KIRISHI, Russia, June 4. DESPITE a spirited rally in the fourth quarter the USA Women's National Team fell to Russia 12-11 to close out the Kirishi Cup on Saturday. Lolo Silver (Long Beach, CA/Stanford/NYAC) paced the offense with four goals while Betsey Armstrong (Ann Arbor, MI/Michigan/NYAC) stopped nine shots in net. Team USA finishes the Kirishi Cup with a record of 2-2-1 and now prepares for the FINA World League Super Final starting June 14 in Tianjin, China.
A high scoring first quarter opened the match as the teams traded goals throughout. Russia struck first to go up 1-0 at 7:02 mark but that was answered moments later on a score by Kami Craig (Santa Barbara, CA/USC/Santa Barbara) to even the match at 1-1. Russia would go up 2-1 and then 4-2 before the USA was able to tie the score thanks to tallies from Elsie Windes (Portland, OR/California/Tulatin Hills) and Silver.
Russia came out on fire in the second quarter scoring three straight goals to build an 7-4 lead before Silver found the cage to close within 7-5. Russia tacked on another score and led 8-5 headed to intermission. Maggie Steffens (Danville, CA/Monte Vista HS/Diablo) scored some thirty seconds into the third period to bring Team USA within two at 8-6. Russia would answer with a score to go back up 9-6 and that was followed by Brenda Villa (Commerce, CA/Stanford/Commerce) finding the cage for a 9-7 game.
Team USA would keep drawing closer when Silver hit the back of the net to make it a one goal game at 9-8. Russia continued to have an answer when they scored again with two minutes remaining in the period to lead 10-8 headed to the fourth. The Russians kept up their momentum scoring to open the fourth to grab an 11-8 lead. The United States would look to rally scoring two straight, first from Jessica Steffens (Danville, CA/Stanford/NYAC) and then Silver on a five meter penalty at the 1:23 mark. Russia came right back with a goal to go up 12-10 but again the USA answered when Kelly Rulon (San Diego, CA/UCLA/NYAC) struck with :59 remaining in the game to make it 12-11 Russia. A power play with just five seconds remaining did not bring the tying score for the United States and they came away defeated at 12-11.
The United States went 5/7 on power plays while Russia was 4/11.
Scoring – Scoresheet
USA 11 (4, 1, 3, 3) L. Silver 4, K. Craig, H. Petri, E. Windes, K. Rulon, M. Steffens, J. Steffens, B. Villa
RUS 12 (4, 4, 2, 2)
Saves – USA – B. Armstrong – 9
6×5 – USA 5/7 – RUS – 4/11
Penalties – USA – 4/4
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