal to go with the two silvers won in the last two years.

Head coach Greg McFADDEN said he was “over the moon” with the victory.

“It was a great team effort but we had to work on extra man. We nullified their extra man and they were lucky to score. We talked about what to do each quarter and it paid off.”

On the outlook for Shanghai next month: “I am happy where we are. We were unlucky against the USA and against Russia we had a bad start. It’s close at the top of the world. Now it’s Shanghai and we have a big game first up against Canada.”

Russia, so much feared this year but who stumbled against Italy to miss the semifinals, rolled Canada 14-9 for fifth place. In the first game of the tournament, Russia won 9-8 in the clash between the two. Captain Sofia KONUKH justifiably made the ALL Star team again.

Russian head coach Alexander KABANOV said his team played better than the past few days.

“The first game is always different and the players nervous. Today it was easy. We knew what to expect from them and expect from us.”

On the massive counter-attack success by Russia: “I think this is usually important. Our counter-attack was successful and we had many times where we were one and two players up. Maybe they didn’t want to swim today!”

Canadian head coach Pat OATEN was blunt about his team’s effort: “They scored eight counter-attack goals. It killed us. I felt there was never any flow to the game and we can’t convert the man up!”

Greece defeated Spain 14-8 for seventh place. It was Greece’s best quality play of the week and possibly Spain’s worst. Spain lost star centre forward M Carmen GARCIA with a bleeding wound near her right eye for the third period but returned for the fourth.

Georgia LARA (GRE) said it was an important game. We will meet (Spain) for sure at the Worlds. Today was the best we could play. Most of the time we concentrated and did what we said we would do.

“We tried some new things and most were helpful as the score was good and we won. Our extra (man) was good and we had a good rhythm, which is most important for us.”

Spanish head coach Miki OCA was most upset with the way his team lost.

“I was very disappointed, much more than the first two days (when Spain lost 14-6 to Australia and Russia). We learned our lessons but then we didn’t. It hurts me because we should be getting better as the tournament progresses. We will learn and grow.”

Joining ARMSTRONG, VILLA and KONUKH in the All Star team were Italy’s left-hander Giulia EMMOLO, Australia’s Kate GYNTHER, China’s MA Huanhuan and Russia’s Olga BELYAEVA.

With the World League Super Final completed, all eyes and focus will be on next month’s FINA World Championships in Shanghai.

#21 ESP ESP 8 vs GRE GRE 14 (7th place)

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

Referees: Amber DRURY (USA), MENG An Long (CHN)

Extra Man: ESP: 3/9. GRE: 6/14

Pens: ESP: 0/0. GRE: 0/0

Teams:

SPAIN: Ava COPADO, Blanca GIL (2), Ana ESPAR (1), Roser TARRAGO (1), Matilde ORTIZ (1), Jennifer PAREJA, Lorena MIRANDA, Pilar PENA, Andrea BLAS (1), Ona MESSEGUER (1), M. Carmen GARCIA (1), Marta BACH, Laura ESTER. Head Coach: Miguela OCA.

GREECE: Eleni KOUVDOU, Christina TSOUKALA (2), Antiopi MELIDONI (1), Ilektra Maria PSOUNI (1), Kyriaki LIOSI (1), Alkisti AVRAMIDOU (1), Alexandra ASIMAKI (2), Antigoni ROUMPESI, Angeliki GEROLYMOU (1), Triantafyllia MANOLIOUDAKI (4), Stavroula ANTONAKOU (1), Georgia LARA (1), Eleni GOULA. Head Coach: Georgios MORFESIS.

