SAN DIEGO, California, July 7. MORE than 1,000 fans piled in to the Canyonview Aquatic Center at UC-San Diego to witness the U.S. Olympic Women's Water Polo Team top Hungary 7-6. Courtney Mathewson (Anaheim Hills, CA/UCLA/NYAC) scored two goals in the win while Betsey Armstrong (Ann Arbor, MI/Michigan/NYAC) and Tumua Anae (Newport Beach, CA/USC/SOCAL) combined in net for seven saves. Team USA rallied from first and third quarter deficits to come back and defeat the Hungarians for their third straight win in the four game series. The competition wraps on Sunday when the two will meet at Corona del Mar High School in Newport Beach, CA at 3pm pst. The match will be televised live on the NBC Sports Network.
As for this match, Team USA started off on the right foot with a score from Brenda Villa (Commerce, CA/Stanford/Olympic Club) for 1-0 lead less than two minutes into the match. Hungary took over from there scoring three straight to close out the first period leading 3-1. In the second, Team USA started to battle back. After a scoreless first six minutes of the period, Lauren Wenger (Long Beach, CA/USC/NYAC) delivered a skip shot goal to make it 3-2. That was followed by Mathewson's first tally of the night, to even the game at 3-3 headed to halftime.
Hungary surged ahead again in the third, scoring the first two of the period to go ahead 5-3 with 4:16 left. Team USA would again begin to chip away. Annika Dries (Laguna Beach, CA/Stanford/SET) drew a penalty, which Mathewson converted and it was 5-4 in favor of Hungary. Then with just six seconds left in the period, Team USA drew an exclusion and found an unguarded Kami Craig (Santa Barbara, CA/USC/Santa Barbara WPF) for the score and a tie game at 5-5.
Team USA took their first lead since the first quarter when Melissa Seidemann (Walnut Creek, CA/Stanford/Stanford) scored from inside for a 6-5 advantage with 4:56 left in the game. Hungary scored on the very next possession and the match was once again even, this time at 6-6. The United States would have the last word when they drew a power play with 2:06 left. Maggie Steffens (Danville, CA/Stanford/Diablo) converted the player advantage score and Team USA went back in front 7-6.
Defense proved key the rest of the way. Anae had a block down the stretch coupled with a late field block and the United State came away winners at 7-6. Team USA went 4/10 on power plays and 1/1 on penalties while Hungary was 2/5 on power plays and did not attempt a penalty shot.
USA 7 (1, 2, 2, 2) C. Mathewson 2, B. Villa 1, L. Wenger 1, M. Steffens 1, K. Craig 1, M. Seidemann 1
HUN 6 (3, 0, 2, 1)
Saves – USA – B. Armstrong 4, T. Anae 3
6×5 – USA – 4/10 – HUN 2/5
Penalties – USA 1/1 – HUN 0/0
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