CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand, August 22. FOR the first time since 1979 the USA Women's National Team has won Gold at the FINA World Cup following a 6-3 defeat of Australia earlier today at the QEII in Christchurch. Six different goal scorers paced the United States who built a 6-0 lead at halftime and then were able to hold the Australians to just three goals over the final two periods to take the victory.
Team USA came out on fire to start the match scoring at the 6:39 mark when Elsie Windes (Portland, OR/Tulatin Hills) hit for a goal and a 1-0 lead. Less than 30 seconds later Kelly Rulon (Point Loma, CA/NYAC) came through for Team USA with a score and a 2-0 lead. Fast forward to just two seconds remaining in the period and Rulon drew a five meter penalty which was converted by Lolo Silver (Long Beach, CA/NYAC) for a 3-0 lead after one quarter.
The second quarter was more of the same when Courtney Mathewson (Anaheim Hills, CA/NYAC) got the scoring started on a power play less than a minute into the period for a 4-0 lead. At the 3:46 mark Team USA added more when Annika Dries (Laguna Beach, CA/SET) took a sweet dish from Windes for a score right in front and a 5-0 lead. While the USA defense remained up to the task the USA offense kept working when Silver drew a five meter penalty at the :58 mark in the period. Maggie Steffens (Danville, CA/Diablo) converted and the lead was 6-0 at halftime.
Australia looked to rally in the second half when the Aussies scored back to back goals in the first 90 seconds of the period to draw within 6-2. Australia was going for more at the 6:07 mark when they had a penalty shot blocked by Betsey Armstrong (Ann Arbor, MI/NYAC). Armstrong finished with 11 saves on the day including several crucial blocks in the second half.
It was 6-2 to start the final quarter and the United States killed off another Australia power play at the 6:28 mark to remain up four. The Aussies would convert just 1/9 power plays while the United States was 2/7. The green and gold did break through with a score in front of the cage at the 4:37 mark for a 6-3 game. While the USA wouldn't muster anymore scores their defense remained stellar in helping to preserve the lead.
The United States thwarted a power play try for Australia at the 2:30 mark and then after Steffens was excluded it was Armstrong making a big stop right in front of the cage at the 1:37 mark. From there the United States just worked the clock and when time expired the United States had another championship.
Since winning Silver at the 2008 Olympics the USA Women's National Team has won all the major championships in their path including two FINA World League Super Finals, a FINA World Championship, and now a FINA World Cup. The last FINA World Cup title came in 1979 in Merced, California
USA 6 (3, 3, 0, 0) E. Windes 1, K. Rulon 1, L. Silver 1, C. Mathewson 1, A. Dries 1, M. Steffens 1
AUS 3 (0, 0, 2, 1)
Saves – USA – B. Armstrong 11
6×5 – USA 2/7 – AUS 1/9
Penalties – USA 2/2 – AUS 0/1
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