Greece played some of its best water polo of the tournament, coming from 1-0 down to lead 4-3 at the quarter and 9-4 by halftime. Spain tried hard against the onslaught but the forward strike power went out of Spain when star centre forward M Carmen GARCIA received a cut near her right eye while wrestling at two metres. She left the water with bloody streaming down her face, was treated poolside and returned for the fourth quarter.  Spain led through Blanca GIL from six metres but Alexandra ASIMAKI replied with the easiest of turning goals at two metres. GARCIA scored with a tip on from the left-post position for 2-1. Then Greece got serious with Triantafyllia MANOLIOUDAKI and Antiopi MELIDONI from the left-hand-catch position and Angeliki GEROLYMOU from the other side, taking Greece to 4-2. Roser TARRAGO scored an excellent lob from deep left six seconds from time for 4-3. Greece increased the tempo even further with Maria PSOUNI from the top; Kyriaki LIOSI on a drive on extra down the right and Christina TSOUKALA from the top on extra for 7-3. Spain called a timeout immediately after the goal to settle the team. Ona MESSEGUER scored on a counter for Spain but MANOLIOUDAKI jumped on a rebound to score and GIL scored three seconds from halftime to come within three of Greece at 8-5. Soon after the restart, GARCIA received her blood substitution. MANOLIOUDAKI scored from a rebound for 9-5. Greece called time and converted the extra-man attack through Stavroula ANTONAKOU. Greece led 10-5 at the final break. MANOLIOUDAKI started the fourth with a lob from deep right and Matilde ORTIZ received a short cross pass to the near post on extra for 11-6. The next three goals went to Greece with ASIMAKI lobbing at two metres, Alkisti AVRAMIDOU and TSOUKALA taking the score to 14-6. Spain scored the last two goals through Ana ESPAR on counter and Andrea BLAS from the top.

#22 RUS RUS 14 vs CAN CAN 9 (5th place)

Quarters: 4-1, 2-2, 4-2, 4-4

Referees: Noel HARROD (AUS), John WALDOW (NZL)

Extra Man: RUS: 0/6. CAN: 4/9

Pens: RUS: 2/2. CAN: 2/2

Teams:

RUSSIA: Maria KOVTUNOVSKAYA, Nadezhda FEDOTOVA (2), Ekaterina PROKOFYEVA (3), Sofia KONUKH (2), Alexandra ANTONOVA, Victoria KUROCHKINA, Ekaterina LISUNOVA (1), Ekaterina TANKEEVA (1), Olga BELYAEVA (3), Evgenia IVANOVA (1), Yulia GAUFLER, Ekaterina ZELENTSOVA,. Head Coach: Alexander KABANOV.

CANADA: Rachel RIDDELL, Krystina ALOGBO (1), Katrina MONTON, Emily CSIKOS (2), Sophie BARON LA SALLE (1), Whitney GENOWAY (1), (Rosanna TOMIUK (1), Dominique PERREAULT (1), Monika EGGENS, (1) Hanna YELIZAROVA (1), Tara CAMPBELL (1), Marina RADU, Serena BREDIN. Head Coach: Pat OATEN.

Russia ran away with the match against Canada, or more precisely, swam away, especially on counter attack. It made the task look easy and showed why Russia should have been in the semifinals. Russia took control of the first half, remembering well the tough game on day one where it was 3-3 at halftime. Olga BELYAEVA scored first from centre forward and KRYSTINA ALOGBO replied, claiming a rebound and slowly shooting from in close. In just over three minutes Russia had three more. BELYAEVA sent in a backhand goal from two metres, Nadezhda FEDOTOVA scored on extra from deep and Ekaterina PROKOFYEVA netted on the drive for 4-1, 11 seconds from the buzzer. Hanna YELIZAROVA converted a penalty for Canada (her eighth goal for the week). PROKOFYEVA gained a deflection of her shot from the top and EVGENIYA SOBOLEVA converted from the penalty line for 6-2. Whitney GENOWAY eased the pain for Canada on a short drive six seconds from halftime. Monika EGGENS rifled one in from the top, two minutes into the third period. BELYAEVA scored her third and 10th for the tournament from centre forward, followed by a PROKOFYEVA lob at the end of counter. Tara CAMPBELL replied for Canada but Sofia KONUKH and Evgenia IVANOVA lifted Russia to 10-5, the last with a swift drive on counter down the right. FEDOTOVA scored on extra and Canada replied through Rosanna TOMIUK on penalty for 11-6. Evgenia IVANOVA was suspended at this time. Canada used its first timeout at 6:22 but no score. KONUKH shifted at two metres and received an angled pass to score from the far post. Emily CSIKOS scored a skip shot on extra for 12-7.  Ekaterina LISUNOVA scored a penalty goal and Ekaterina TANKEEVA drove down the left to score at 1:51 for 14-7. Canada used a second timeout and Sophie BARON LA SALLE converted the extra. CSIKOS grabbed her second on extra in the last three seconds for 11 during the tournament.

