Our final day, such a bittersweet time. Worlds has been an incredible experience, but we are also getting tired after playing so many days in a row at such a high level. Todays game started at 18:45, so we had most of the day to stay relaxed. Several of our players went and watch the USA men also play for 11th/12th place versus Italy in their group. The USA men won and placed 11th.
In the afternoon, we arrived at the pool with some time to spare, so we decided to utilize the waterslides to spice up our warm up!
Playing at worlds can be fun, but also challenging when you have friends on the other teams. Playing Italy was no different, #71 on the Italian team, Khalindi, began playing in San Francisco and has played at tournaments with several of our ladies, so we knew it would be tough playing against her.
The game started off fast with us winning the sprint and heading directly to the Italian basket and a quick turnover and back to the USA basket, then back to the Italian basket. Over the next few minutes we calmed down and increased our ball possession time.
With about 8.5 minutes remaining in the first half, we scored our first goal. We had spent a lot of time attacking on the Italian basket, and the Italian players were about to make a counter attack when Mary Luz hand punched the ball out of the defender's hands and caught the ball and swam directly to an open basket.
With 6.5 minutes remaining in the first half we score our second goal. Again, we had been attacking the Italian basket for a long time, when Luisa made a pass under the basket to Katrina who fumbles it a bit, but luckily Charlene is above and recovers the ball, and is able to push it in with the aid of Katrina who remained next to the basket.
The third goal was scored with about 2:45 remaining in the first half. It was started with an attack on basket by Luisa who was able to maintain possession as she was attacked by the defender. She then made a pass to Jacqui, who was waiting under the basket without an Italian defender. Jacqui was able to lift the goalie, but was unable to put it in the basket due to the arrival of the Italian defender, but the goalie went up for air. The ball dropped and Yuli saw the opening and sprinted for the ball and scored on an open basket. The first half ended with us up 3-0.
The second half began with Laura winning the sprint and heading directly into the Italian basket. The Italian team did a great job defending until there was only 6 minutes left in the second half. Italy was headed out to make a counter attack towards our basket when Laura knocks the ball loose from the attacker and Charlene picks it up. Angela had stolen the basket, and moves out of the way for Charlene to throw the ball into the basket.
With about one and a half minutes remaining in the game. We were in the middle of the pool, Katrina was tackled, but was able to get a pass to Yuli who was waiting a little ahead of the play and scored on an empty basket.
With only 45 seconds remaining in the game, Italy was attacking our basket, when the ball was brought to the surface. We were able to get it out of a scrum and pass it down Juliana, who passed to Laura who was able to swim across the pool land score on an empty basket.
The game ended with a score of 6-0. It was a fun game. Coach Juan had a great plan, and thankfully we stuck to his plan to win our final game and end up in 11th place.
Overall this experience was a good one. We might not have placed as well as we actually played. In the bottom of the draw, we placed 11th and Spain placed 10th, even though we beat them head to head. Denmark also deserved a better chance at playing for top 8. Sometimes that the way it goes, the draw can help or hurt you, if you are not one of the top teams. Now we have the next 4 years to bring back what we learned and pass it on to other female players in the United States to keep women's UWR growing.
Re-watch our games here:
Great Britain (can not find yet)
Special thanks to our sponsors Canam Underwater Hockey Gear and Raebabe's Swim Caps.
Pictures below from Cy Katrak and Peter Prazenka (watermarked).