MELBOURNE, Australia, March 19. WATER Polo action got underway at the FINA World Championships in Melbourne, Australia with the first round of preliminary action for the women.
Spain doubled up China in a 15-7 triumph as Jennifer Pareja led all scorers with four goals. Spain's Cristina Lopez also picked up a hat trick with three tallies, while Ma Huanhuan and Sun Huizi led China with two each.
In the second Group A match, No. 3 Russia came out on top of Germany, 18-11, in a high-scoring affair. Sofya Konukh torched a match-high five goals past the German goalie, while Alena Vylegzhanina (4) and Elena Smurova (3) also registered hat tricks. Germany scored with a balanced attack as Ariane Rump, Katrin Dierolf, Monika Kruszona and Nina Wengst each notched a pair of goals.
Brazil crushed Puerto Rico, 13-2 in the first Group B match. Camila Pedroza-Freire led all scorers with four goals, while Luiza Carvalho also netted a hat trick. Angelica and Amanda Ortiz nabbed both of Puerto Rico's goals.
In an exciting match, hometown No. 1 Australia picked up a 5-4 victory over No. 7 Canada. Gemma Beadsworth of Australia and Christine Robinson of Canada each posted a match-high two goals.
Greece topped Kazakhstan, 11-5, in the opening match of Group C. Kyriaki Liosi connected for a match-high four goals, while Angeliki Gerolymou notched a hat trick with three of her own. Meanwhile, Marina Gritsenko led Kazakhstan with a hat trick after tallying three goals.
The United States picked up a hard fought 9-7 conquest of the Netherlands in the second Group C match. They matched the Netherlands in each of the periods, but won the third 4-2 for the margin of victory. Heather Petri and Natalie Golda led the U.S. with two goals each, while Iefke Van Belkum tallied a match-high four goals for the Netherlands.
No. 9 Cuba and No. 12 New Zealand battled to a draw, 7-7, in the first match for Group D. Hirovis Hernandez, Danay Gutierrez and Yanelis Andrew each notched two goals for Cuba, while Kelly Mason dominated scoring with four for New Zealand.
Group D might as well have stood for Group Draw with Olympic champion Italy and world champion Hungary tying 8-8. Aniko Pelle paced Hungary with five goals, while Tania Di Mario led Italy with four.