Tokyo Olympics

US Senior/Junior Teams
jeff
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Tokyo Olympics

Postby jeff » Sat Jul 24, 2021 10:22 am

USA 25, Japan 4

Maggie Steffens scored 5 goals, giving her 43 Olympic goals. She needs to score 5 more goals to break the women's Olympic scoring record. Ashleigh Johnson, the greatest female goalie of all time, had 15 saves. It seems like this would have been a good game for Amanda Longan to get extensive playing time.

https://usawaterpolo.org/news/2021/7/24 ... games.aspx

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2plyBathingSuit
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Re: Tokyo Olympics

Postby 2plyBathingSuit » Sat Jul 24, 2021 5:31 pm

jeff wrote:USA 25, Japan 4

Maggie Steffens scored 5 goals, giving her 43 Olympic goals. She needs to score 5 more goals to break the women's Olympic scoring record. Ashleigh Johnson, the greatest female goalie of all time, had 15 saves. It seems like this would have been a good game for Amanda Longan to get extensive playing time.

https://usawaterpolo.org/news/2021/7/24 ... games.aspx


Watch out for Stephania Haralabidis. If this amazing lefty hangs around,...the WSNT will never get beat for as long as she's on the team.

Rbpolo0414
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Re: Tokyo Olympics

Postby Rbpolo0414 » Sat Jul 24, 2021 6:09 pm

jeff wrote:USA 25, Japan 4

Maggie Steffens scored 5 goals, giving her 43 Olympic goals. She needs to score 5 more goals to break the women's Olympic scoring record. Ashleigh Johnson, the greatest female goalie of all time, had 15 saves. It seems like this would have been a good game for Amanda Longan to get extensive playing time.

https://usawaterpolo.org/news/2021/7/24 ... games.aspx


Especially since she will need to play at some point or she won’t get a medal. I bet she plays against China.

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Re: Tokyo Olympics

Postby madone » Mon Jul 26, 2021 2:18 am

Looked sluggish tonight. Solid 2nd half. Hopefully, that’s the weak game of the tourney.

Not sure how the Chinese center defenders and centers got away with so many obvious fouls. Kind of ridiculous.

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Re: Tokyo Olympics

Postby ephpolo » Mon Jul 26, 2021 6:58 am

madone wrote:Looked sluggish tonight. Solid 2nd half. Hopefully, that’s the weak game of the tourney.

Not sure how the Chinese center defenders and centers got away with so many obvious fouls. Kind of ridiculous.


Yes, but so was the US suit holding, which also went mostly uncalled.

Looking at the scoreheet, the referees didn't call much. No penalties against either team. Six exclusions against China; four against the US.

OCPoloDad
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Re: Tokyo Olympics

Postby OCPoloDad » Tue Jul 27, 2021 9:50 am

ephpolo wrote:
madone wrote:Looked sluggish tonight. Solid 2nd half. Hopefully, that’s the weak game of the tourney.

Not sure how the Chinese center defenders and centers got away with so many obvious fouls. Kind of ridiculous.


Yes, but so was the US suit holding, which also went mostly uncalled.

Looking at the scoreheet, the referees didn't call much. No penalties against either team. Six exclusions against China; four against the US.


Yes, the game was physical. Steffens got popped, and am still wondering if that was unintentional or not. On a side note, been watching the 3x3 half court basketball, and saw the same in the China-U.S Woman's game which led me to to think why have Ref's as its basically playground ball.

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Sunny
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Re: Tokyo Olympics

Postby Sunny » Tue Jul 27, 2021 3:43 pm

Does anyone have a subscription to The NY Times online? If so, would you copy/paste this article here? Would love to read it, but apparently am out of free articles for the month (I honestly don’t remember reading any online NYT articles, but oh well).

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/07/26/spor ... women.html

Edited to add: got it!

The Most Dominant Team at the Games Might Be Better Than Ever

The U.S. women’s water polo team won Olympic championships in London and Rio. A one-year delay of the Tokyo Games merely gave it more time to improve.

Updated July 27, 2021, 10:35 p.m. ET18 minutes ago

Hiroko Masuike/The New York Times

TOKYO — There is never a shortage of strong American teams heading to the Olympics. The women’s basketball team has won six consecutive gold medals, and the men’s team three in a row. The larger-than-life personalities on the World Cup-winning women’s soccer team have captured the news media spotlight, and the women’s gymnastics team, led by Simone Biles, is a heavy favorite in Tokyo.

