TIANJIN, China, June 14. THE USA Women's National Team opened the FINA World League Super Final on the right foot defeating Italy 9-6 as they begin their run towards a sixth Super Final crown. Brenda Villa (Commerce, CA/Stanford/Commerce) and Kami Craig (Santa Barbara, CA/USC/Santa Barbara WPF) each scored twice and Betsey Armstrong (Ann Arbor, MI/Michigan/NYAC) did the job in net turning away nine shots. The United States is back in action tomorrow when they take on the host China at 4:00am pst.
The United States got things started on the offense end when Villa tossed in her first goal of the match for a 1-0 lead. That was short lived with the Italians coming back for two straight scores and a 2-1 advantage after the first quarter. Team USA got things in gear in the second period running off three straight goals from Villa, Lauren Wenger (Long Beach, CA/USC/NYAC), and Courtney Mathewson (Anaheim Hills, CA/UCLA/NYAC) to help take a 4-2 advantage at halftime.
Craig kept it moving to open the third quarter scoring for the United States to build a 5-2 lead but two straight goals from Italy would knock it back down to a one goal advantage. The two squads would trade scores, one coming from Maggie Steffens (Danville, CA/Monte Vista HS/Diablo) and the United States was in front 6-5 headed to the fourth.
In the final period the lead was bolstered when Kelly Rulon (San Diego, CA/UCLA/NYAC) found the cage some two minutes into the quarter. That was followed by another Craig score and the red, white, and blue were in command 8-5. Italy would get one back but the United States had the final word when Melissa Seidemann (Walnut Creek, CA/Stanford/Stanford) scored for a 9-6 lead which is where the match would end.
"Any win is a good win in this tournament. I know we can execute better but I was pleased with our defense but most importantly I was pleased with our defense after the 1st quarter," said Adam Krikorian, USA Head Coach.
The United States went 3/5 on power plays while Italy was 3/10 and the Italians were 1/1 on penalty shots. In other action Russia defeat Canada 9-8, Australia routed Spain 14-6, and China edged Greece 9-8.
Quarters: 1-2, 3-0, 2-3, 3-1 – USA 9 – Italy 6
Referees: Irfan SADEKOV (RUS), Gabor VOGEL (HUN)
Extra man: USA: 3/5. ITA 3/10
Pens: USA: 0/0. ITA: 1/1
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Elizabeth ARMSTRONG, Heather PETRI, Melissa SEIDEMANN (1), Brenda VILLA (2), Lauren WENGER (1), Courtney MATHEWSON (1), JESSICA STEFFENS, LAUREN SILVER, Elsie WINDES, Kelly RULON (1), Annika DRIES, Kameryn CRAIG (2), Margaret STEFFENS (1). HEAD COACH: Adam KRIKORIAN.
ITALY: Giulia GOLERO, Simona ABBATE (1), Elisa CASANOVA, Giulia RAMBALDI, Allegra LAPI, Martina SAVIOLI, Marta COLAIOCCO, Roberta BIANCONI, Giulia EMMOLO (1), Francesca POMERI, Aleksandra COTTI (2) Teresa FRASSINETTI (2), Elisa QUEIROLO. Head Coach: Fabio CONTI.
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.