From USA Waterpolo
Los Alamitos, CA-Team USA touch down at LAX Sunday morning (June 18) might have been bittersweet. A productive two weeks of training in Australia were
negated by the loss of two-meter defender Robin Beauregard, who injured her knee prior to the team's final match with the Aussies on Thursday (June 15).
Having played three test matches with the Aussies in Sydney, drawing two losses and a tie in the process, the U.S. was eager to cap off its trip in winning fashion. That opportunity came on Thursday night (June 15) in Kawana on Australia's Sunshine Coast.
The U.S. joined their hosts in an Olympic torch relay that night, with team members perched atop of Harley Davidson motorcycles. The fanfare in the streets, however, would give way to the fourth contest in a week's time between the U.S. and Australia. Unfortunately, it was a game marred by rain,
shot clock problems, and freak injuries. When the storm had calmed, the sunshine saw Australia coming out on top, 5-4.
The U.S. arrival at the pool was less than pleasant. As the U.S. was walking across the rain-soaked pool deck, Beauregard slipped awkwardly, injuring her
knee. The U.S. misfortune snowballed after the game's first sprint, with the Aussies drawing first blood on a goal by Simone Hankin.
The first strike was countered shortly thereafter on a man-advantage goal by USA's Brenda Villa to knot the score at 1-1.
The second quarter was more of the same, withAustralia erasing the tie and going up 3-1 by the waning minutes of the half. However, with the tie went
the clocks. Rain again being the culprit, the game clocks went out after a
short, prompting the implementation of hand clocks and stopwatches. The
players had no visible shot clocks or game clocks, and 10 second calls had to
come from the bench.
Australia added to their lead to start the third quarter, going up 4-1. A pair of unanswered goals from Villa and Kathy "Gubba" Sheehy, however, highlighted the U.S. rally and brought the score to 4-3 by quarter's end.
Trailing by a goal in the fourth, the U.S. went to Ellen Estes at two-meters. She delivered via the backhand, tying the game at 4-4. But the Aussies
answered with what amounted to be the nail in the coffin, as Melissa Mills buried the go-ahead goal with 3:10 remaining. The U.S. was unable to convert on two counterattacks and one 6-on-5 opportunity, as Australia held on for the 5-4 win.
"Individually, we had some great performances," said USA coach Guy Baker. "Notably, Nicolle Payne in goal, Brenda Villa from the outside, and Ellen Estes and Gubba Sheehy out of set."
However, Baker said that their team play left something to be desired.
"We just didn't click as a team," he said. "Defensively, we had some lapses, as evidenced by the three counterattack goals we allowed. That was very uncharacteristic of this team."
Beauregard's misfortune can now be added to the growing list of injuries that the team has had to endure this summer. Scoring specialist Coralie Simmons, goalkeeper Bernice Orwig, and 1999 Player of the Year Heather Moody have all
sustained non-water polo related injuries in recent months and are still fighting to get back to 100%. It is uncertain when Beauregard will be back in
The U.S. will take a break from game play for the time being, getting back to business in preparation for the upcoming Holiday Cup Tournament, which runs
from July 4-9 at the U.S. Water Polo National Aquatic Complex in Los Alamitos, CA. The tourney will feature all six teams that have qualified for Olympic play. Team USA's tournament debut will come at 7:00 p.m. on
Independence Day against Canada, and will be followed by a fireworks spectacular. For more information, please check our website at
1 2 3 4 — F
AUSTRALIA 2 1 1 1 — 5
USA 1 0 2 1 — 4
AUS: Hankin 2, Gusterson 1, Mills 1, Watson 1.
USA: Ellen Estes 1, Gubba Sheehy 1, Brenda Villa 2.
