Pac-10 Olympic Spotlight: Water Polo
Aug. 22, 2008
OLYMPIC LINK CENTER
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2008 Pac-10 Olympic Accomplishments
- Team USA has reached the gold medal game in men's basketball, women's basketball, men's volleyball, women's volleyball, and men's water polo. Eighteen athletes with Pac-10 affiliation will compete in these five contests.
2008 Pac-10 Olympian Spotlight:
PAC-10 ATHLETES: Heather Petri, Elsie Windes, Alison Gregorka, Jessica Steffens, Brenda Villa, Natalie Golda, Jaime Hipp, Patty Cardenas, Kami Craig, Brittany Hayes, Moriah Van Norman, Lauren Wenger
PAC-10 INSTITUTIONS: California, Stanford, UCLA, USC
CURRENT OR FORMER ATHLETE: Both
OLYMPIC EVENT(S): Team USA Women's Water Polo
The U.S. Olympic Team for Women's Water Polo, which includes 12 players (on a roster of 13) with current and former Pac-10 ties, rallied from a four goal deficit early on but were unable to gain the upper hand as they fell to the Netherlands 9-8 in the Gold Medal game in Beijing. Team USA still comes away with a Silver Medal, their second in the last three Olympics, and becomes the only nation to medal in all three Olympics featuring women's water polo. In addition, they join some pretty select company on the men's side, where only six countries have won three consecutive medals at the Olympics.
It was tough from the start for the United States - undefeated in the tournament except for a tie against Italy in preliminary play - as they quickly got down 4-0 in the first quarter. However the United States began to chip away thanks in large part to Jessica Steffens, STAN, who scored consecutive goals towards the end of the first period to cut the deficit in half.
Team USA was in the midst of a rally as they clawed their way back in the second stanza. Despite an initial goal from the Dutch to start the period, the United States rolled off three straight goals. The first came from Natalie Golda, UCLA, on a player advantage. At the 3:51 mark, Kami Craig, USC, got loose inside on a nice entry pass from Brittany Hayes, USC, and the USA cashed in on another player advantage to draw within one (5-4). About a minute later the game was tied, as again Hayes connected on a pass, this time to Alison Gregorka, STAN, who's shot trickled past the Netherlands' goaltender.
In the third quarter the Netherlands came out strong with two straight goals to rebuild their lead to 7-5. Team USA answered as team captain Brenda Villa, STAN, painted the corner on the left side to find the cage and close within one. In the last quarter the United States tied the game once more after Hayes found the net with a lob shot. From there De Bruijn scored again, but that was answered by Moriah van Norman, USC, who cleared some room down low and delivered a score at point blank range. The game remained tied at 8-8 until 26 seconds left when De Bruijn scored her final goal of the game on a player advantage to give the Dutch the lead at 9-8. The United States had a few cracks at the net but last second shots were unable to find their mark and they came away on the losing end.
Despite the loss, the silver medal marks the third Olympic medal for Villa and fellow veteran Heather Petri, CAL. Golda now has two medals to her credit. In addition, ten first-time Olympians were presented medals. Following the match USA Head Coach Guy Baker, former Bruin head coach, was presented the order of the ethos, a medal given to coaches that preside over medal winning clubs.
(Courtesy of usawaterpolo.org)
PAC-10 ATHLETES: Tony Azevedo, Layne Beaubien, Peter Hudnut, Peter Varellas, Brandon Brooks, Adam Wright, J.W. Krumpholz
PAC-10 INSTITUTIONS: Stanford, UCLA, USC
CURRENT OR FORMER ATHLETE: Former
OLYMPIC EVENT(S): Team USA Men's Water Polo
Stanford standout Tony Azevedo carried the U.S. men's water polo team to a 10-5 victory over Serbia in the semifinals this morning. The Americans continued their improbable run in Beijing, advancing to the gold medal game for the first time since 1988.
The team came to Beijing ranked ninth in the world, and few gave them much of a chance of bringing home a medal. But behind the scoring of Azevedo, the Americans upset world No. 1 Croatia to win their group and pulled another shocker against Serbia. Azevedo's Pac-10 career saw him lead Stanford to two NCAA championships (2001,02), sit atop the institution's all-time scoring record book (252 goals), and become the first water polo player to win the Peter J. Cutino award as NCAA player of the year four times.
In quarterfinal action, Pac-10 players launched Team USA over Germany, 8-7. First Adam Wright, UCLA, connected with Tim Hutten, who put the shot away on a power play for a tie game at 2-2. Then again with under a minute remaining in the period, Wright fired a quick pass to Ryan Bailey, who was on the doorstep and ripped the net for a USA lead at 3-2 after the first. Peter Hudnut, STAN, dealt off to J.W. Krumpholz, USC, in the second period, who was camped in front of the net for a point blank goal. With a 1:08 remaining in the third period the United States drew an exclusion and used crisp passing as Layne Beaubien, STAN, lit the proverbial lamp to bring the United States lead to 6-5. Then with just nine seconds left in the period, Bailey drew a five-meter penalty which was converted by Wright and gave a 7-5 lead to Team USA going into the fourth. Good defense led to some good offense on the other end as Peter Varellas, STAN, was able to spot Wright on the near side for a quick score and Team USA jumped up 8-6 with 2:47 remaining in regulation. Germany scored on the next possession to get within one at 8-7, where the score sat until time expired.
Team USA will play two-time defending gold medalist Hungary in the final Sunday. The Hungarians beat Montenegro 11-9 in the other semifinal.
(Courtesy of usawaterpolo.org)
PAC-10 MEDAL COUNT (as of August 22, 2008) BY MEDAL GOLD 11 SILVER 10 BRONZE 10 PAC-10 MEDAL COUNT* (as of August 22, 2008) BY INSTITUTION STANFORD 19 CALIFORNIA 17 UCLA 15 USC 15 ARIZONA 6 WASHINGTON 3 OREGON STATE 1 ARIZONA STATE 0 OREGON 0 WASHINGTON STATE 0
*Pac-10 Medal Count relects individual medals as well as medals won as part of a team effort.
Click Here for a complete breakdown of Pac-10 Olympic Medals by sport.