Day 2 of Women’s Water Polo in Budapest: USA, Hungary, Italy Remain Undefeated

2017 FINA World Aquatics Championships – Water Polo

Group A

  • Italy def. Brazil 18-4
  • Canada def. China 9-8

Italy continued to dominate Group A, this time with a rout of Brazil. Canada came from behind four times, then earned the W on a last-second goal.

Italy 18-4 Brazil

Italy got out to a 5-1 lead after the first quarter, and built it to 11-2 by the half. The Italians kept Brazil to one goal per period and walked away with another big win. They converted on 2 of 6 power plays, while Brazil were unable to score on all 5 of theirs.

Said Valeria Palmieri of Italy after the match, “We were able to break the ice. The most important thing wasn’t my role, but that we won the game. We play against China the day after tomorrow and we would like to stay in this form for that game as well.” Eduardo Abla, Brazil’s head coach, said, “Overall, I’m happy with the result. They are all very young, so I think that they did a good job. We have an organised attack programme, which we didn’t manage to do, considering the fact that we played against an experienced team like the Italian one. They did exactly what I asked them to, so I’m proud.”

ITALY: Giulia Emmolo (4), Valeria Palmieri (4), Rosaria Aiello (3), Federica Radicchi (2), Roberta Bianconi (2), Arianna Garibotti (1), Elisa Queirolo (1), Domitilla Picozzi (1)
BRAZIL: Marina Zablith (2), Diana Abla (1), Mariana Duarte (1)

Canada 9-8 China

After an even first period, China went up 5-3 at the half break. But Canada had an outstanding third quarter, scoring 5 unanswered goals to take an 8-5 lead heading into the final period. China never gave up, though, and drew within a goal the Canadians. In a tense final minute, China shot and was blocked, then scored the equalizer with 10 seconds left. After a time out, Canada got a shot off with 1 second left to play and secured the win.

China converted 4 of 7 extra-man situations, while Canada scored on 2 of 5. China’s head coach, DaLi Gong, said, “We lost the game and this is very stressful, but we are happy, because our players improved a lot in these days. In Shanghaj (Super Final) we lost with 10 goals, but here with only one.” Canadian head coach Haris Pavlidis said, “We started a bit shaky, not quite where we wanted to go in the first half. The defense was OK; in the second half we stepped up the game; it went really well in the third quarter where we did some things we should have done in the first half. We lost a bit on some calls in the back field in the last quarter, which cost us a lot, but we managed to score in the last second.”

CHINA: Lin DunHan Xiong (2), Jing Zhang (2), GuanNan Niu (1), Cong Zhang (1), Danyi Zhang (1), Xiao Chen (1)
CANADA: Emma Wright (2), Monika Eggens (2), Hayley McKelvey (2), Shae Fournier (2), Christine Robinson (1)

Group B

  • New Zealand def. South Africa 8-6
  • USA def. Spain 12-8

The U.S. team continued to show their strength, this time beating the 2013 world champion Spain to remain undefeated. New Zealand came from behind to beat South Africa in a match that traded leads several times.

New Zealand 8-6 South Africa

In one of the most exciting matches of the day, New Zealand and South Africa played out a tight contest that could have gone either way. The lead traded hands on seven occasions, with New Zealand up four times and South Africa, three. South Africa held a 6-4 advantage at 5:58 but New Zealand tied it up with over the next 2 minutes. The Kiwis added another pair of goals and held South Africa scoreless over the final minutes of the game.

It was a tough break for South Africa, whose captain, Kelsey White , said, “I feel disappointed because it was the closest match we’ve ever played against the Kiwis, the New Zealand girls. It was the closest that we have ever gotten with this team, so I was disappointed, but also it was a huge improvement from us. But if we wouldn’t have let that win get away, that would have been great. So it’s such a huge disappointment.” New Zealand’s head coach Angela Winstanley-Smith said, “It was a really stressful game. We had lots of opportunities in the first quarter to go ahead. A 100 percent well done to South Africa. They brought their game. They prepared for this game and they gave us a real challenge and I think that’s what the world championship is about. There are close games. I think the spirit of the game was nice. I’m really proud.”

NEW ZEALAND: Kelly Mason (3), Kirsten Hudson (3), Brydie Pye (2)
SOUTH AFRICA: Megan Schooling (2), Amber Penney (1), Amica Hallendorff (1), Carly Wessels (1), Nicola Barrett (1)

USA 12-8 Spain

The United States women started out on fire, stunning the Spanish side with 6 goals in the opening quarter and holding Spain to only one goal. By the end of the first half the Americans had extended their lead to 7-3. While Spain won the second quarter by a goal, the two teams both scored 5 in the second half, so the four-point margin that USA took into the half time break held through to the finish. Both Madeline Musselman and Kiley Neushul scored hat tricks for the Americans, and goalkeeper Gabby Stone logged 11 saves.

USA’s Rachel Fattal said, “Spain is a very good team, so playing with them is always hard and difficult. We came here for victory, so I am happy we won; it was a good game. They were very good and challenged us really.” Spain’s head coach Miki Oca said, “We did not start very well and soon United States was leading by five goals, so from then on we tried to get back in the game. The US team is a tough one to beat. In fact, if we had started in a better way we could have had chances to win the match. Unfortunately, this time there was a big difference from the beginning.”