AUS: Woodhouse 6
USA: Nicolle Payne 10
AUS: 1 for 7
USA: 2 for 7
USA Water Polo MEDIA UPDATE
Media Day Scheduled for June 22nd
Los Alamitos, CA (June 19) – The USA Men's and Women's National Teams pre-Olympic Tournament media day will take place Thursday, June 22nd, at the USA Water Polo National Aquatic Center, in the City of Los Alamitos, 12 noon.
Athletes will be available for interviews and photographs. Lunch will be served to the media. The event preceedes the UPS and Holiday Cup, pre-Olympic tournaments which begin on June 27th. Please confirm attendance with Eric Velasquez, (714) 478-1108 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
IOC Increases Women's Team Size to 13 For Sydney
Colorado Springs, CO (June 19).-The IOC and FINA officially announced on Friday, that the team size for the 2000 Women's Water Polo Tournament has been officially increased from 11 to 13 players per team, bringing women's team size into line with men's water polo. Women's volleyball also increased team size to match their men.
In a concession to get women's water polo into the Olympics, it was initially agreed only six teams with a restricted number of players from the normal 13 would be allowed to compete. Intense lobbying from the sport and the Australian Olympic Committee has led to the increase in player numbers.
Last month the US Olympic Committee had informed USA Water Polo that Sydney Organizing Committee had approved the increase and actually awarded funding for two additional athletes. Based on this information, USA Water Polo announced the decision to the team.
"I was on the phone when coach Baker told the team," said Executive Director, Bruce Wigo. "The women went wild. You would have thought it was New Year's eve, Fourth of July, the end of the war, the landing on the moon – all in one."
"You can't imagine what a relief it was for the team and for the coaching staff to have the team size increased," says Guy Baker, coach of the women's Olympic Team. "First, this cuts down on the number of difficult decisions we will have to make to come up with the final thirteen. But it also enables us to play seven difficult days of Olympic competition at full strength. It affects our strategy, our morale, everything."
But the announcement may have been a bit premature. Rumors had been circulating in the water polo community an alternate proposal sought to increase the field size to eight teams, rather than increase the number of players per team. The rumor mill had it that Hungary and Italy, both eliminated at the Olympic qualification tournament, would be added. Italy is the reigning FINA World Champion.
These rumors appeared to be confirmed last week when a major wire service issued a premature press release reporting that two additional teams had been added, rather than two players per team.
"I had a call from NBC asking for my comments and was dumbfounded," said Wigo, "How would we tell the team we were wrong? But while still on the phone, the story was retracted, then corrected. It was quite a relief." The six team Olympic field consists of Australia, Canada, Netherlands, Canada, the United States, Russia and Kazakhstan. All six teams will play in the USA, in Los Alamitos, CA in the Holiday Cup tournament starting July 4 and continue play through July 9th. For schedule and ticket information, call 562-430-1073.0-1073.
Beaureguard's Injury May Keep Her Out of Holiday Cup Action
Los Alamitos, CA (June 19) USA Women's Water Polo star Robin Beaureguard (Huntington Beach, CA) limped off the airplane from Sydney on Sunday and will be examined later today to determine the extent of an injury she sustained in Australia last week. Beaureguard, who was in Australia with the USA women's national team for pre-Olympic training with the Australians, slipped on wet ground after participating in a Torch Relay ceremony and hurt her knee.
Australian doctors who examined her did not believe there was ligament damage, but that the injury would be serious enough to keep her on the sidelines during the Holiday Cup, which begins July 4th. She is expected to be back with the team by mid July.
"This is a serious blow to the team," said US coach Guy Baker. "Robin is one of the best outside shooters and defensive players in the world. We are hopeful for a positive medical report."
Beauregurad's accident adds to the woes of the women's national team as she becomes the fourth starter to go down with injuries in the past month. Heather Moody (Green River, WY) (back), Coralie Simmons (Hemet, CA) (ankle) and Bernice Orwig (Anaheim, CA) (shoulder) have all been sidelined. Moody and Simmons saw limited action in Australia and are expected to be at full strength for the Holiday Cup, while Orwig is day to day.