March 29, 2007
Melbourne, Australia - Former UCLA standout Natalie Golda scored two goals in Team USA's 10-9 overtime victory against Hungary in a FINA World Championship semifinal contest on Thursday, March 29. With the victory, the U.S. team advances to the championship game against 2006 World Cup champion Australia.
Team USA jumped out to an early 2-1 lead in the first quarter and maintained a three-goal advantage until the fourth quarter. The U.S. team led 6-3 at halftime and 8-5 through three quarters.
Unable to stop Hungary on their 6-on-5 advantages, the U.S. team found itself in an 8-8 tie at the end of regulation. The pressure continued to build in overtime as Hungary opened the scoring in the first three-minute quarter. Golda then lodged a seven-meter shot past the powerful Hungarian defense to tie the contest, 9-9. Team USA's Lauren Wenger - who finished with a team-high four goals - sealed the deal for the United States with a center shot into the goal at 2:22.
Team USA will challenge Australia in front of their hometown fans. The U.S. team will make its third consecutive appearance in a World Championships gold medal round. While the two rivals have gone head to head in several international events, this marks the first time that Team USA and Australia have vied each other in the finals of a World championship.
Golda, considered one of the greatest collegiate women's water polo players of all time, led UCLA to its seventh national championship during her senior season in 2005. That year, the Fullerton, Calif., native earned the Cutino Award, given to the best player in women's collegiate water polo. She finished the 2005 campaign with 47 goals. Golda's 158 career goals rank third-most in school history. UCLA won three national titles during her four years with the program.
In 2004, Golda redshirted to play in the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece. She scored two goals, one against Hungary and another against Australia to help Team USA win a bronze medal.