NEWPORT BEACH, California, July 9. IN front of more than 1,000 fans at Corona del Mar High School the U.S. Olympic Women's Water Polo Team topped Hungary 9-4, in a match nationally televised on the NBC Sports Network. The game capped a four game sweep by Team USA of the Hungarians in the final tune-up prior to the 2012 Olympic Games. Kelly Rulon (San Diego, CA/UCLA/NYAC) scored three goals in the win while Betsey Armstrong (Ann Arbor, MI/Michigan/NYAC) and CdM alum Tumua Anae (Newport Beach, CA/USC/SOCAL) combined for eight saves in net.
It was Hungary that started the game off strongly, scoring the first goal of the match less than a minute in for a 1-0 lead. Team USA answered with a Brenda Villa (Commerce, CA/Stanford/Olympic Club) lob shot score, on a power play with 5:41 left, evening the match at 1-1. Hungary responded with a power play three minutes later to go back in front 2-1, and that would be the score at the end of the period.
In the second Villa came calling again with her second goal to again tie the match, this time at 2-2, with 5:28 left in the period. A little over four minutes later Rulon scored on a power play and Team USA took their first lead with :50 left. Hungary scored on a lob on their next possession to knot the game at 3-3. With just :22 left in the half, Team USA surged back ahead with a score from Lauren Wenger (Long Beach, CA/USC/NYAC) for a 4-3 advantage. Physical play, a trademark of the four game series, bubbled over moments later when Team USA's Melissa Seidemann (Walnut Creek, CA/Stanford/Stanford) and Hungary's Barbara Bujka were excluded for the game after getting tangled up in transition. Team USA would hold a 4-3 lead at halftime.
The third quarter saw the United States blow the match open. Maggie Steffens (Danville, CA/Stanford/Diablo) opened the period with a power play goal and a 5-3 lead for Team USA. Moments later Kami Craig (Santa Barbara, CA/USC/Santa Barbara WPF) scored inside for a 6-3 lead. Not long after it was Elsie Windes (Portland, OR/California/Tualatin Hills WP) ripping the net for a 7-3 advantage. Team USA kept on cruising as Rulon got her second goal of the day, and with 4:15 left in the match, the United States was in control, leading 8-3. Rulon wasn't finished as she capped her scoring day with a lob from well beyond seven meters for a 9-3 lead. Hungary added a late goal in the period but the damage had been done and Team USA finished the period up 9-4.
In the fourth Team USA put the game away on defense. Holding a 9-4 lead, the United States did not allow a single goal by the Hungarians. While Team USA did not score either in the fourth period, it wasn't needed as they came away winners by five, 9-4. Team USA went 5/10 on power plays while Hungary was 1/5. Neither team attempted a penalty shot.
Next up for Team USA is a match with Hungary to open the 2012 Olympic Games on July 30.
USA 9 (1, 3, 5, 0) K. Rulon 3, B. Villa 2, L. Wenger 1, K. Craig 1, E. Windes 1, M. Steffens 1
HUN 4 (2, 1, 1, 0)
Saves – USA – B. Armstrong – 7 – T. Anae 1
6×5 – USA – 5/10 – HUN – 1/5
Penalties – USA – 0/0 – HUN 0/0
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