July 17, 2003
BARCELONA, SPAIN - The U.S. women's water polo team clubbed France in day two of the FINA World Championships, 15-3, at Club Natacio Barcelona in Spain today (July 15). Stanford teammates Brenda Villa and Ellen Estes led the offensive charge for the U.S., combining to score 10 of the team's 15 goals.
Team USA centers Ellen Estes (Novato, CA/Stanford) and Heather Moody (Green River, WY/San Diego State/New York Athletic Club) scored goals early on to give the U.S. a 2-0 lead. A pair of lob scores by Brenda Villa (Commerce, CA/Stanford/Commerce Water Polo) and another goal by Estes helped the U.S. to a 5-1 lead by the end of the first, with France's lone goal coming on a penalty shot at the 3:26 marker.
The U.S. went on a 3-0 run to start the second quarter, getting goals from Villa, Amber Stachowski (Rancho Santa Margarita, CA/UCLA/Golden West), and Margie Dingeldein (Merced, CA/Stanford) to go up 8-1 with 3:24 to go in the half. A goal by France's Louise Guillet with 2:36 on the clock made it an 8-2 game, but Estes got the goal back on the next possession, flipping the ball across the goal line with her back to the net.
Villa knocked down her fourth and fifth goals in as many tries, respectively, early in the third to send the U.S. out to an 11-2 lead. Estes then buried her fourth goal of the day, a backhand from set, at the 2:35 mark to push Team USA to a 10-goal advantage. Estes turned her opponent to draw a penalty in the hole at the 1:26 mark, setting up a penalty score for Villa to give the U.S. a 13-2 edge. Moody drew a penalty of her own less than a minute later, with Robin Beauregard (Huntington Beach, CA/UCLA) cashing in on the ensuing throw to bring the score to 14-2 by quarter's end.
Moody, the U.S. team captain, connected on a turnaround from two meters out midway through the fourth quarter, but France's Laure Gauthreau came back and scored a long goal, bar-down and in, on the next trip down to make the score 15-3.
The U.S. defense held France to just nine shots, but only five on goal. The 15-goal output (16 shot attempts; 94%) was more impressive considering that the U.S. women spent the entire morning swimming and lifting weights.
"I think it was a really good effort," said Baker. "We had some turnovers and we could have done a better job controlling the ball but I'm pleased. I think we worked really hard this morning and didn't touch a ball all day until warm-ups here. We also had the day off yesterday, so we were a little off, but that's to be expected."
Villa didn't look off at all, hitting on all six of her shot attempts. Only Hungary's Agnes Primasz has managed to top that so far, netting seven in her team's opening game against Spain.
The U.S. women will close out preliminary play on Thursday (July 17) against Germany (1-1) in a 1:15 p.m. game. The winner of that game will claim first place in the group, though German coach Marcel Terbal is not very optimistic about his team's chances.
"It's not realistic to expect a win over the USA because they are too strong," he said.
Happy Birthday, Nicolle!
USA veteran goalkeeper and 2000 Olympic silver medallist Nicolle Payne celebrated her 27th birthday today. Payne, who has spent many a birthday on the road during her career, wasn't all that sad about this one coming during World Championships.
"It's not so bad," she said. "The cool thing is that I get to celebrate my birthday three times when this happens-once before I leave, once while I'm here, and once when I get back."
Payne started in goal for the U.S. against France and had two saves in the 15-3 win.