Olympic Water Polo 2012: Day 11 Results, Schedule & Analysis
Often are the times where a coach's brilliant play-calling ends up saving the day for a team with a last-minute substitution or by drawing up the winning play for his team, but how often do we see a player making up for his coach's mental lapse?
That's what 19-year-old Maggie Steffens had to do for U.S. coach Adam Krikorian, when a last second technical mistake almost cost the Americans a defeat at the hands of the Australians. Steffens, who leads all scorers with 16 goals, notched four goals in the win, including the go-ahead goal and an assist to hole-set Kami Craig in overtime to put away gold-medal co-favorite Australia 11-9 and move on to the finals.
A goal by Melissa Seidemann at the 1:40 mark in the fourth quarter seemed to have things sealed for the Americans until the final seconds. With less than five seconds remaining, Australia's Kate Gynther hit the post with an extra shot, goalkeeper Betsey Armstrong swam towards the ball to retrieve it, but Krikorian called a time-out before the goalie had possession of the ball.
There was only a second left in the game, as the referees stopped play and took a couple of minutes to review. By rule, calling a time-out without possession of the ball results in a penalty shot, at which point Australia's Ash Southern lined up to the two-meter line and scored a wet shot into the left corner to knot the game 9-9, forcing overtime.
The Americans were refused to quit, as Steffens scored with 1:24 left in the first extra period as Craig added to the lead, smashing a center shot past Aussie keeper Victoria Brown with three seconds left in the period.
The U.S. played keepaway for most of the second overtime, thanks to a comfortable 11-9 lead. This match brings deja vu to an Australian squad that lost to the U.S. in the semifinals of the Beijing Games, and reassurance to the Americans who have held their last three opponents to single-digit scoring.
The win sets up a re-match with Spain, which defeated Hungary 10-9 for a spot in the finals. Spain and the U.S. tied 9-9 last Wednesday in the second match of group play.
Hungary and Australia will face off for the bronze medal, while China and Russia will battle for fifth place and Italy and host Great Britain will play for seventh.
Here are the matches for the women's water polo finale on Thursday, Aug 9:
Italy vs. Great Britain --- 9:30 a.m. ET
China vs. Russia --- 10:50 a.m. ET
Australia vs. Hungary --- 1:40 a.m. ET
United States vs. Spain --- 3 p.m. ET
Most recent updates:
What is the duplicate article?
Why is this article offensive?
Where is this article plagiarized from?
Why is this article poorly edited?