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Madeline Musselman (3), Kiley Neushul (3), Rachel Fattal (2), Margaret Steffens (1), Aria Fischer (1), Jamie Neushul (1), Alys Williams (1)
SPAIN: Laura Anna Espar (3), Helena Lloret (2), Beatriz Ortiz (1), Judith Forca (1), Paula Leiton (1)

Group C

  • Hungary def. France 24-5
  • Netherlands def. Japan 20-8

The home crowd came out to cheer on Hungary as it ran roughshod over a much younger, much less experienced French side. The Hungarians got off to a big start, scoring seven unanswered goals in the first period. France scored two of the first four goals in period 2 before Hungary had another 7-goal stretch. France found the net three more times in the third quarter but couldn’t stop the Hungarian scoring machine, who put on a show for a delighted public.

Hungary’s Barbara Bujka, who scored four goals, said, “We wanted to increase our self-confidence and I think we were successful. We played with ease, and we did what we had talked about. This performance was much better than against Japan.” French head coach Florian Bruzzo said, “This Hungarian team is wonderful. Their goalie, their defenders, their attackers, all great players. We are not on the same level as they are; we just started building our team. Our girls don’t have much experience, but they fought in front of a big crowd and that’s really important. They did everything I asked. To play here in the home of water polo is amazing.”

FRANCE: Estelle Millot (2), Lea Bachelier (1), Aurore Sacre (1), Adeline Sacre (1)
HUNGARY: Dora Antal (4), Rita Keszthelyi (4), Barbara Bujka (4), Dora Czigany (2), Dorottya Szilagyi (2), Orsolya Takacs (2), Ildiko Toth (2), Greta Gurisatti (1), Gabriella Szucs (1), Anna Illes (1), Dora Csabai (1)

Netherlands 20-8 Japan

Netherlands got off the first eight goals of the game, and although Japan came back with an excellent second quarter, outscoring the Dutch 5-3, they never quite made it back into the game. Netherlands led 10-5 at the half. While Japan scored first in the third quarter, Netherlands controlled the third and fourth periods, tallying another ten goals to win by a final score of 20-8.

The Dutch head coach Arno Havenga said, “We finished really well the first period, and then we lost a bit of concentration, but the last half of the game we controlled it a bit better again; also our concentration level. We finished this game with a good feeling.” Japan’s head coach Hideo Katoh said, “We were done in the first period. We were not very focused, especially at first. To have a chance to win we have to stay competitive; we do need to concentrate more. That is our goal for the next game.”

JAPAN: Yumi Arima (3), Yuri Kazama (1), Shino Magariyama (1), Minori Yamamoto (1), Marina Tokumoto (1), Kotori Suzuki (1)
NETHERLANDS: Sabrina van der Sloot (6), Vivian Sevenich (4), Maud Megens (3), Lieke Klaassen (2), Marloes Nijhuis (2), Yasemin Smit (2), Amarens Genee (1)

Group D

  • Greece def. Kazakhstan 19-5
  • Australia def. Russia 8-5

Greece controlled their game against Kazakhstan, dominating with 19 goals to Kazakhstan’s 5. Australia came away with the win against Russia to take the group lead after two days of group play.

Greece 19-5 Kazakhstan

After a first-day loss, Greece came out of the starting blocks ready to do damage. Alexandra Asimaki scored a pair of goals in the first two minutes, and Greece extended its lead to 5-0 by the end of the first period. Kazakhstan was down 0-6 before they scored for the first time, and when the teams broke for the half, they were trailing 2-9. There wasn’t anything Kazakhstan could do to stop the Greek scoring machine in the second half.

Greece’s Eleni Xenaki said, “I feel very happy with this result. We wanted to win against Kazakhstan, which is a very experienced team in this type of playing. The next match is against Australia, and we want a big win again, so we can continue with the championship.” Azhar Alibayeva of Kazakhstan said, “We made too many mistakes. In the next match we have to win.”

GREECE: Alexandra Asimaki (4), Nikoleta Eleftheriadou (3), Eleftheria Plevritou (3), Triantafyllia Manolioudaki (3), Christina Tsoukala (1), Vasiliki Diamantopoulou (1), Alkisti Avramidou (1), Ioanna Chydirioti (1), Christina Kotsia (1), Eleni Xenaki (1),
KAZAKHSTAN: Aizhan Akilbayeva (3), Darya Roga (1), Zamira Myrabekova (1), Anastassiya Mirshina (1)

Australia 8-5 Russia

Russia led 1-0, 2-1 and 3-2, but Australia was patient and unrattled, equalizing by the end of the half. The Australians dominated over the next two quarters, moving ahead early in the third and never letting Russia get the better of them. Russia never gave up, though. They narrowed Australia’s lead on two occasions but Australia always came back to move ahead again.

Australia’s Isobel Bishop said, “I think we are in a pretty good position — it’s good to have the team together. We have a new coach and a new program. It’s a really good start to the tournament. The match against Greece should be interesting as our coach is Greek.” The Russian head coach Alexander Gaidukov was tough on his side after the match, “We did not deserve to win because we made too many mistakes. It’s a pity. Our team is really young; this day just wasn’t ours.”

AUSTRALIA: Keesja Gofers (2), Hannah Buckling (2), Rowie Webster (2), Isobel Bishop (1), Amy Ridge (1)
RUSSIA: Maria Borisova (2), Elvina Karimova (1), Evgeniya Ivanova (1), Daria Ryzhkova (1)


Leave a Reply

Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

About Anne Lepesant

Anne Lepesant

Anne Lepesant is the mother of four daughters, all of whom swam in college. With an undergraduate degree from Princeton (where she was an all-Ivy tennis player) and an MBA from INSEAD, she worked for many years in the financial industry, both in France and the U.S. Anne is currently …

Read More »