Women’s Water Polo: Canada Earns Silver at Gwangju
The Canadian women's national team concluded their Gwangju 2015 campaign on Monday, earning the silver medal after falling to Australia in the tournament's final match, 3-3 (0-3 penalty shootout). Stock photo via StockImages
Swimming news courtesy of Indiana University Water Polo.
The Canadian women’s national team concluded their Gwangju 2015 campaign on Monday, earning the silver medal after falling to Australia in the tournament’s final match, 3-3 (0-3 penalty shootout). Kelly Matthews and Sarah Myers ended a strong showing in their first international competition with Team Canada.”We were pretty tired but we just kept on going, we wanted it really badly,” said Matthews after the match. “It’s hard to lose a game like that, but in the end I’m very happy with the result that we got. We came together as a team and I’m really proud of what we did.”
The low-scoring contest was anticipated for the gold medal match, as both sides played excellent defense on their way to the final. Australia’s Tiana Sogaard-Andersen (Griffith University) netted the first goal of the contest three minutes into the opening period. The Canadians pulled even a minute later, when Kindred Paul (California-Berkeley) found Kyra Christmas (Saint-Laurent) for the equalizer. Christmas gave the Canadians their first lead of the match after scoring the lone goal of the second period with a minute to play in the half. Both defenses combined for a gritty, low-scoring first half, but Canada had a one-goal advantage at intermission.
It wasn’t long before Australia tied the game at 2-2, thanks to a goal by Ellodie Ruffin (Australian Catholic University) on an Australian power play. The offense came to a standstill for the remainder of the quarter, for both sides feared that the next goal could win the match.
Canada took the lead yet again at the 5:28 mark in the fourth quarter after Christmas found Indiana Hoosier Kelly Matthews for the power play goal. The score was Matthews’ ninth of the tournament, and it came at a crucial time for Team Canada.
Australia pulled even with just over two minutes to play in regulation off of Sogaard-Andersen’s second goal of the match. Neither side found a game-winner in regulation, so the fourth quarter ended at 3-3. The gold medal would be determined by a penalty shootout.Australia executed their penalty shootout to near perfection on both sides of the ball. Goalkeeper Lilian Hedges (Western Australia) made three outstanding saves on Canadian shots by Kelly McKee, Axelle Crevier, and Kyra Christmas. Australia’s three penalty conversions by Jessica Zimmerman, Isobel Bishop, and Lena Mihailovic were enough to lift them to the gold medal podium.
Matthews and Myers played in all seven matches for Canada at the World University Games. Matthews had an outstanding tournament with nine goals, five assists, two steals, and three field blocks. Myers finished with one goal, five assists, four steals, and one field block.
This year’s silver medal is Canada’s first at the World University Games. Their previous highest finish was fourth (2013 in Kazan, Russia and 2009 in Belgrade, Serbia).
Lauren Neidigh is a former NCAA swimmer at the University of Arizona and the University of Florida. While her college swimming career left a bit to be desired, her Snapchat chin selfies and hot takes on Twitter do not disappoint. She is now coaching for Loggerhead Aquatics in her hometown …