Don’t miss a moment at the Tokyo Olympics Sign up for our daily email update. .

But one of the best United States squads is one you may have never seen: the U.S. women’s water polo team.

The team won the Olympic championship in 2012 and 2016. And the last three world championships. And the last three world cups, the last six World Leagues and the last five Pan American Games. Between the 2016 and 2020 Olympics, in fact, the team won 128 games, while losing only three.

And the Americans don’t merely win their games, they dominate in them. The United States beat Italy at the 2016 Olympics, 12-5, and thumped Spain in the last two world championships, 11-6 and 13-6. And those were the finals. In preliminary rounds, 20-goal victories were not unusual.

On Saturday, the Americans got their Olympic Games started with a 25-4 win over Japan. Even when the United States does stutter, it normally doesn’t last long: On Monday, the team was tied with China, 6-6, at halftime. China managed only one more goal, though, and the United States pulled away to win comfortably, 12-7.

Even opponents acknowledge the clear superiority of the U.S. team. “I feel honored because it is my first Olympic game, and we played it with the United States, which is the strongest in the world,” Yumi Arima of Japan said after Saturday’s demolition.

Deep and talented, the U.S. team boasts two true superstars. Maggie Steffens, 28, the captain, is perhaps the best player in the women’s game, the scorer of the most goals and the winner of most valuable player honors at both the London and Rio Games. Her teammate Ashleigh Johnson, 26, may be the world’s best goalkeeper. The first Black woman to play on the American team, she had the top save percentage in her first Olympic Games, in 2016.

She is also a geographical exception: While, as a group, the players are mostly Californians, Johnson is a Floridian who became a first-team all-American at Princeton. “I’m an outsider in a lot of ways,” she said. “Water polo isn’t a very popular sport in Miami.”

What Johnson and all of her teammates have, though, is the kind of multidimensional intelligence that is vital in their tactical, fast-shifting sport.

“You’re playing three games when it comes to water polo,” said Steffens, who has undergraduate and master’s degrees from Stanford. “You’re playing the overwater game that fans can see. You’re playing the underwater game that no one can see — you have to be calm while underwater there is all this chaos.

“And the third is the mental game: mental toughness, resilience, but also intelligence. Water polo is like a moving chess board. Every time you think you’ve solved the problem, there’s another moving piece.”

In most years, the United States measures itself against a standard that few of its rivals ever approach. But over the past year, it may have gained an unexpected benefit from the disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Normally, the U.S. women get together only in summers and for 15 months leading to an Olympics. This time, because the Tokyo Games were delayed for a year, 15 months turned into 27.

That kind of extended togetherness has created a sixth sense among the players, Johnson said. “If you can anticipate and read what your teammate is planning to do, and meet them where they are, before they get there, that’s a huge advantage,” she said. “Moments when maybe they’re struggling, and you can step in and help, that just builds a depth of trust. It’s really hard to play against that.

“If your team is a group of six or seven women who can act as one, then you might be unstoppable. That’s pretty cool.”

Can this year’s team lose? The pandemic has led to disadvantages, too, as games against international opposition have been postponed and canceled. That means the United States played only four international games in 2020. Because of that, there may be things about opponents that the American players simply do not know, and won’t know until they’re in the water together.

“The journey has been a bit rocky,” said Coach Adam Krikorian, who also led the United States in London and Rio. “It’s worked against us at times. It’s tough when you’re just competing against each other.”

As the wait for Tokyo went on and on, though, even his superteam risked losing its edge. Krikorian acknowledged that during the pandemic he sometimes had trouble motivating the players, some of whom had put their lives on hold to train for the Games and then were asked to do so again. Several members of the team are well into their second decade of elite competition.

“Consistency and camaraderie can lead to complacency,” he said. “All of us having struggled over motivation, especially over the last 15, 16 months.

“Add to that, we’ve had so much success, and it’s natural for us to relax a little bit. One of my main responsibilities is to keep this team on edge. I’m blessed in that they are incredibly competitive, so it doesn’t take a whole lot to get them going.”

Steffens said she motivated herself by setting aside her two previous gold medals. “Our team this year — that team has never won an Olympic gold medal,” she said.

Acknowledging that the team’s early games may include blowouts, and even more opportunities for the team to let down its guard, Johnson said she and the other players had discussed focusing not on the scoreboard but on the game plan, and on the smaller battles and victories, whatever the score.

“Every type of game has its own little mental battle,” she said. “When there’s a huge score disparity, it’s not necessarily reflective of the team. We’re looking at the best tools of the other team, and trying to take those away.”

