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FINA World Championships (women water polo): Canadian squad overwhelmed by Russia

Barcelona, July 29, 2013 (Sportcom) – A slow start proved costly for the Canadian women’s water polo team, Monday, as they were defeated by Russia 17-9 in the quarterfinals at the FINA World Championships presented in Barcelona, Spain.

The Canadians fell behind early, as they watched Russia jump out to a 3-0 lead half way through the first quarter before Katrina Monton cut into the lead at the 3:01 mark.

Before the end of the first period, Russia twice took three-goal leads, before and after Joelle Bekhazi scored the second goal for the Canadian contingent.

The Russians kept the pressure on after the break, taking full control of the match at 7-2.

Emma Wright scored the third goal for Team Canada at 3:04 of the second quarter to make it 7-3, but the Russians would reply in return, stretching the lead back to 5 at halftime.

Monika Eggens’ goal at the beginning of the third quarter gave Canada some momentary hope, but it was tampered down by a two-goal flurry by their opponents, making the score 10-4.

Bekhazi (twice) and Monton would then find the back of the net, but Russia was equal to the task, and by the end of the 3rd quarter had a 12-7 lead.

The fourth quarter was all Russia, as they put the final touches on their dominant performance. Krystina Alogbo and Bekhazi managed the last two goals for the Canucks.

The disappointment was noticeable in Bekhazi’s voice after the contest. “We really wanted a medal. We came in well prepared by our coach. We had our plan of attack. We simply didn’t play well enough to win. The penalties really hurt us early on in the game.”

“The Russians take advantage of your errors very quickly. Whenever we made a mistake on offence, they capitalized on the counterattack every time. They’re also pretty fast. We were too cautious at the beginning. We weren’t aggressive enough on offence,” the player from Pointe Claire concluded.

Sophie Baron La Salle, Nicola Colterjohn, Carmen Eggens, Dominique Perreault, Marina Radu, Michele Relton, Christine Robinson and Stéphanie Valin made up the rest of the Canadian squad.

An automatic quarterfinal qualifier after finishing 1st overall in group A of the preliminary round, Russia will now go on to face Australia, bronze medalists in London, in the semifinals.

Up next for Canada will be an encounter with 2011 world champions Greece on Wednesday. This game, along with another matchup on Friday, will decide the standings from 5th to 8th.

It will be the second time the two teams face off this tournament, having already played to an 8-8 draw in the prelims.

“We’re disappointed, but we need to stay strong and convince ourselves that a 5th place finish is a lot better than 8th,” Bekhazi explained, referencing Canada’s 8th place classification at the last world championships.



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