Australia Wins 10th Holiday Cup in Women’s Water Polo

NEWPORT BEACH, California, December 14.AUSTRALIA took home first place of the 2009 Holiday Cup anchored by tourney MVP Bronwen Knox and Top Goalie Victoria Brown. They defeated Russia 11-9 in the final day of action to claim the outright title. Team USA tied Canada 8-8 and earned second place at the event while Canada took third. Italy defeated the Netherlands 9-7 to earn their first win of the event despite the Holiday Cup's leading scorer Mieke Cabout who led the five day event in scoring. The rest of the standings saw Russia in fourth, the Netherlands in fifth and Italy ending in sixth place.

In a rematch of the final from the 2009 World Championships, Canada got off to an outstanding start in their match against the United States opening up a 2-0 lead after the first quarter. In the second period with Canada up 3-0, Team USA battled back first with a goal from Jessica Steffens (Danville, CA) to get on the board at 3-1. Moments later Lolo Silver (Long Beach, CA) found the net on a lob to draw within 3-2. The United States came all the way back with a score from Kelly Rulon (San Diego, CA) at the 2:18 mark to tie it up at 3-3. They went ahead for the first time all day with another Rulon goal for a 4-3 lead at halftime.

After the intermission the United States kept it rolling with a score from Annika Dries (Laguna Beach, CA) out of two meters for a 5-3 advantage. Canada countered with strong defense and consecutive goals to knot the match at 5-5 with :19 remaining in the quarter.

The final period was back and forth throughout with Canada grabbing the lead at 6-5 just seconds in the period. From there Erika Figge (Santa Margarita, CA) hit from distance to tie the game back at 6-6. Canada again took the lead only to be answered by Team USA with a Jillian Kraus (Santa Ana, CA) goal for a 7-7 game. Against Canada took the lead, this time with :57 remaining in the match, but Kraus came calling again with a huge goal at the :46 mark to the tie the game at 8-8. Both teams last chances would yield nothing and the game ended in an 8-8 tie.

Betsey Armstrong (Ann Arbor, MI) went the whole way in net for the United States posting four saves while Rachel Riddell stopped five shots for Canada.

Scoring
USA 8 (0, 4, 1, 3) J. Kraus 2, K. Rulon 2, L. Silver 1, E. Figge 1, J. Steffens 1, A. Dries 1
CAN 8 (2, 1, 2, 3) E. Csikos 3, M. Radu 3, J. Bekhazi 1, T. Campbell 1

Saves – USA – B. Armstrong 4 – CAN – R. Riddell 5

Final Holiday Cup Standings:
1. Australia
2. USA
3. Canada
4. Russia
5. Netherlands
6. Italy

Awards
MVP – Bronwen Knox – Australia
Top Goalie – Victoria Brown – Australia
Top Scorer – Mieke Cabout – Netherlands

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