Team Canada showed their penchant for late game heroics on Wednesday evening as they tallied a score with just under three seconds remaining to force a tie at 10-10 and took it one step further on Thursday evening. Krystina Alogbo tallied the game winner with just one second remaining following an ordinary foul restart and Canada defeated Team USA 9-8 at the USA Water Polo National Training Center in Los Alamitos, CA.
From the start it appeared Team USA was in command as they jumped out to a three goal lead at the end of the first quarter thanks to two scores from Alison Gregorka and a Natalie Golda score. Kami Craig was solid at center drawing a pair of exclusions in the opening frame as well
In the second quarter Canada got on the board with a goal from Emily Csikos but that was quickly answered by a Brenda Villa score and USA remained in front at 4-1. With just thirty seconds left in the half Canada would tack on another score on a man-up advantage to cut the deficit in half at the half at 4-2
Yet it was the second half where Canada came to life tying the score at four halfway into the period and then taking their first lead at 5-4 with 23 ticks on the clock. Team USA did them one better as Erika Figge lit the proverbial lamp with just one second remaining to tie the game at 5-5 headed to the fourth. Canada regained their momentum in the fourth building a pair of two goal leads at 7-5 and 8-6 before Team USA came back to tie it up at 8-8 courtesy of Golda goal with 1:19 left. The contest appeared headed to a second straight draw when Alogbo was able to find the net as time expired giving Canada their first win of the series.
Notes: Golda, Gregorka, and Villa all had two scores for Team USA to lead the offense. Betsey Armstrong collected four saves in net on the evening. Lauren Wenger did not play due to injury. Next up for both teams will be the FINA World League Super Final in mid-June.
"It's a positive and we are growing as a team, we need these situations and sometimes they turn out good but sometimes they can also be bad. It is a learning experience for our players and we have worked hard for those last second goals and are happy for the opportunities." Patrick Oaten - Head Coach, Canada
"With every game this team plays it is a positive and we get more and more confident." Patrick Oaten - Head Coach, Canada
"It's the same old story, 14 turnovers against a zone is way too high. We have a good start and once they scored we struggled. In the second half we played no defense, in the first half we played defense as we are capable but nothing defensively in the whole second half." Guy Baker - Head Coach, Team USA
USA: 8 (B. Villa 2, N. Golda 2, A. Gregorka 2, E. Figge 1, K. Craig 1)
CAN: 9 (E Csikos 3, K. Alogbo 2, J. Bekhazi 1, K. Monton 1, W. Genoway 1, S. Valin 1)
– but the sailors praise the new boats
Photo Credit: Dario Belingheri/Bettini Photo
photo David Cannon/Getty images