LA JOLLA, California, June 30. In a day of shootouts the United States and Australia did not buck the trend and battled into extra time before Team USA emerged winners 15-14. Emily Feher (Santa Ana, CA/NYAC) redeemed an admittedly up and down performance in regulation to stop two tries in the shootout to preserve a win for the United States on day two of the FINA World League Super Final. Lolo Silver (Long Beach, CA/NYAC) delivered the winner as the last shooter in the shootout following the last Australia miss for a one goal win.
Team USA opened the game strongly with a 3-1 lead after the first period. Elsie Windes (Portland, OR/Tulatin Hills WP) and Kelly Rulon (Point Loma, CA/NYAC) began the scoring with two straight goals for a 2-0 lead. After an Aussie goal, Silver scored her first of the day and it was a two goal advantage again for the United States going to the second quarter.
Australia tied the game early in the second quarter but again the USA had an answer when Erika Figge (Santa Margarita, CA/SET) and Maggie Steffens (Danville, CA/Diablo) hit on back to back tallies for a 5-3 advantage. After an Australian goal it was back to the United States and Lauren Wenger (Long Beach, CA/NYAC) hitting for a score for a 6-4 advantage. Australia would tack on more goal before the end of the half and it was a one goal game at intermission.
The second half was a see-saw battle as Windes opened the scoring for a 7-5 USA advantage. Australia scored but then Kami Craig (Santa Barbara, CA/Santa Barbara WPF) powered one in from two meters and it was 8-6 USA. Australia then scored three straight as played moved in the fourth quarter and suddenly they were leading 9-8 in the early fourth. Courtney Mathewson (Anaheim Hills, CA/NYAC) came through with an important score to tie the game at 9-9.
Heather Petri (Orinda, CA/NYAC) scored a clutch goal late in the period for a 10-9 USA lead but that wouldn't last when the Aussies then tied the game at 10-10 and moments later took the lead at 11-10. With less than a minute remaining Silver rang the bell yet again for a tie game at 11-11. As if any more drama couldn't be packed in Australia scored with 19 seconds left for a 12-11 lead. USA stayed patient and poured the ball back into Craig who lit the proverbial lamp with just 10 seconds left and it was a 12-12 game heading to the shootout.
In the shootout the United States missed first and Australia hit first leaving things looking bleak. From there it was all the United States with two straight makes, and then two straight misses for Australia. Australia hit their fourth try while the United States missed setting up the final shots. Feher came through with the key block to compliment her 8 regulation saves and Silver found the cage for the clincher and the second straight win for Team USA.
The United States closes out preliminary play with Russia on Wednesday night at 7pm. All the action will be available live via webcast at waterpolo.teamusa.org/live.
USA 15 (3, 3, 2, 4, 3) L. Silver 3, E. Windes 3, E. Figge 2, K, Craig 2, H. Petri 1, L. Wenger 1, M. Steffens 1, K. Rulon 1, M. Seidemann 1
AUS 14 (1, 4, 3, 4, 2) G. Ralph 5, G. Beadsworth 3, B. Knox 3, R. Webster 1, M. Rippon 1, N. Zagame 1
USA – Feher 8
AUS – Brown 3
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