Women’s water polo: Canada falls to Italy in bronze match


Michel Belanger

July 16, 2013, KAZAN, Russia (Team Canada) (ISN) – For the second time in three tournaments since women’s water polo was added to the Summer Universiade program in 2009, Canada had to settle for fourth place following a heartbreaking 6-5 loss to Italy in the bronze-medal match, Tuesday evening.

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

Team Canada Twitter: @CDNUniversiade | #gocanada

Summer Universiade website: www.kazan2013.com/en

The Canadian women had finished fourth in the inaugural FISU Games tourney four years ago in Belgrade, Serbia, and sixth in 2011 in Shenzhen, China.

The bronze-medal game was a rematch of the pool play opener for both teams, won 11-10 by Canada back on July 6.

“Our goal coming into the tournament was to win a medal,” said head coach Andrew Robinson, whose troops end the competition with a 3-3 overall record. “Obviously, it’s always disappointing when you come this close. However, we brought a young team here and playing two games for a medal, in the semis against Hungary and tonight, that’s invaluable experience for this group.”

In a low scoring affair that saw both sides play exceptional defence, the teams were separated by two goals for only 41 seconds, when Gloria Giachi scored what would prove to be the game-winner with 2:02 left in regulation to put the Italians up 6-4.

“I can’t really say one thing made the difference tonight,” added Robinson. “Italy is a very experienced team. They’re very solid. But we were right there with them the whole game.”

Trailing 1-0 midway through the opening quarter, Canada was up 2-1 at the end of the stanza thanks to a pair of goals by Shae Fournier of Winnipeg.

Fournier restored a one-goal advantage for the red and white, at 3-2, when she completed her hat trick with 3:37 left before halftime, but Italy tied it at three apiece before the break.

It was the third hat trick in six games at the Games for Fournier, who ended the tourney with a team-leading 16 markers, including a remarkable six-goal performance in the first duel against Italy on July 6.

Down 4-3 early in the third, the Canadians tied it once again thanks to Gurpreet Sohi of Delta, B.C., but again, the Italians got the lead back and were up 5-4 heading into the fourth and final frame.

After Giachi doubled the Europeans’ lead with two minutes to go, Kelly McKee of Calgary gave Canada some hope with 1:21 on the clock, but the Canucks couldn’t get the equalizer before the final buzzer.

In the loss, keeper Claire Wright of Toronto was superb with nine saves, many of them of the difficult variety. Italy finished with a slim 15-14 edge in shots on net.

In the final game of the Kazan women’s water polo competition, host Russia defeated Hungary to claim gold.

BOXSCORE: Canada vs Italy


2013 Kazan, Russia: 4th / 8 teams (champions: Russia)

2011 Shenzhen, China: 6th / 9 (champions: China)

2009 Belgrade, Serbia: 4th / 8 (champions: China)