U.S. Women’s Water Polo Downs Italy, 11-10

MONTREAL, Canada, December 5. THE USA Senior Women's National Team outlasted Italy 11-10 in a shootout to advance to the Gold Medal match of the 2009 Canada Cup where they will take on Australia at 12:00pm est/9:00am pst on Sunday. Down to their last chance in the shootout the United States connected on three straight goals while stopping Italy twice to come away with the victory. Melissa Seidemann scored three goals to lead the offense and Christina Hewko scored the difference maker in the shootout.

Team USA got off to a great start opening up a 2-0 lead to start the game thanks to goals from Hewko and Seidemann. Italy closed to within a goal at 2-1 going to the second quarter. Italy tied the game 2-2 in the second before the United States ticked off two straight scores from Lauren Wenger and Seidemann to build a 4-2 lead at intermission.

In the third quarter after Italy drew to 4-3 the red, white, and blue countered with back to back scores from Jillian Kraus and Maggie Steffens to go up 6-3 headed to the fourth. The final period of regulation was all Italy as they wiped out the United States lead with three straight goals to tie the game at 6-6 and force overtime.

The first overtime period had Italy take their first lead of the game at 7-6, but it was short lived as in the second overtime the United States tied the match at 7-7 on a score from Seidemann. This led to the shootout where Italy appeared to be in complete control scoring their first two attempts and stopping the United States on their first to hold a 9-7 lead. The United States scored on their next try to come within 9-8, and each team would then score again to make it 10-9 in favor of Italy. Then came the clutch performance from Team USA when they stopped the next two tries for Italy and converted their last two attempts to tie the match at 10-10 and then take the victory 11-10.

Team USA now readies for their final match with Australia. The two met to start off the tourney with Australia claiming a 8-4 win.

USA 11 (2, 2, 2, 0, 0, 1) SO – 3 – M. Seidemann 3, L. Wenger 1, C. Hewko 1, M. Steffens 1, J. Kraus
ITA 10 (1, 1, 3, 1, 1, 0) SO – 2 – A. Garlbotti 2, G. Emmolo 2, S. Abbate 1, E. Casanova 1, R. Blanconi 1

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