WaterPoloCanada official_2col_logo

Michel Belanger

July 6, 2013, KAZAN, Russia (ISN) – (Team Canada) – The Canadian women’s water polo team claimed victory in tits opening match at the 2013 Universiade, prevailing 11-10 over Italy thanks to a last-minute goal by Kelly McKee of Calgary, Saturday afternoon.

Canada (1-0) was led by a dominant second-half performance from Winnipeg’s Shae Fournier. The driver scored six goals, all after the halftime break, to lead all players in the game.

“We wanted to focus on playing as a team… making sure we reacted to the defence they were playing,” said the Indiana University student. “This is great momentum for us moving forward in the tournament.”

McKee scored her second goal of the match with sixteen seconds remaining, narrowly beating the possession clock as time wound down. The University of California, Berkeley student also had three assists in the contest.

Goaltender Jessica Gaudreault, an Ottawa native and Fournier’s teammate at Indiana, made 19 saves for the victory.

Concordia University student Rebekkah Steenhamer, who has been a member of Canada’s senior national team since 2011, was an instrumental part of the defensive wall in front of Gaudreault.

“We implemented what we’ve been practicing,” she said. “Putting up those big blocks really helped us today.”

Steenhamer, who also hails from Ottawa, scored Canada’s third goal of the game. Gurheet Sohi of Delta, B.C. (Stanford) and Calgary product Shelby Taylor (Indiana) also tallied first-half goals.

Team Canada website: http://english.cis-sic.ca/universiade/summer/2013

Team Canada Twitter: @CDNUniversiade | #gocanada

Summer Universiade website: www.kazan2013.com/en

Canada will continue pool play with a match against Russia on Monday at 8 p.m. local time (noon ET)

BOXSCORE: Canada vs Italy