Louis Daignault (ISN)
July 21, 2013, Barcelona (ISN) – Canada’s women water polo team started out strong in their first game at the 2013 FINA World Championships, winning their battle against Great Britain with a convincing 14-9 score (3-2, 4-3, 4-3, 3-1) in Barcelona, Spain on Sunday.
Captain Krystina Alogbo opened the scoring midway through the first quarter and registered a total of four goals in the game. Emma Wright, from Lindsay, Ontario, impressed on her first appearance at a World Championship match by finding the back of the net three times. Teammates Joelle Bekhazi and Christine Robinson had two points each, while Sophie Baron La Salle, Katrina Monton and Stephanie Valin rounded out the count for Canada.
Wright, a sixteen-year-old World Championship rookie, was clearly pleased to have been able to help her team. “I was definitely pretty nervous at the start and I knew this game was a big deal for me,” she said about her state of mind coming into the event. “But we were really prepared and I personally felt prepared. I believed in myself and knew I could do it,” she said.
After trading goals back and forth with Great Britain for most of the first and second quarters, Canada started to pull away just before the half. Alogbo and Wright scored within nearly thirty seconds of one another to end the 2nd period with a 7-5 lead. The Brits attempted a comeback in the third quarter and managed three notches of their own but were outscored by the Canadian women’s four goals. Starting the final period with an 11-8 score, Canada never relinquished their advantage and progressively deepened the lead to attain the game’s 14-9 final score.
Head Coach Guy Baker was successful in keeping his team focused on the task at hand. “We have had some past struggles with the idea of staying in the now, of being in the moment,” he said. “This was a good first game. We did a good job on concentrating on what we had to do throughout.”
“There had been a lot of buildup for this game and our team went through some highs and lows over the last several weeks,” Alobgo said. “It was great to be able to release some of that energy and this was definitely a nice way to open the tournament.”
The preliminary round for the women continues on Tuesday, July 23 with a game against the London Olympic gold medalists U.S.A. at 1:30 p.m. local time (7:30 EDT).
Canada will then take on the defending World Champions from Greece for their third and last game of the preliminary round on July 25 at 10:50 a.m. (4:50 a.m. EDT). Rankings in these preliminaries determine the matchups for next Saturday’s crossover games in the quarterfinal qualifications.
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