Krikorian said: “I go into every game thinking that there’s a good chance we may lose. That allows me to stay focused. I would like to think there’s a trickle-down effect.”

If there’s a team that might be able to match the United States in Tokyo, it could be Australia, the only opponent to defeat the United States since the Rio Games. The U.S. players and coaches pointed to the physicality of the Australians as well as the veteran leadership of Bronwen Knox, who will be playing in her fourth Olympics.

But even that rivalry has hardly been a close competition: In 22 encounters against Australia since Rio, the United States is 19-3.

Until they are knocked off their perch, the U.S. stars are prepared to take on all comers. They know, they said, that it is the only way the sport they currently dominate will grow.

“South Africa, this is their first time,” Steffens said of other potential new rivals. “When they go home, guess what the little girls can feel? They say, ‘I can beat her, I can go to the Olympics one day.’ That’s what’s going to grow the sport, especially for women.

“I think about Croatia, Serbia, Montenegro, some of the powerhouses of men’s water polo. Why can’t they be powerhouses of women’s water polo?”

And despite their own team’s record of success, the players know the United States has room to grow, too.

“Water polo is concentrated in California,” said Johnson, the Princeton graduate from Miami. “There is so much untapped talent in the U.S. that has yet to be seen. We want all of the best to be representing our sport.”

If that happens, imagine how good the U.S. team will be.


Hiroko Masuike/The New York Times
Victor Mather covers every sport for The Times.

A version of this article appears in print on July 27, 2021, Section B, Page 10 of the New York edition with the headline: A Powerhouse Looks More Powerful Than Ever.

Sctrojanje
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Re: Tokyo Olympics

Postby Sctrojanje » Wed Jul 28, 2021 2:03 am

Whelp

madone
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Re: Tokyo Olympics

Postby madone » Wed Jul 28, 2021 2:13 am

I hope this loss helps kick-start everything.

You can do this, ladies!

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Re: Tokyo Olympics

Postby wpolo93 » Wed Jul 28, 2021 3:49 am

USA lost to Hungary 9:10. A good wake up call perhaps.

Hungary did not offer much of a resistance during a recent four games series but played USA much closer in the WL tournament, at least during the first three quarters. If Hungary beats Japan (a near certainty) and China (likely) they will finish first in the group.

USA plays Russia on Friday. Russia, like Hungary, did not offer much of a resistance during their recent three game series against USA. But then they tied Hungary 10:10 in the first game of the group stage. I expect the USA team to win by 5 or more on Friday .

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Re: Tokyo Olympics

Postby OCPoloDad » Wed Jul 28, 2021 9:29 am

Yes, things did not look fluid with their offense, especially 6x5, but credit the Hungary field defense. Maybe a little impatience in quick shots on the 6x5 a couple times and against high level teams, every possession matters. I agree, things will be righted Friday.

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Re: Tokyo Olympics

Postby madone » Wed Jul 28, 2021 2:05 pm

yes, lots of quick shooting or extra passing when a shot was available. Looks like they are also looking for too many calls from the officials, especially at center.

Major shout to Mel, who is such an important part of that team. Her leadership and skill is so evident. A true veteran.

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Re: Tokyo Olympics

Postby ephpolo » Wed Jul 28, 2021 4:10 pm

madone wrote:yes, lots of quick shooting or extra passing when a shot was available. Looks like they are also looking for too many calls from the officials, especially at center.


I am not seeing the Olympic officials calling the supposedly automatic penalty foul for defenders inside 6 meters fouling players who are facing the goal with the ball from behind. I've heard the announcers talk about this a lot, but I have not seen a lot of those calls.

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Re: Tokyo Olympics

Postby Cornershot » Wed Jul 28, 2021 7:03 pm

OCPoloDad wrote:Yes, things did not look fluid with their offense, especially 6x5, but credit the Hungary field defense. Maybe a little impatience in quick shots on the 6x5 a couple times and against high level teams, every possession matters. I agree, things will be righted Friday.


I agree that there were a couple quick shots to surprise the goalie after earning the exclusion which didn't work out. There were also easily a half dozen shots that hit the post or the goalie made a great save on a one on nobody. I felt the WNT definitely outplayed Hungary and this was a nice timely wake up call and will just make them hungrier in future games.

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Sunny
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Re: Tokyo Olympics

Postby Sunny » Sun Aug 01, 2021 11:52 pm

Nice little video about the women’s team and getting ready for Tokyo

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=MiWfSxmWvwE

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