NEWPORT BEACH, California, December 12. THE USA Women's Senior National Team picked up a big win over Russia 12-8 on day three of the 2009 Holiday Cup to keep pace with first place Australia. The United States moves to 2-0-1 after three games and will meet the Aussies on Saturday evening. This match saw the USA defeat Russia, a team they fell to at both major competitions in 2009, the FINA World League, and FINA World Championships.
This match was all Team USA early as they got off to a great start getting three straight goals to open the game from Annika Dries (Laguna Beach, CA), Brenda Villa (Commerce, CA) and Elsie Windes (Portland, OR) for a 3-0 lead. Russia answered with a power play goal at the 1:52 mark but that was answered by a Lauren Wenger (Long Beach, CA) goal to make it 4-1 with 1:30 remaining in the quarter.
In the second quarter Russia battled back with two straight goals to close within 4-3 at the 3:46 mark in the first half. Team USA had an answer as Wenger scored again on a skip shot for a 5-3 lead and then Kelly Rulon (San Diego, CA) drew a five meter penalty which was converted by Erika Figge (Santa Margarita, CA) for a 6-3 USA lead at half.
The third quarter was just an avalanche of goals as the teams went back and forth. Team USA seemed to be on course for an easy win after Dries scored again to open the period for a 7-3 lead. Russia then rattled off three straight scores to come within 7-6 with 4:47 left in the quarter. Windes came through for the United States with a score for an 8-6 lead, Russia countered for an 8-7 deficit and Team USA had the last word with Kiley Neushul (Santa Barbara, CA) notching a power play goal for a 9-7 lead headed to the fourth.
The final stanza belonged to the red, white, and blue as they came out strong. Tanya Gandy (San Diego, CA) opened the quarter with a tally to make it 10-7 and then Lolo Silver (Long Beach, CA) found Dries on a well-timed counter attack for an 11-7 lead. Following a Russian goal the United States answered again when Forel Davies (Carlsbad, CA) drew a penalty and Gandy took care of the rest for a 12-8 lead, which would be the final score.
Betsey Armstrong (Ann Arbor, MI) continued solid play in net discarding 10 shots in the win while the Russian goalkeepers teamed up for four saves. Team USA was stellar on the power play converting 5/7 while Russia was 3/9. Both teams are action again tomorrow and all the matches will be webcast live via waterpolo.teamusa.org/live or www.usawaterpolo.org.
USA 12 (4, 2, 3, 3) A. Dries 3, T. Gandy 2, L. Wenger 2, E. Windes 2, E. Figge 1, B. Villa 1, K. Neushul 1
RUS 8 (1, 2, 4, 1) E. Lisunova 2, O. Belyeva 1, Y. Gaufler 1, N. Glylina 1, E. Prokofyeva 1, S. Evgenia 1, S. Konukh
Saves – USA – B. Armstrong 10 – RUS – E. Protsenko 2, Kovtunoskaya 2
In other action Australia defeated the Netherlands 10-5 and Canada downed Italy 11-6.
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