USA Women’s Water Polo Opens FINA World League Prelims 2-0 With Victories Over Brazil & Canada

COMMERCE, California, February 21. A night after battling for the Holiday Cup crown, a title won by the United States, Team USA and Canada met again on day one of the FINA World League Prelims. Playing inside the Commerce Aquatorium it was the United States once again coming away victorious with a 13-11 win. Maggie Steffens (Danville, CA/Stanford/Diablo) scored four goals and Sami Hill (Santa Barbara, CA/UCLA/Santa Barbara WPF) went the whole way in net turning aside seven shots. Team USA now stands at 2-0 in prelim play with a match against Brazil set for Tuesday evening at Beckman High School in Tustin, CA.

As for the win over Canada, the goals came early and often. Heather Petri (Orinda, CA/California/NYAC) got things started with a goal less than two minutes into the match, putting Team USA up 1-0. Canada answered with a score on the next possession, only to see Steffens get her first goal of the game on the following possession for a 2-1 USA advantage. The Canadians then hit for back to back goals to grab their first lead at 3-2 with 3:35 left in the period. That was short lived as Melissa Seidemann (Walnut Creek, CA/Stanford/Stanford) closed out the scoring in the quarter thirty seconds later with a power play goal to even the match at 3-3.

The second quarter started very similarly to the first with Petri again finding the cage for a 4-3 USA lead. Team USA kept the pressure on running off four goals to start the second quarter, a five goal run in total, to surge ahead 7-3. Steffens got another score along with Kelly Rulon, (San Diego, CA/UCLA/NYAC) and the run closed with a tally from hometown hero Brenda Villa (Commerce, CA/Stanford/Olympic Club). Canada roared back with consecutive goals to pull within two at 7-5, but then with just four seconds left in the quarter Villa came calling, hitting a shot from four meters out to put the United States up 8-5 going into halftime.

It was all Team USA coming out of the intermission as Steffens notched a power play goal and Annika Dries (Laguna Beach, CA/Stanford/SET) scored from inside for a 10-5 lead at the 2:58 mark of the quarter. Canada scored minutes later to draw to within 10-6 and had a chance for more, but Hill blocked a penalty shot try to preserve the advantage. Undaunted, Canada powered in a score with just two seconds left in the period for a 10-7 game in favor of the United States going to the fourth.

The Canadians drew closer two minutes into the fourth when they scored a goal to make it a 10-8 game. Courtney Mathewson (Anaheim Hills, CA/UCLA/NYAC) scored her first goal of the day to put the United States back up three at 11-8. Canada would make a game of this one scoring three of the next four goals, sandwiched around another Mathewson tally, to close to within a goal at 12-11 with just 1:40 to play. The United States had an answer in Maggie Steffens, who fired in a power play goal to reclaim a two goal advantage at 13-11. That would be as close as Canada would get and the United States came away winners.

Team USA went 6/11 on power plays, a marked improvement from the Holiday Cup final where they converted just two opportunities, while Canada was 4/10. Canada went 0/1 on penalty shots and the United States did not attempt any penalties.

USA 13 (3, 5, 2, 3) M. Steffens 4, B. Villa 2, C. Mathewson 2, H. Petri 2, K. Rulon 1, A. Dries 1, M. Seidemann 1
CAN 11 (3, 2, 2, 4)
Saves – USA – S. Hill 7
6×5 – USA – 6/11 – CAN 4/10
Penalties – USA 0/0 – CAN 0/1

USA Tops Brazil 19-1
Los Alamitos, CA – February 20 – The USA Women's National Team were right back in the pool early Monday morning to start the FINA World League Prelims. Fresh off winning the 2012 Holiday Cup, Team USA opened up with a 19-1 victory over Brazil. The United States take on Canada tonight at 7pm in Commerce, CA. Heather Petri (Orinda, CA/California/Olympic Club) scored four goals to lead the offense while Sami Hill (Santa Barbara, CA/UCLA/Santa Barbara WPF) tallied eight saves in the win.

The match was never in doubt as Team USA opened up a 6-0 lead after the first quarter and a 10-0 lead at halftime. Brazil broke through with their lone goal of the day to open the third quarter making it a 10-1 match. The United States ran off three straight goals to close the period, going up 13-1. In the fourth, Team USA added six more scores and finished the match winners 19-1.

Team USA went 5/5 on power plays and 2/2 on penalty shots while Brazil was 0-5 on power plays and did not attempt any penalty shots.

Scoring – Scoresheet
USA 19 (6, 4, 3, 6) H. Petri 4, L. Silver 3, A. Dries 2, M. Seidemann 2, C. Mathewson 2, E. Windes 2, K. Craig 1, L. Wenger 1, J. Steffens 1, K. Rulon 1
BRA 1 (0, 0, 1, 0)

Saves – USA – S. Hill 8

6×5 – USA – 5/5 – BRA 0/5
Penalties – USA – 2/2 – BRA 0/0

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