WATER POLO: USA Women On Brink Of Holiday Cup Crown With 9-5 Defeat Of Australia

The USA Women’s Senior National Team moved to 4-0 in Holiday Cup play and is just one victory away from a championship. Annika Dries (Laguna Beach, CA/Stanford/SET) lead a balanced offensive attack with two goals while Betsey Armstrong (Ann Arbor, MI/Michigan/NYAC) posted nine saves in net in the victory. Team USA will close out Holiday Cup action with Greece on Sunday morning at 11:30am pt. Greece enters the match with a 3-1 record thus far. For Holiday Cup schedules and results, click here.

In the first period it was Team USA striking first as Kami Craig (Santa Barbara, CA/USC/SBWPF) worked free for a goal and 1-0 lead. Australia came right back, drawing a penalty thirty seconds later, tying the game on the penalty shot. Minutes later the Aussies took their first lead of the match with a power play goal to go ahead 2-1 with 5:06 left in the first. With 1:22 remaining the United States evened the match as Melissa Seidemann (Walnut Creek, CA/Stanford/Stanford) found Dries on the counter attack for a goal. Priscilla Orozco(Commerce, CA/UCLA/Commerce) put Team USA back in front with a goal from outside with less than a second to play in the period.

Leading 3-2 the USA offense got into a groove in the second period while the defense held Australia scoreless. Dries got loose inside two meters for a score with a 4-2 lead with six minutes to go. Jillian Kraus (Santa Ana, CA/UCLA/SOCAL) followed that up with a power play strike and then Lolo Silver(Long Beach, CA/Stanford/NYAC) ripped the net with less than a minute to play in the first half. When the dust settled the United States had built a 6-2 lead at intermission.

In the third period Maggie Steffens (Danville, CA/Stanford/Diablo) kept the pace for the USA offense with a goal at the 6:40 mark to grab a 7-2 lead. Australia scored on their next possession to cut into the lead at 7-3. The United States would have the last word in the period on a score from Alys Williams (Huntington Beach, CA/UCLA/HBWPC) with five minutes left to take an 8-3 lead to the fourth period.

Australia tried to battle back in the match, drawing a penalty early on and converting to close within 8-4. With less than three minutes to play Kiley Neushul (Goleta, CA/Stanford/SBWPF) put the match away for the United States with a goal for a 9-4 lead. A late tally by Australia wouldn’t factor in the decision as the United States grabbed the 9-5 victory.

Team USA struggled on the power play going just 1/6 and did not attempt any penalties. Australia went 3/11 on the player advantage and 2/2 on penalties. In earlier Holiday Cup action, Netherlands defeated Canada 10-5 and Russia stopped Greece 13-9. For complete Holiday Cup results, click here.

Scoring – Scoresheet
USA 9 (3, 3, 2, 1) A. Dries 2, K. Craig 1, P. Orozco 1, J. Kraus 1. L. Silver 1, M. Steffens 1, A. Williams 1, K. Neushul 1
AUS 5 (2, 0, 1, 2)
Saves – USA – B. Armstrong 9
6×5 – USA – 1/6 – AUS 3/11
Penalties – USA 0/0 – AUS 2/2

 This release was provided to SwimSwam courtesy of USA Water Polo.

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About Gold Medal Mel Stewart

Gold Medal Mel Stewart

MEL STEWART Jr., aka Gold Medal Mel, won three Olympic medals at the 1992 Olympic Games. Mel's best event was the 200 butterfly. He is a former World, American, and NCAA Record holder in the 200 butterfly. As a writer/producer and sports columnist, Mel has contributed to Yahoo Sports, Universal Sports, …

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