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Waterpolo - 23. March 2008.

AUSTRALIA OUTLASTS TEAM USA 7-6 IN FINAL GAME OF 2008 WATER POLO CHINA OPEN


Despite a 4-1 second quarter lead the USA Water Polo Women's Senior National team were unable to hold off Australia as they fell 7-6 in the final game of the "Good Luck Beijing" 2008 Water Polo China Open. Team USA finishes in second place with a 2-1 record for the event. Alison Gregorka led Team USA with two goals while Betsey Armstrong stopped eight shots in net.


Team USA at the Great Wall in China



Australia countered the 3-1 first quarter of Team USA by outscoring the United States 3-1 in the second quarter to bring about a 4-4 tie at the half. In the third quarter Australia inched ahead 6-5 as played moved to the fourth.

With two minutes left in the game, Allison Gregorka scored on a shot from about five meters out to bring the game even at six goals apiece. Australia got the game-winning goal on a five meter penalty shot with two minutes remaining. The U.S. got the ball for the last time with 1:05 left, but failed to convert a six-on-five.

"We have been having slow starts to our games and I was pleased with the way we started the game," said USA Head Coach Guy Baker. "Once we got ahead 4-1 we didn’t maintain the necessary focus on 5x6 defense that is necessary to maintain a lead. At the end of the game Australia converted their penalty shot and we missed our 6x5 opportunity," he concluded.

The Olympic Draw was also announced with Team USA slotted in the top spot in Group A. They will open Olympic competition against the host country China on August 11. This will be followed by matches against Russia and then Italy on August 13 and August 15.

Flash Quote:

"Overall, I was happy with our defense and our counter attack is starting to show signs of being a consistent threat. We gained a lot of information about our team at this tournament and we can now return to training and make the necessary improvements. The tournament was great preparation for the Olympic Games. The competition and training venues are excellent, each game had great crowds and the Chinese people are working very hard to have a great Olympic Games." - Guy Baker, Head Coach, Team USA

USA: 6 (3, 1, 1, 1)
AUS: 7 (1, 3, 2, 1)

USA Scoring: A. Gregorka 2, J. Steffens 1, N. Golda 1, E. Figge 1, E. Lorenz 1

USA Saves: B. Armstrong 8

6x5: USA - 1-8, AUS - 3-6

Penalty Shots: AUS: 1-1


Maggie Rauch contributed to this report


DEFENSE ON POINT AS TEAM USA DEFEATS HOST CHINA 8-3 IN SECOND MATCH OF 2008 WATER POLO CHINA OPEN IN BEIJING

Behind a stellar defensive effort the USA Women's Senior National Team defeated China 8-3 in the second match of the "Good Luck Beijing" 2008 Water Polo China Open in Beijing, China. Team USA blanked the Chinese in the first half opening up a 2-0 lead after the first quarter and rolling into halftime in front 4-0.

China attempted a rally in the third quarter tallying their first two scores of the day but those were answered with two goals by the United States to keep the host team at bay and put the USA up 6-2 headed to the fourth. In the final stanza Team USA closed things out with two more scores to just one from China on their way to the five goal victory.

Natalie Golda led with two scores while a host of other players chipped in with one goal each. Jamie Hipp was stellar between the pipes refuting eight shots in the win. "Jamie was outstanding in the first half, she saved a penalty, a breakaway, an open dive in front of the goal, and a 6x5 shot," said USA Head Coach Guy Baker. "The game was closer than the score, especially in the first half. Even though China scored, we played excellent defense in the second half. They played a zone defense against us and presently that is giving us our biggest challenge. I believe China is a greatly improved team and should be a very formidable opponent at the Olympic Games," he concluded.

Team USA returns to the Ying Tung Natatorium on Saturday for their final game of the series against Australia which gets underway at 3:00pm local time (midnight PST).

Goal Scoring:

USA: 8 (2, 2, 2, 2)
CHN: 3 (0, 0, 2, 1)

USA Scoring: N. Golda 2, B. Villa 1, E. Figge 1, P. Cardenas 1, A. Gregorka 1, M. van Norman 1, B. Hayes 1

USA Saves: J. Hipp 8

6x5: USA - 1-4, CHN - 1-5

Penalty Shots: CHN: 0-1



TEAM USA DOWNS RUSSIA 15-9 IN FIRST GAME OF 2008 WATER POLO CHINA OPEN

The USA Women's Senior National Team opened play at the "Good Luck Beijing" 2008 Water Polo China Open in Beijing, China with a 15-9 victory over Russia. Russia was not playing with a full squad as some members of the team were taking part in the LEN Champions Cup. USA battled back from a 4-1 first quarter deficit and a 6-3 hole at halftime to outscore the Russians 12-3 in the second half en route to the victory.

Natalie Golda led the team in scoring with three goals while the game also remarked a return to competition for veteran Ericka Lorenz. Lorenz tallied a goal in the victory while Betsey Armstrong was solid in net turning aside five shots. "We had a very slow start, but we picked up our play in the second half," said USA Head Coach Guy Baker. He continued, "This was not Russia’s full team. They have players who are playing this weekend in the quarterfinals of the LEN Champions Cup. I like that we had nine players score 15 goals and the second half can give us some confidence going into our next games."

Team USA returns to action on Thursday March 20 with a match against the host team China at 4:30pm local time (1:30am PST). The competition is taking place at the Ying Tung Natatorium which will also serve as the venue for the upcoming 2008 Summer Olympics.

Goal Scoring:

USA: 15 (1, 2, 6, 6)
RUS: 9 (4, 2, 1, 2)

USA Scoring: N. Golda 3, B. Villa 2, E. Windes 2, A. Gregorka 2, M. van Norman 2, E. Lorenz 1, P. Cardenas 1, J. Steffens 1, K. Craig 1

USA Saves: B. Armstrong 5

6x5: USA - 2-4, RUS - 5-8

Penalty Shots: 1-1





USA WOMEN'S SENIOR NATIONAL TEAM TO TAKE PART IN "GOOD LUCK BEIJING" 2008 WATER POLO CHINA OPEN AT YING TUNG NATATORIUM

The USA Water Polo Women's Senior National Team has traveled to Beijing, China to take part in the "Good Luck Beijing" 2008 Water Polo China Open. In addition they plan to get acclimated to the area in preparation for the upcoming 2008 Olympic Games. Team USA will take on Russia, China, and Australia during the competition which begins Tuesday, March 18 and concludes Saturday, March 23.

The competition will take place at the Ying Tung Natatorium which will also serve as the venue for the Olympic Games. Team USA is set to meet Russia on Tuesday March 18 at 4:30pm local time (1:30am PST), China on Thursday March 20 at 4:30pm local time (1:30am PST) and Australia on Saturday March 23 at 3:00pm local time (midnight PST). In addition the Olympic draw will be announced during the team's time in Beijing.




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