April 4, 2007
Melbourne, Australia - Former UCLA standouts Natalie Golda and Jamie Hipp helped guide the U.S. Women's National Water Polo Team to the FINA World Championships on Saturday, March 31. Team USA defeated Australia on its home soil, 6-5, as the U.S. National Team went unchallenged the entire tournament, winning all six of its games.
Golda scored two goals in Team USA's 10-9 overtime victrory against Hungary in a semifinal match on Thursday, March 29, sending the U.S. team to the championship contest against Australia.
In Saturday's championship match, Australia led 1-0 after one quarter before Team USA tied the contest, 1-1, by halftime. The U.S. squad jumped ahead in the third quarter, scoring four goals to Australia's three. The teams traded goals in the fourth quarter until Lauren Wenger contributed her third goal of the game at 1:25 to give Team USA a one-goal advantage.
The U.S. team's championship victory marked its first gold medal since 2003. Team USA advanced to the gold-medal round for the third-consecutive year.
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.
Hipp helped lead UCLA to two NCAA championships - in 2000 and 2003. As a senior, Hipp captured All-America honors after being named to the All-MPST Tournament's second team. Her 685 career saves and 4.05 career goals against average each rank second in UCLA's record books. She earned AWPCA All-America third-team accolades in 2000, 2001 and 2002 and gained second-team honors in 2003.