Betsey Armstrong made 13 saves and Melissa Seidemann scored three goals, leading the U.S. women’s water polo team to a 9-6 win over Italy and a berth in the semifinals at the London Olympics.
The Americans will play Australia on Tuesday for a shot at a gold medal.
The U.S. rallied from a 3-1 first-quarter deficit with a 5-0 run and never trailed again against Italy. Seidemann scored the go-ahead goal.
“It was awesome,” Seidemann said of her hat trick. “To be perfectly honest, I missed all my shots in the first game and got one goal in the second, so I had to catch up in some way.”
Santa Barbara’s Kami Craig saw action but did not score in the match.
Armstrong’s solid play in goal made sure the U.S. would not be overtaken.
We count on Betsey so much, she did an awesome job today,” said Seidemann.
U.S. coach Adam Krikorian felt the difference in the game was the power play.
“We scored six from 11, and we held them one from nine,” he said. “That was something we struggled with in the previous games. Playing like this gives us confidence.”
On playing Australia in the semis, Krikorian said: “They are the most talented team here. They are big, strong physically, swim fast, shoot well, good goalies, they don’t have any weaknesses.”
CANITEZ, TURKEY ADVANCE TO QUARTERFINALS
Tugce Canitez‘ Olympic experience will be extended when Turkey begins play in the eight-team single-elimination quarterfinals as the second-place team from Pool A. Turkey finished pool play with a 70-65 win over Croatia to earn a 4-1 record. Its only loss came against the top-ranked United States team.
Canitez, who will return to Westmont later this month for her senior year, played six minutes in the second quarter, scoring on a free throw and pulling down two rebounds. With 1:20 remaining before halftime, Canitez was fouled by Croatia’s Mirna Mazic as she attempted a layup. Canitez made the first of her two free throw attempts to give Turkey a 32-29 lead.
Turkey will match up against Russia, the third-place team from Pool B, in Tuesday’s quarterfinal. Russia, which entered the Olympics tied with Australia for the International Basketball Federation’s (FIBA) #2 ranking, recorded a 3-2 record in Pool B play.