LA JOLLA, California, July 3. AN event that has often been the personal showcase for the USA Women's Senior National Team will once again see the red, white, and blue in the finals. On the heels of a 9-7 defeat of Greece on Friday evening in La Jolla, CA Team USA has advanced to the Gold Medal match of the FINA World League Super Final, an event they have won four out of the last six years.
Three goals from Brenda Villa (Commerce, CA/Commerce) and a stellar performance from Betsey Armstrong (Ann Arbor, MI/NYAC) in cage with 12 saves helped USA to their second victory over the Greeks this week. Team USA got off to a strong start when Kami Craig (Santa Barbara, CA/Santa Barbara WPF) scored inside off a nice entry pass for a 1-0 lead. Moments later Erika Figge (Santa Margarita, CA/SET) added to that with a score and it was quickly 2-0 in favor of the United States.
Greece would get on the board thereafter and it was 2-1 in the second when the United States turned to Annika Dries (Laguna Beach, CA/SET) who found the cage out of two meters for a 3-1 advantage. The momentum was building from there when Villa added her first goal of the game and Courtney Mathewson (Anaheim Hills, CA/NYAC) tacked on another for a 5-1 lead at the intermission.
A quick rally surfaced from the Greeks when they dropped in two straight scores to start the third quarter but that run didn't last long. Armstrong reverted to form in the cage swatting away potential scores while the United States got the offense cooking once again. Villa would score again and then Kelly Rulon (Point Loma, CA/NYAC) and by the end of the third it was a four goal cushion once more at 7-3.
In the fourth the red, white, and blue kept it moving with another score by Villa and the first goal of the night by Maggie Steffens (Danville, CA/Diablo) for a commanding 9-4 advantage. Greece would add on some late goals but the contest was never in doubt as the United States moved on with the 9-7 win. Team USA went 3/6 on power plays while the Greeks were 4/7 over the course of four quarters.
Next up for the United States will be the title bout with Australia, a rematch of a game earlier this week that saw the United States outlast the Aussies 15-14 in a shootout. The match is set to begin at 4:30pm pst and will be broadcast live at waterpolo.teamusa.org/live.
USA 9 (2,3,2,2) B. Villa 3, E. Figge 1, C. Matthewson 1, M. Steffens 1, K. Rulon 1, A. Dries 1, K. Craig 1.
GRE 7 (1,0,2,4) A. Asimaki 2, I. Psouni 1, A. Avramidou 1, A. Roumpesi 1, T. Manolioudaki 1, V. Mavrelou 1.
USA- Armstrong 12
GRE- Tsouri 6
6×5 – USA 3/6 – GRE – 4/7
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