As an aside, the match was the last that long-serving international referee Noel HARROD (AUS) would officiate a senior FINA match.

#23 AUS AUS 7 vs CHN CHN 5 (3rd place)

Quarters: 1-2, 2-2, 2-1, 2-0

Referees: Filippo GOMEZ (ITA), Marie-Claude DESLIERES (CAN)

Extra Man: AUS: 1/6. CHN: 2/10

Pens: AUS: 1/1. CHN: 0/0

Teams:

AUSTRALIA: Alicia McCORMACK, Gemma BEADSWORTH (2), Sophie SMITH, Rebecca RIPPON (1), Jane MORAN, Ashleigh SOUTHERN (1), Rowena WEBSTER (1), Kate GYNTHER (1), Keesja GOFERS, Holly LINCOLN-SMITH, Nicola ZAGAME, Kelsey WAKEFIELD. Head Coach: Alexander OSADCHUK.

CHINA: YANG Jun, TENG Fei, LIU Ping, SUN Yujun, HE Jin, SUN Yating (1), SONG Donglun (1), CHEN Yuan, WANG Yi, MA Huanhuan (3), SUN Huizi, ZHANG Lei, WANG Ying. Head Coach: Juan JANE GIRALT.

Australia finished on top of China for the bronze medal after not gaining the lead until two minutes in the final quarter. It was a controlled water polo from both sides but Australia’s superior extra-man defence proved critical. Frequent training partners, Australia and China were going to provide a tight game. Aussie Stingers captain Kate GYNTHER opened the scoring on penalty at 3:49. SUN Yating made the most of a loose ball and poor Australian defence to push the ball into goal from one metre on the next attack. SONG Donglun rifled in a shot from deep on the left, careering in off the far post for 2-1 at the quarter. MA Huanhuan made it 3-1 with a lob on extra. Two minutes later Ash SOUTHERN drove down the right and threaded a goal past the defence. Rowena WEBSTER levelled the game at 3-3 a minute after. MA struck again 1:15 from halftime with a straight shot from the left side of the pool across the cage, catching out Aussie goalkeeper Kelsey WAKEFIELD. China would have been pleased with its lead and a half, which was easily its best of the tournament. Gemma BEADSWORTH smashed one in from the top to level at 4-4. Australia showed some good defence on extra but the defender dropped off MA, against the coach’s orders and she shot from well out with a well-aimed projectile for 5-4 at 6:21. Australia called timeout at 5:21 on extra. For TENG Fei it was her third foul. No score came from the ploy but three minutes later SOUTHERN scored her second for 5-5. In the fourth period China went to a timeout for no joy but Australia scored on the next attack when Rebecca RIPPON sent in an acute-angled shot to take the lead for the first time. There was still six minutes left and China had most of the attack and in one instance twice regained the ball off a shot and gained extra man but no score came. The game was put beyond doubt when BEADSWORTH lobbed from six metres at 2:04. China had four more attacks and two extra-man chances until the buzzer but could not find a hole and had to settle for fourth, one placing south of the historic bronze medal gained at last year’s FINA World Cup in Christchurch, New Zealand.

#24 USA USA 9 vs ITA ITA 7 (1st place)

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

Referees: Gabor VOGEL (HUN), German MOLLER (ARG)

Extra Man: ITA: 2/12. USA 5/12

Pens: ITA: 0/0. USA: 0/1

Teams:

ITALY: Giulia GORLERO, Simona ABBATE, Elisa CASANOVA (1), Giulia RAMBALDI, Martina SAVIOLI, Alegra LAPI (3), Marta COLAIOCCO, Roberta BIANCONI (3), Giulia EMMOLO, Francesca POMERI, Aleksandra COTTI, Teresa FRASSINETTI, Elisa QUEIROLO. Head Coach: Fabio CONTI.

