From USA Water Polo
CHANIA, Greece – June 3, 2001- The United States Women’s National Water Polo Team defeated Italy, the reigning World Champion, 6-5, in the championship game of the Thetis Cup, being held in Chania, Greece on the island of Crete. Team USA’s Brenda Villa (Commerce, CA / Stanford University ’02) who was recently named Division I College Player of the Year by the American Water Polo Coaches Association, was awarded the tournament Most Valuable Player honors for her stellar play throughout the competition.
“This victory was a great way to start off the year,” said USA head coach Guy Baker. “Our ability to improve our team play, game by game throughout the tournament, allowed us to be successful today.”
Team USA’s explosive offense out scored the Italians, 3-1 in both the first and second quarters giving the Americans a 6-2 halftime advantage. But the Italians scored three straight second half goals while Francesca Conti, who was awarded the tournaments Most Valuable Goalkeeper trophy, kept the Americans scoreless.
Catherine von Schwarz (Annapolis, MD / UCLA ’01) had an outstanding performance in the final game scoring three goals while Coralie Simmons (Hemet, CA/UCLA ’01) added two goals and Villa one.
“The Championship game was very difficult. It really called into play our stamina and defensive abilities, especially in the 2nd half,” said Baker. “I am pleased with improvement we showed in many specific areas of each game."
The victory marks the first time that Team USA has won the elite Greek cup, which is considered one of the premier women’s water polo tournaments in the world. Last year, the Thetis Cup championship game foreshadowed the outcome of the Olympic games, featuring a contest between Team USA against Australia just five months before their battle for Gold in the inaugural year for women’s water polo in the 2000 Olympics.
Following the Thetis Cup, Team USA and Australia will compete in the Canada Cup held in Montreal June 6th-11th before facing each other in a four-game match up in the International Challenge exhibition series June 12-17. The International Challenge will be held in Fresno, Roseville (Sacramento), Berkeley and Palo Alto, California.
- The Thetis Cup Competition, held May 31- June 3, 2001, was the first week of training for many of the U.S. team’s athletes who did not compete in this years women’s collegiate season. The women’s national team has not trained together since the Olympic games in Sydney, Australia.
- Olympic goalkeeper Bernice Orwig (Fullerton, CA/ University of Southern California ’99) has moved to Michigan where she is assistant coach women’s water polo coach at the University of Michigan. Like many of her teammates, Bernie has not trained with the national team since the Olympics.
- Missing from the U.S. Women’s National team roster at this years Thetis Cup are Ellen Estes, Maureen O’Toole, and Robin Beauregard. Estes and O’Toole have retired since the Olympic games while Beauregard is currently on injured reserve.
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