SYDNEY, Australia, August 12. THE USA Women's Senior National Team fell to Australia 10-8 in final of the Six Nations Tournament held at the Sydney Olympic Park Aquatic Center. The bout was a rematch of the famed Gold Medal match from 10 years ago in the first Olympics for water polo. Despite the loss, Team USA's Kami Craig (Santa Barbara, CA/Santa Barbara) was named tourney MVP and joined on all the all-tournament squad with Brenda Villa (Commerce, CA/Commerce), Anne Belden (Newport Beach, CA/Bruin), and Lolo Silver (Long Beach, CA/NYAC). Now the United States readies for the FINA World Cup starting on August 17 in Christchurch, New Zealand.
As for this match it was a typical close battle between the two storied opponents with the score see-sawing back and forth. The United States got things cooking early when Villa hit on a power play score for a 1-0 lead, that was answered about a minute later on an Australia goal from inside for a tie match at 1-1. The red, white, and blue got one back when Maggie Steffens (Danville, CA/Diablo) ripped the net for a 2-1 lead. This was countered by an Australia goal minutes later but the United States had the last word in the period when Belden connected on a counter attack for a 3-2 lead going to the second.
In the second period Australia scored on a penalty shot to tie the match at 3-3 and then hit on a power play goal moments later for a 4-3 lead, their first of the match. At the 2:35 mark in the period the ball came back to the Villa and the three-time Olympian answered with a lob shot for a tie match at 4-4. Kelly Rulon (Point Loma, CA/NYAC) followed with an outside shot for a 5-4 lead and then Silver hit from deep for a 6-4 lead at halftime.
The third quarter started strong in favor of Australia as they scored back to back scores to tie the match at 6-6. Following an Aussie exclusion Silver scored on a stellar give from Belden for a 7-6 lead. The back and forth continued when the Aussies put home a power play goal to tie the game at 7-7. Craig worked inside to draw a penalty which was converted by Silver and the United States were back in front 8-7, however that would be their last goal of the match. The green and gold found the cage with just eight seconds left in the period and tied the game at 8-8 going into the fourth.
Going to the fourth all knotted up the defenses of both sides became a key focus. Neither team could muster a goal until 3:13 left in the period when Australia finally broke through with a shot off the post and in for a 9-8 lead. The breaks continued in favor of Australia when they got a deflected shot to fall in for a 10-8 lead. Final chances for the United States proved for naught and Australia came away winners of the championship at 10-8.
Silver led the USA attack as the Australian league standout scored three goals. Betsey Armstrong (Ann Arbor, MI/NYAC) was a force in the cage impounding 15 shots for the match. Team USA went 2-7 on power plays while Australia was 2-9, both teams went 1-1 on penalty shots.
The above article is a press release submitted to Swimming World Magazine. It has been posted in its entirety without editing. Swimming World offers all outlets the chance to reach our audience by contacting us at Newsmaster@swimmingworldmagazine.com. However, Swimming World reserves the right to choose what material is posted.