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Elizabeth ARMSTRONG, Margaret STEFFENS (2), Melissa SEIDEMANN, Brenda VILLA (3), Lauren WENGER, Courtney MATHEWSON (3), JESSICA STEFFENS, LAUREN SILVER, Elsie WINDES, Kelly RULON, Annika DRIES (1), Kameryn CRAIG, Tumuaialii ANAE. HEAD COACH: Adam KRIKORIAN.

The tournament went to script when the USA beat Italy in the gold-medal final but Italy paid no heed to it and led midway through the third period and came back to level the game inside the final five minutes. The USA appeared to have a dream start with a penalty foul sending Kelly RULON to the line. However were shot was blocked by Giulia GORLERO. Italy did not miss on the next attack with Roberta BIANCONI drilling a shot from the top on extra. Brenda VILLA and Courtney MATHEWSON both scored on left-hand catch with the second goal coming three seconds from the buzzer to give the USA a 2-1 lead. Then came the LAPI factor. It was Alegra LAPI, so quiet all tournament when it comes to scoring, who stood up big time and scored three goals in the second quarter. All were from out the top with the middle shot coming in from downtown Beijing with a lob. The only joy for USA was Margaret STEFFENS on extra, also from outside. Italy proved that losing the first three games meant nothing. Italy took a timeout early in the third but no goal eventuated. But a minute later it was captain Elise CASANOVA who set the place alight with a fierce drive and shot while her head was underwater. Lauren WENGER bravely took the full impact of the drive but the sneaky shot caught Betsy ARMSTRONG unawares. At 5-3 ahead most people were stunned but not the North Americans. Firstly it was Annika DRIES in the hole who leaned over and flicked in a rebounded ball. Two minutes later, coach Adam KRIKORIAN called a timeout, got the whiteboard out and instructed his team what to do. MATHEWSON finished the plan from the five-metre line on extra to tie the game for the fourth time. As the time ticked down, RULON made amends for the missed penalty by lobbing from five metres four seconds from the final break. The championship quarter had arrived and the USA, sniffing a sixth crown, sent the ball deep left to the go-to girl, MATHEWSON, who squeezed in her third in the bottom left for 7-5. Italy struck back within a minute through BIANCONI on right-hand catch. BIANCONI chanced her arm again when she sent in a missile, hitting the right upright, bouncing off the back of ARMSTRONG and into goal for 7-7 at 4:47. VILLA then screamed in a shot, sweeping it around her body, cross-cage into the left at 3:57 and the lead. BIANCONI missed a big lob, hitting the right upright. At 2:16, Margaret STEFFENS scored the exact way VILLA did less than two minutes before, giving the USA a huge 9-7 advantage in such a tight game. BIANCONI fell off the shot on extra on the next attack. Both teams had attacks blocked before USA went to a timeout. The plan was to waste time and an ejection was gained. The ball was wasted  until 12 seconds but the last shot from Elisa QUEIROLO barely made ARMSTRONG. USA was a six-times winner and $100,000 richer.

World League Super Finat 2011

USA 1st Super Final 2011

FINAL PLACINGS
1. United States of America
2. Italy
3. Australia
4. China 
5. Russia
6. Canada
7. Greece
8. Spain

MEDIA ALL STAR TEAM
Goalkeeper:                       Betsy ARMSTRONG (USA)
Centre Forward:               Olga BELYAEVA (RUS)
Left-Hander:                      Giulia EMMOLO (ITA)
Drivers:                                Sofia KONUKH (RUS)
Kate GYNTHER (AUS)
MA Huanhuan (CHN)
Brenda VILLA (USA)


LEADING GOAL-SCORERS

14           Sofia KONUKH (RUS)
13           Blanca GIL (ESP)
12           Giulia EMMOLO (ITA)
12           Evgenia IVANOVA (RUS)
12           MA Huanhuan (CHN)
11           Emily CSIKOS (CAN)
11           Ekaterina PROKOFYEVA (RUS)
11           Roberta BIANCONI (ITA)
10           Jennifer PAREJA (ESP)  
10           Bronwen KNOX (AUS)
10           Olga BELYAEVA (RUS)

 

 

 

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