USA GOING FOR GOLD
In a nail biting semi-final match between two of the world's top teams, Team USA came out on top, defeating the 2005 World Champions 10-9 in overtime
Melbourne Sports and Aquatic Center - Not for the faint of heart, today's semi-final game between the USA and Hungary was truly an amazing battle of two equally matched teams. Team USA jumped out to an early 2-1 lead in the first quarter and held on to a three goal advantage until the four quarter.
Ericka Lorenz opened up the game with an outside shot at 5:06. Agnes Primasz of Hungary soon returned the goal, converting on their first 6 on 5 advantage. With a 60.3 km/h riffle from 5M, Natalie Golda brought the U.S. up one at 3:13.
Lauren Wenger helped push USA to a three goal lead, opening the second period with two consecutive goals. Hungary tried to close the gap, converting another 6 on 5 at 6:55 and scoring from the 2M at 4:10. Patty Cardenas seized an opportunity to increase the U.S.'s advantage and lobbed in a shot from outside. Wenger closed the quarter with her third goal in the final seconds (.44) of the period (6-3).
The second half of the match was just as action packed as the first. Moriah van Norman delivered a beautiful center lob past Hungarian goalkeeper Henrietta Bravik to advance the U.S. 7-3. Determined to keep them in the game, Hungary's leading goalscorer, Agnes Primasz, converted back to back 6 on 5 goals, to again bring Hungary within three of the United States.
Unable to stop Hungary on their man up advantages, USA found itself in an 8-8 tie at the end of regulation. The pressure continued to build in overtime as Hungary opened up the scoring in the first three minute quarter. Natalie Golda then lodged a beautiful 7M shot past the powerful Hungarian defense to once again tie the game 9-9. U.S. all-around player, Lauren Wenger sealed the deal for Team USA with her fourth goal for the night, a center shot into the goal at 2:22. USA was able to hold Hungary with their great defense and Betsey Armstrong put the final punctuation on the evening, saving Hungary’s last second shot by captain Mercedes Stieber.
Team USA now advances to the finals, where they will challenge 2006 World Cup champion Australia in front of their home town fans. This will be the third consecutive appearance for Team USA in a World Championship gold medal round. While the two friendly rivals have gone head to head in several international events, this will be the first time USA and Australia have vied each other in the finals of a World Championship. In 2003, USA defeated Italy to claim the Championship title. In their 2005 match up against Hungary, USA returned with the silver medal.
GOALS BY QUARTER
USA 2 4 2 0 1 1 = 10
HUN 1 2 2 3 1 0 = 9
USA GOAL SCORERS
van Norman 1
HUN GOAL SCORERS
USA Armstrong 12/21
HUN Bravik 8/18
6 on 5
GUY BAKER, USA HEAD COACH: "This was a great game. I liked the way we played. Our inexperience showed in our 6 on 5, but it says a lot about our team that we were able to get back in the game and come back after Hungary scored four consecutive goals against us at the end of the game. This was possibly the most exciting game we've played. I loved it."
Referee: Nikolasos Stavropoulos (GRE), Sergi Borrell (ESP)
TWPC Delegate: Eng Bok Tan (SIN)
For the latest on the 12th FINA World Championships, keep an eye on http://www.melbourne2007.com.au. For up to date information on Team USA and to view the team’s photo gallery and game recaps, go to www.usawaterpolo.org.
For more information on USA Water Polo or its National Team programs, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call the USAWP office at 562.799.8506.
USA Water Polo, Inc. is a not-for-profit corporation and is the national governing body for the sport of water polo in the United States under the auspices of the United States Olympic Committee (USOC). The mission of USA Water Polo is to grow the sport of water polo throughout the United States and win gold medals in Olympic, World Championship, and Pan American Games.
World Championship Sports Network (WCSN) will be delivering exclusive live and on-demand video coverage of the 12th FINA World Championships from Melbourne, Australia as part of its commitment to providing quality content for U.S. fans of aquatic sports, letting them follow their favorite competitors throughout the year. Beginning March 19, WCSN.com will have highlights of all the day’s events and will broadcast select USA Men’s and Women’s matches, as well as the Gold medal games.
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photo Getty Images
photo Anton Vos